The list of Nanga climbing permits issued this year includes a number of well-known climbers and 8,000er baggers. Image of a climber on Nanga Parbat courtesy of the Chilean USACH expedition's website (click to enalrge).
Big fish expected on Nanga Parbat

Posted: May 09, 2007 02:27 pm EDT
(K2Climb.net) The big summit waves on Everest have not yet started but in a couple of weeks teams will head up for Pakistans 8,000ers as well. The earliest birds each season are generally bound for the westernmost high peak in the country: Nanga Parbat. In addition, the list of Nanga climbing permits issued this year includes a number of well-known climbers and 8,000er baggers.

Dodo Kopold, Peter Hamor, Piotr Morawski: K2 training

Slovak Dodo Kopold is back at home after achieving the first two summits this season in Tibet: Cho Oyus and Shisha Pangmas. According to plans, in a few days Dodo is joining fellow Slovak Peter Hamor and Pole Piotr Morawski for a Pakistan double-header on Nanga and K2. The three climbers would use the ascent on Nangas normal route as training before attempting a new route on K2s west face. But Kopold, severely affected after losing his climbing mate Marek on the south face of Shisha, has yet to confirm he is going on with his project to summit four 8,000ers in one year.

Skier Jean-Noel Urban: Climb up & ski down

French extreme skier Jean-Noel Urban hopes to repeat Hans Kammerlanders feat, by summiting the peak via the Kinshoffer route and then ski down all the way back to BC. First though, Jean-Noel must get done with another sky-ski descent he is currently involved in: The Norton Couloir, down the north face of Everest. Urban is climbing Everest as a member of the French-Monaco team from its north side, and will be on his own for the ski descent. On Nanga, he will team up with Nicolas Brun.

Oh Lee Joon and Serap Jangbu: 14, 8000ers baggers

Also on Everest and attempting a new route is Korean Oh Lee Joon. Following the tracks of his regular climbing mate Park Young-Seok, Oh is also focused on completing the 14, 8,000ers, and therefore he will lead a 10-member Korean team on Nanga Parbat. The team includes two Nepalese Sherpas, one of them being Serap Jangbu who, if they succeed, would bag his 11th 8,000er. As for Joon, who summited four big ones last year, Nanga could be his 11th as well or the 12th if he succeeds on Everest.

Chileans: One or two teams?

A number of Chilean climbers have also set sights on Nanga. A six-member team led by Luis Alvarez hopes to add one more 8,000er to Santiago de Chile University (USACH) mountaineering clubs list, after succeeding on Broad Peak and GI. The expedition pays tribute to Claudio Galvez, a team member who perished during the teams previous climb on Hidden Peak, back in 2001. Their long term goal is to achieve all the big 14. Before flying to Pakistan on May 30, the climbers are training hard in the Chilean Andes. Also members are Andres Jorquera, Adolfo Dell Orto, Fernando Millar, Alex Cattan, and Jaime Cartagena. The expedition list provided by the Alpine Club of Pakistan announces a Chilean team for Nanga, but with different members. This is a 10-member team led by Carlos Bascou, so it is likely that there could be two Chilean teams on the spot.

Belarusians: Godlesky men

Finally, a Belarusian team led by Alexander Godlevsky, has applied for a climbing permit on the mountain as well.

Dodo Kopold has managed to achieve the two first summits on 8,000m-plus mountains this season: First on Cho Oyu, and now on Shisha Pangma. However, his climbing mate Marek Hudak perished, apparently caught in a avalanche, while waiting in C2.

Dodo Kopold was born in 1980. His new routes on Himalayan big walls have garnered him recognition from the Slovak Mountaineering Union every year since 2002. His openings include Sharp Knife of Intolerance on Castle Peak, Himachal Pradesh (2002, capsule style); Last Minute Journey on Mt. Mahindra, Indian Miyar Valley (2003, alpine style); Khanadan Buttres on Karakorums Shipton Spire (2004, first repetition, alpine style); Assalam Alaikum on Karakorums Great Trango Tower (a new 3,000m-plus long route opened alpine style in 2005); plus two new alpine-style routes last year on Karakorums Haina Brakk (Dolzag Dihedral) and Uli Biaho (Drastissima).

This year, Dodo has stepped up to the 8,000m-plus peaks, planning ascents on four of them, including two new routes. Together with his Slovakian mates, Dodo has summited Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma via the south face. After the end of the expedition and a months rest at home, Kopold will team up with fellow Slovak Peter Hamor and Pole Piotr Morawski to attempt an alpine-style first ascent on the west face of K2. The three climbers will acclimatize on Nanga Parbat before moving to K2s BC on Savoy Glacier.

On May 11, 2006, Oh Hee-Joon summited Everest from its north side, along with some other Korean climbers and Sherpas. While Oh descended back via the same route, Park Young-Seok and Serap Jangbu Sherpa traversed down the Nepal side of the mountain. Over the summer, Oh summited GII and then GI. On October 20, he summitted Manaslu. Oh has a total of ten 8,000ers under his belt, with still Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Dhaulagiri and Nanga Parbat to go. Oh and Park were also together on both complete North and South Pole trips. The South Pole expedition was unsupported. The two climbers are currently part of a huge Korean team attempting a new route on Everests SW face.

In early October 2006, a Japanese expedition summited Manaslu. For Serap Jangbu, one of the guys carrying loads and fixing ropes for their Japanese clients, the peak became 8,000er No. 9 and his third in 2006 alone. Earlier this year, Serap had already summited G2 and done an Everest traverse with Korean 14x8,000er summiteer Park Young-Seok. Before that, Serap had summited Everest one more time, plus Kangchenjunga, Annapurna, Shisha Pangma, Dhaulagiri (discussed, but accepted on Miss Hawleys files), Cho Oyu twice, Lhotse twice and K2 twice! Most Himalayan climbers could only wish for such a climbing record. But Serap wants more he wants all 14 under his belt.

Climber and ski instructor Jean-Noel Urban (47) lives in La Salle Les Alpes, France. Over the past 20 years he has skied a large number of 50- to 60-degree steep slopes in Alps, Central Asia, America and the Himalayas. As for sky-ski descents on 8,000ers, he has succeeded on Cho Oyu (2005) and GII (2006). He has also two partial descents on Shishas south face (both from the Central and Main summits), and attempts on Manaslu, and the lesser but difficult GIV.

Urban will try to summit Everest and ski down the Norton Couloir. Then hell move for a sky-ski descent down Nanga Parbat, and he still plans a similar feat on Dhaulagiri in fall.


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