Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: new route on Nanga Parbat

Posted: Dec 26, 2009 11:00 pm EST

Although most explored on the mountain; the Diamir Flank on Nanga Parbat had merely two previous lines: the Kinshofer Route (with several variations) set in 1962; and Messner Direct Route, set in 1978.

More than 30 years later, this season another route was drawn on the slopes. The summit was reached on 11th July, by Austrians Gerfried Göschl, Sepp Bachmair, Hans Goger, and Canadian Louis Rousseau.

The victory was double-edged. A team mate vanished on the upper slopes of the normal route and another climber fell further down, sparking controversy as the fixed rope had been removed. The planned K2 double-header was scrubbed due to bad conditions (no one summited the peak this year).

But the ascent was one of only three new lines drawn on the 8000ers this year, and the pictures said it all: a frightening couloir, a vertical ice wall - the small group of friends survived and triumphed a partial new line on Nanga Parbat in a season when even summits on the normal routes were scarce.

The success arrived after long and tenacious planning. "We did our best in the last year and a half to try and optimize all items which are planable. We dont want to leave anything to chance" Ger told ExWeb prior to the attempt. "I compared around 2000 pictures to find the possibility of this new line."

And afterwards, "we did it nearly like we had planned it and the difficulties were exactly the same as we thought they would be," Göschl concluded.

The route went through a hidden couloir between the Czech route on the right side and the (unsuccessfully attempted) Diamir glacier route on the left side. It was a secret way to join the untouched North West buttress.

The rest was just logical, said Gerfried: "Follow the ridge and overcome the two giant pinnacles that cross to the right above big seracs to reach a second ridge leading to the Basin at 7400 meters. More than 2000m of complete new ground.

The name of the new route is the Nanga Parbat Austro-Canadian North-West buttress.

Previous in the countdown:

7. 14x8000ers summiteers.
8. AJ & FTA, corporate compassion
Special mentions:
- Good guys leaving too early: Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby...
- GIII/GIV attempt and rescue.
- Nives Meroi, fame for love.
- North Pole-Greenland crossing and polar records.

#Mountaineering #Mountaineering #Stats #feature

Day 2: Louis and Sepp overcoming a steep part at the beginning of the Göschl-couloir (click to enlarge).
Day 3: Günther with the others behind, in the middle of the Göschl-couloir.
Day3: Climbing under the Bachmair-serac.
Day 4: Günther breaking trail in the steep Unterberger-traverse at 7250m.
New route topo: yellow line marks the new route, the blue points the bivouacs; red line marks the normal Kinshofer route from C4 (7100m) to summit. The Rousseau ice wall is the steep 200m exit of the Göschl couloir at around 6100m-6300m, the Kölblinger col sits between the two pinnacles at 6600 meters and the Goger plateau is at 6900m (the climbers' third bivouac). All images courtesy of expedition leader Gerfried Göschl (click to enlarge).

Visit our new website