Even before Ralf speaks his first words into the satellite phone, I know what the weather on the mountain is like. The wind is shaking the small tent and tugging at it. A background noise that no one will forget who has experienced it before. Ralf Dujmovits and Darek Zaluski have pitched their tent at an altitude of about 4900 meters, below the usual place for Camp 1 on the Kinshofer route, exactly where the way branches off to the Messner route. “It was not so easy to pitch the tent in this storm,” says Ralf . “We have benefitted from our great experience of many expeditions.”
The 52-year-old climber estimates the wind speed at 70 to 80 km/h. “The temperature is about minus 20 degrees Celsius. In combination with the wind it really hurts.” Both spend the night at the place to which they climbed up during their first exploration trip. “Our traces had disappeared meanwhile because of fresh or blowing snow. So we had to repeat the tracking job”, says Ralf. “Only where avalanches had come down, we found a hard surface.” The gusts of wind were partially so strong, “that we, carrying our backpacks, were almost overthrown.”
It’s no wonder that Darek Zaluski is enjoying the time in the tent. “Now we are very comfortable”, says the 54-year-old climber from Poland. Darek has already climbed five 8000ers, including Mount Everest and K 2. He attended three Polish winter expeditions, one of them to Nanga Parbat 16 years ago. He has recovered from his gastrointestinal infection, says Zaluski. “Let’s see how far I can move up.” The next morning both climbers want to look for a place for Camp 1 on the Messner route – provided that the wind allows to climb up. If not, Ralf and Darek will descend to basecamp not in the afternoon, but already in the morning.
Date29. December 2013 | 20:35