(By Raheel Adnan) Because of relative ease of access, Nanga Parbat has been center of attention since past 25 winters. While 1996-97 Polish attempt was a narrow miss, most of other expeditions never even came within 1000m of summit.
6. Polish Winter Expedition 1997-98
After the intriguing winter of 1997, the return of Andrzej Zawada and Poles to Nanga Parbat was inevitable. Though climbing route and composure of the team were almost unchanged, but weather wasn't on their side this time. Extremely harsh weather and heavy snow conditions that appeared this winter in the northern part of the Himalayas and Karakorum were unprecedented in past two decades.
Initial rapid progress didn't help much when snowfall events wrecked BC and C1 on different occasions. A falling stone broke the leg of Ryszard Pawlowski. Eventually the expedition was called off without success. Maximum altitude attained was 6800m.
After almost getting Nanga Parbat climbed in winter 1996-97 and the luckless trip of winter 1997-98, Andrzej Zawada was planning for a third attempt in winter 2000-01. But, unfortunately, the life didn't give him that chance. The respected Polish expedition leader died on 21-Aug-2000.
7. The Return of Poles 2006-07
An experienced team of Polish climbers united under the winter manifesto of Krzysztof Wielicki returned to Nanga Parbat in winter 2006-07. Led by Wielicki himself, the team consisted of outstanding veteran climbers like Artur Hajzer, Dariusz Zaluski, Jacek Jawien and Jacek Berbeka and front line young climbers like Przemyslaw Lozinski and Robert Szymczak. They arrived at Rupal BC early and established C1 (5000m) on Schell route before the start of calendar winter season.
The things turned ugly, after that. Hurricane-force gale and extremely low temperatures made climbing slow and painful. Thanks to a bold attempt by Robert and Lozinski, C3 was set up at 6800m, but all attempts to climb higher remained unsuccessful. “Above 6000m was only freezing hell”, said Krzysztof Wielicki. After an avalanche swept away a tent at C2 and Robert and Lozinski suffered frostbite, the expedition was called off on January 17th.
8. Simone La Terra 2007-(08)
Together with Mehrban Karim, Italian Simone La Terra made a winter attempt on Nanga Parbat's Diamir face in 2007-08; although the expedition was over even before the start of calendar year 2008. They established C1 at 6000m on December 10. On the night of December 21, a blizzard blew off the team's kitchen tent with everything in it across the glacier. After losing all the supplies, it wasn't possible to continue the attempt.
9. Polish Attempt 2008-(09)
While the primary team of Polish winter climbers led by Artur Hajzer attempted Broad Peak in winter 2008-09, a second team of Jacek Teler and Jarosław Żurawski headed to Diamir face. Tough conditions awaited them as four feet deep snow didn't allow them to reach the Base Campt. BC was established five kilometers away from its normal location.
After breaking trail through one meter deep snow, C1 was established at 5400m. Excessive snow, bitter cold and difficulties in supply (due to adverse weather) forced the climbers to end the expedition by end-December.
10. Serguey Tsygankov Solo 2010-11
Sufficiently experienced in winter climbing elsewhere, Serguey Tsygankov Nikolayevich was a fresh name in Himalayas. He arrived at Diamir Base Camp at around mid-December to solo attempt Kinshofer Route. Just a few days after his arrival, Serguey showed the symptoms of a pulmonary edema and problems related to respiratory system caused by the altitude and cold. Serguey managed to reach an altitude of 6000m, before health issues forced him to retreat.
11. 'Justice for All' 2010-11
Polish duo Tomek Mackiewicz & Marek Klonowski silently arrived at Diamir BC in winter 2010-11, to attempt Kinshofer Route. It was their first endeavor in Himalayas and they were probably under-prepared for the task. Expedition was called off at around mid-January, due to excessive snow, high avalanche risk and gear related issues.
Based in Lahore, Pakistan, telecom engineer and mountaineering enthusiast Raheel Adnan is a reporter for ExplorersWeb's mountaineering sections. He shares regular updates on Twitter and runs his own blog at AltitudePakistan posting initiated climbing news from Himalaya and Karakoram.
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