That was not for the faint-hearted. “We have set off two big snow slabs”, says Ralf Dujmovits via satellite phone after returning to basecamp. In addition a large avalanche went down. “That has finished Darek off.” His Polish friend Dariusz Zaluski was pretty much in the bag, he had retreated into the tent immediately. After the night in the tent at 4900 meters Ralf and Darek had climbed up through the icefall on the Messner route. “We have made good progress”, says Ralf. “At 5500 meters we have made a depot. The location is also good for a camp.”
Up to the hips
The way back was not only worrying but extremely exhausting. “The tracking job downwards was harder than upwards. Again and again we broke into snow holes up to our hips.” Because it has begun to snow again and the wind is still blowing strongly, now one or two rest days are planned at basecamp. Also the next time Ralf wants to climb up to the depot together with Darek. “The crevasses filled with snow make the lower part of the route very dangerous. You have to move roped up.” For the first days of the new year meteorologist Charly Gabl is predicting lower wind speeds and “partly cloudy, sunny and dry” weather. The temperature at the summit is expected to increase from minus 44 degrees Celsius on New Year’s Day to minus 38 degrees.
Ralf has no contact to the Polish winter expedition on the Rupal side of Nanga Parbat. He is considering neither the Polish climbers as competitors nor Italian Simone Moro and German David Goetler, who meanwhile have arrived in Pakistan too. “I have previously asked Simone and David which route they want to take”, says Ralf. “Under no circumstances I wanted to get into a competitive situation. I had my plan for a winter ascent of Nanga Parbat with prior acclimatization on Aconcagua in mind for many years.”
P.S. Ralf has not yet transmitted new images. Therefore I took these pictures taken during his first exploring trip.
Date30. December 2013 | 18:48