Live image over Contact 4.0 of a Polish climber just below Camp 1 on Nanga Parbat earlier this week, courtesy of the Polish Nanga Winter team/HiMountain (click to enlarge).
"There is a BIG difference between a winter summit and a winter expedition," commented Simone Moro back in 2006. Just to survive 60 days in winter condition is hard he said. All teams this year shot for a winter expedition and all suffered the cold. Following the Polish now the Hungarian/US team is leaving Nanga Parbat. Still on it: Eli, Nardi and supposedly Joel.
Image by HiMountain 2006
Moro is an all-round climber noted for several first winter ascents of 8000ers in Himalaya.
Krzysztof Wielicki led a Polish team on winter Nanga Parbat in 2006/07. The team's C1 in image.
Nanga Parbat: "We aim for a winter summit push," the Poles say. "It's a real winter climb," Simone chimes in
Posted: Dec 15, 2006 02:34 pm EST
(MountEverest.net) The Polish team led by Krzysztof Wielicki, aiming for a Winter ascent on Nanga Parbat's Schell route set up C1 earlier this week - days ahead of the beginning of calendar winter.
The climbing community worldwide agrees that a winter summit must be achieved within the dates of calendar winter - but what about a winter climb? Following strict criteria, the entire climb - or the moment climbers set foot on the route - should be done in winter too.
ExplorersWeb asked the Polish and Simone Moro's for their input. Simone, the only non-Polish climber to have achieved a first winter climb on an 8000er, is also going to attempt a winter climb Pakistan. His goal is the first winter summit on Broad Peak, and maybe on K2. However, Moro wont leave Italy until December 24.
The replies came back within hours: Simone writting from home in Italy, the Poles straight from BC. Here is what they had to say:
Wielicki & Hajzer: We aim for a winter summit push
"Our goal is to start the climb to the summit during the winter season," writes Artur Hajzer and expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki from BC. "Setting up C1 is done for acclimatization. From that point of view, our winter Nanga Parbat project started already in November, by climbing Ama Dablam."
"We could just as well have acclimatized on any other mountain nearby, but...we repeat: Our goal is to climb the summit (launch the summit push) during the winter season."
Simone: The Poles have faced winter conditions from the start
"This is a very delicate question," writes Simone. "The polish climbers are the masters of winter climbing and they always reached the summit much later than December 21. The NOT valid winter climbs are those starting before the 1st of December (compare Lafaille who started on November 8 for his Shisha Pangma climb and summited on December 11 back in 2004). And summit bids starting before December 21 are not valid either, of course."
"There is a BIG difference between a winter summit and a winter expedition. To survive 60 days in winter conditions is much different than to stay a few days in the front line of fire, and then run back home. The polish Nanga Parbat climbers are in winter conditions already, so we can definitely consider their attempt as a real winter."
"Me, I prefer to avoid any controversy by starting my winter climbs only after the beginning of calendar winter. I would actually hope that in the future; all winter climbs would start after the first day of winter: it's the only way to avoid the debates."
The astronomical calendar shows that the beginning of winter 2006 is marked by the winter solstice, which will take place at 0:22 am on December 22.
Polish climbers have all the first winter ascents on Himalayan 8000ers, most achieved in the eighties. All their ascents took place in January and February - The only earlier first winter summit achieved by a Polish climber back then, took place on December 31, 1988 on Lhotse. The climber; Krzysztof Wielicki.
17 years went by before a new first winter ascent was a fact: On January 14, 2005, Polish Piotr Morawski and Italian Simone Moro summited Shisha Pangma. The expedition leader was Jan Szulc (current member of the Nanga PArbat winter expedition).
The latest attempt for a first winter ascent on a 8000er was done last year by Jean-Christophe Lafaille. Lafaille attempted Makalu solo, but disappeared on his summit push, apparently without reaching the summit.
None of the Pakistans 8000ers (K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, GI, and GII) have been summited in winter. In Nepal, only Makalu still remains unclimbed in winter. This year, Pakistans government has reduced the winter climbing fee to a nominal 5%.
North Face athlete Simone Moro, 38, has summited Mount Everest (three times), Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, Shisha Pangma (winter), Lhotse (twice) and 5 peaks over 7000 meters. He has the first winter climb of Marble Wall 6400m (Tien Shan), a 24-hour climb on Fitz Roys West Face (Patagonia), and many other climbs around the world. Simone and Piotr Morawski summited Shisha Pangma Friday January 14, 2005 at 1:15 pm (local) after a fast 5 hour climb in very strong winds. It was the first (real) winter ascent on a 8000er since 1988, and the first winter climb on Shisha Pangma.
The Shisha winter summit was in fact Simones fifth winter climb: To the tragic December attempt on Annapurna in 1997 when Boukreev died, Simone had successful climbs on Aconcagua and Cerro Mirador (new route in alpine style in 1993), and on Marble Wall - the northernmost and coldest 6000er in Central Asia - with Denis Urubko in 2001.
Krzysztof Wielicki leads the current Fifth Polish expedition to winter Nanga Parbat. The team members add up not only many years of experience - but also an amazing number of 8000ers summited - including winter first ascents:
Wielicki was the fifth climber to summit all 14 8000ers. Among his climbs; the first winter ascents of Everest, Lhotse and Kangchenjunga. Artur Hajzer, has 4, 8000ers summited and the first winter climb of Annapurna. Dariusz Zaluski, has 4, 8000ers summited and winter attempts on K2, Makalu, Nanga and Shisha. Jan Szulc led the team who first climbed Shisha Pangma in winter, and has a K2 winter attempt.
Krzysztof Tarasewicz, is summiteer on 3 8000ers; Jacek Jawien has been a member in K2 and Shisha winter expeditions. Only Przemyslaw Lozinski will experience an 8000+ meter peak for the first time.