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Their goal: Nanga Parbat in winter, on a new route

Daniele Nardi (l.) and Tom Ballard in Islamabad

Daniele Nardi can not keep his hands off Nanga Parbat yet. Already for the fifth time the 42-year-old climber from Italy tries his luck in winter on the 8125-meter-high mountain in Pakistan. Nardi and his 30-year-old British climbing partner Tom Ballard arrived in the capital Islamabad, from where they travel on to the north of the country. The team will also include Pakistani mountaineers Rahmat Ullah Baig and Kareem Hayat. Their goal: a new route to the eighth highest mountain on earth via the so-called “Mummery Rib”. In 1895, the British pioneer Albert Frederick Mummery had dared the first serious attempt on an eight-thousander via the rock spur in the Diamir Face. With the Gurkha Ragobir he had reached an altitude of 6,100 meters. Nardi tries this route for the second time: In winter 2013, he had climbed with the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol up to about 6,400 meters.

Date

21. December 2018 | 0:44

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Alex Txikon will also head for K2 in winter

Alex Txikon in Bilbao

After all. The Spaniard Alex Txikon will tackle K2 in the upcoming winter. The 35-year-old announced this at a press conference in Bilbao today. He will travel to Pakistan on 2 January with his compatriot Felix Criado, with the goal of scaling the second highest mountain on earth for the first time in the cold season. It had already become known that the Pakistani government had granted Txikon a climbing permit for K2. However, the Basque had left it open to this day whether he would actually use the permit.

Date

29. November 2018 | 23:20

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K2 winter expedition: “Democracy weakens the team”

K2, the “king of the eight-thousanders”

One does not have to be a prophet to predict that K2 will be besieged regularly in winter until it is also scaled in the cold season. The second highest mountain in the world is the last remaining eight-thousander, the summit of which is still untouched in winter. After the failed Polish expedition from the beginning of this year, a team from three states of the former Soviet Union will attempt “Chogori”, as the local Balti call the mountain, next winter: Five Russians, four Kazakhs and two Kyrgyz. “We must be in Islamabad at the latest on 2 January,” writes me Artem Brown. The Russian, born in 1976, has been organizing the winter expedition.

Date

20. November 2018 | 0:44

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Moment of shock for Adam Bielecki on K2

It worked out well in the end

“Eh, that was close,” Adam Bielecki writes on Facebook from K2 Base Camp. “Several dozens of meters below camp 1 [at 5,800 m]  I was hit by a big stone. The result is a broken nose and six stitches, which were professionally put by Piotr Tomala and Marek Chmielarski directed by phone instructions from Robert Szymczak. In a few days I should be back in a perfect condition.” Previously, Krzysztof Wielicki, the leader of the Polish winter expedition on the second highest mountain on earth, had reported that Bielecki had been injured on the forehead and nose, although he had worn a helmet. Wielecki emphasized that the 34-year-old had not lost consciousness and was still able to descend to the base camp: “We hope that he will soon be back to full strength.”

Date

7. February 2018 | 16:45

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No news yet from Nanga Parbat

Tomek Mackiewicz

The internet is to blame. Today we are used to following expeditions on the highest mountains and in the remotest regions of the world almost in real time via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or blogs. Our perception has changed as well: Much faster than before, we assume something must have happened if we do not hear anything for longer than expected. So what’s up with Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol, who wanted to reach the summit of Nanga Parbat this Thursday? The answer is simple: We do not know yet.

Date

26. January 2018 | 0:59

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Everest winter expedition: On the double to Camp 1

Alex Txikon in the Khumbu Icefall

This went fast. In just four days, the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Sherpas Tenzing Gyalzen, Gelje, Cheppal, Walung Dorji and Pasang Norbu have completed the route through the Khumbu Icefall and reached Camp 1 at 6,050 meters. “Great job, we are very happy,” says Alex, adding that it was really hard work, each of them had carried between 25 and 35 kilos. The 36-year-old Basque points out that it took the six climbers five days less for this first major task than his team during the failed winter attempt in 2017 – despite the fact that at that time eleven, i.e. five more expedition members had been involved in the work. “The route through the icefall is very complex and required our full concentration,” says Alex. According to his words, he had searched together with the “Icefall Doctor” Gelje Sherpa for the ice areas with the lowest risk of collapsing.

Date

12. January 2018 | 0:01

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Txikon to Everest, Lunger and Lunger to Siberia

Lunger, Moro, Ali, Txikon (from r. to l.) on Nanga Parbat in 2016

I was wrong with my guess. The dream team of Nanga Parbat 2016 will not be together on Mount Everest this winter, but will go their separate ways. Today, the Spanish climber Alex Txikon announced that he would try together with the 41-year-old Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” to scale the highest mountain on earth without bottled oxygen. The other two members of the Nanga summit team, the Italian Simone Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger, are drawn to freezing cold Siberia.

Date

22. December 2017 | 17:11

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Lunger/Moro: A meeting with the Pope – and then?

Tamara Lunger (l.) and Simone Moro (r.) with Pope Francis

On Thursday, the (calendrical) winter begins – and thus the question rises again: Who will try to climb which mountain in the cold season? A top-class Polish expedition led by veteran Krzysztof Wielicki will attempt to climb K 2, the last remaining eight-thousander which has not been scaled in winter so far. The Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol are said to have already arrived in Pakistan in order to return to Nanga Parbat.

And what’s about the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger and the Italian Simone Moro? Both are considered as extremely “winterproof”. The 50-year-old Simone has four first winter ascents of eight-thousanders on his account (Shishapangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011, Nanga Parbat in 2016). The 31-year-old Tamara and Moro tackled in vain Manaslu in winter 2015. A year later on Nanga Parbat, Lunger had to turn back only 70 meters below the summit, because she felt bad. In this Advent, Lunger and Moro already had a summit meeting: with the Pope. I contacted Tamara:

Tamara, two professional mountaineers (Simone and you) took a selfie with Pope Francis, how did that happen?

Date

20. December 2017 | 11:19

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Mackiewicz wants to return to Nanga Parbat

Tomasz Mackiewicz

Tomek’s love for Nanga Parbat almost verges on mania. Six winters in a row, from 2011 to 2016, the “Naked Mountain” in Pakistan dismissed Tomasz Mackiewicz. But the 42-year-old climber from Poland just does not give up. He wants to make his way to Nanga Parbat for the seventh time this winter – if he is able to finance the expedition. Tomek has again launched a crowdfunding campaign on the internet. “Money is always a problem,” Mackiewicz writes to me. “I’am poor.”

Date

18. November 2017 | 17:40

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Unfortunate expedition

Hannes Kuenkel on the Great Himalayan Trail

Not only the winter expeditions on Mount Everest and on Manaslu have failed. Another winter project did not work out as planned. Hannes Kuenkel and his Nepalese friend Pemba Jangbu Sherpa abandoned their attempt to hike on the highest route of the Great Himalayan Trail: the German after 130 kilometers, Pemba after about 220 kilometers, for different reasons. “I have expected all expedition-type events, including earthquakes,” Hannes told me, “but not that such a ‘bagatelle disease’ like diarrhea would kick me out.”

Date

15. March 2017 | 1:14

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Txikon finishes Everest winter expedition

Alex Txikon

Alex Txikon throws in the towel. His second summit attempt failed too – and so did the entire winter expedition. The 35-year-old Basque and his Sherpa team decided in Camp 2 at 6,400 meters not to ascent further up. Instead, they packed up and returned to Everest Base Camp today. “It really would have been suicide to go on,” Txikon told his team by satellite phone. “As the head of the expedition, I should not endanger the lives of my companions. And not my own.” Nevertheless, the decision to abandon the summit attempt was not easy, Alex admitted.

Date

8. March 2017 | 12:21

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Txikon’s last Everest summit attempt is on

Alex Txikon on Everest

It is a race against time. Another storm front is approaching Mount Everest. The meteorologists expect the small weather window with relatively favorable conditions in the summit region to remain open only until Wednesday and then close for a longer period of time. Therefore Alex Txikon, who wants to climb Everest in winter without bottled oxygen, has to push now. In two weeks, the meteorological winter will end. On Monday, the 35-year-old Basque and his five-man strong Sherpa team climbed up to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters. Today Txikon and the Sherpas Nuri, Gesman, Temba, Sanu and Pasang Nurbu want to reach the South Col at 7,950 meters. All Sherpas use supplemental oxygen. Three weeks ago, Txikon’s first summit attempt had failed on the South Col. “We hope to reach the summit on Wednesday ,” Alex said.

Date

7. March 2017 | 11:26

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Route via the Khumbu Icefall is prepared

Hard work in the Khumbu Icefall

Once more it is served on Mount Everest. For three days, the Basque Alex Txikon, six Sherpas and two “Icefall Doctors” worked to restore the route via the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp 1 at more than 6,000 meters. 60 percent of the route had to be renewed, because the hard weather conditions of the past two weeks had left their mark in the ice labyrinth, the team of the 35-year-old Spaniard said. “It has been hard days refitting the route,” Alex noted on Facebook. After today’s rest day, Txikon and Co. want to ascend tomorrow to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters.

Time to grind the teeth

Alex Txikon

“I know that every time I go up, my strength is decreasing and therefore the chances of summit too,” Alex wrote in his blog. “But I’m a bit stubborn and I like to climb and fight it. It is time to grind my teeth.”

As reported, Txikon had had to interrupt his winter attempt involuntarily because the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks had ordered the entire team back to Kathmandu after the failed first summit attempt. On Saturday, Alex had returned to the Everest Base Camp by helicopter.

Date

1. March 2017 | 12:23

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Txikon back on Mount Everest

Back to Everest by helicopter

“Back to the adventure!”, Alex Txikon wrote on Twitter. After eight days in the Nepali capital Kathmandu, the 35-year-old Basque has flown back to Mount Everest by helicopter. “We are already at the Base Camp at 5,250 meters, with very good sensations,” said Alex. “Despite having lost weight and having worked hardly, I am physically still very strong.” According to Alex’ words, it’s still sunny and windy at the top of the mountain, as it had been since the beginning of the expedition in early January. Already on Sunday, Txikon wants to climb up with his Sherpa team to check their previous route through the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp 1 on 6,050 meters and if necessary to repair it or to relocate the way through the ice labyrinth.

Date

25. February 2017 | 16:27

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Expeditionary arrhythmia

Alex Txikon in Everest Base Camp

Expeditions can also get out of the rhythm. For example, if a long bad weather period thwarts all plans or if unpredictable things happen such as illnesses or injuries. Alex Txikon‘s Everest winter expedition, however, has stuttered for another reason. After the failed first summit attempt, the Nepalese agency Seven Summits Treks, with whom Txikon cooperated, yesterday ordered surprisingly to break immediately the Base Camp and return. This decision was “unilateral”, the team of the 35-year-old Basque said. Alex was quoted as saying, “I do not want to leave Everest.”

Date

16. February 2017 | 19:02

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