(By Raheel Adnan) Simone Moro and Duo Tomek/Marek, who intend to climb Nanga Parbat this winter, were already together at Diamir BC in winter 2011-12, whereas winter 2012-13 was the ‘busiest’ winter season on Nanga Parbat, when four teams attempted the mountain from Diamir and Rupal sides. While Diamir teams underwent usual hardships of Killer Mountain, the situation on Rupal face was more intense.
12. Simone Moro and Denis Urubko 2011-12
Italian Simone and Kazakh Denis undoubtedly make the best pair in modern winter climbing era. Apart from their success in Himalaya proper, they made the history by climbing first Karakoram (and Pakistani) eight-thousander, Gasherbrum II, in winter 2010-11. When the duo announced 2011-12 winter expedition on Nanga Parbat, many believed it was the best chance of the success on the mountain.
They reached Diamir base camp on January 3rd to attempt Kinshofer Route. Later on, they decided to try a different route, previously attempted by Messner in 2000, because of difficult conditions on Kinshofer. By the end of January, C3 was established at 6800m. After that it was simply a test of their patience. It snowed continuously from January 27th till February 14th. With forecast showing no respite in hostile conditions, Simone and Denis made the difficult decision to turn back home.
13. 'Justice for All - Attempt Two' 2011-12
After the unsuccessful first attempt, Tomek Mackiewicz and Marek Klonowski were back to Nanga Parbat, in winter 2011-12. This time, they shared the base camp route with Moro and Urubko. The terrible conditions on the mountain can be envisioned from the fact that during their 45 days stay at BC, there was hardly any weather window to climb the mountain.
The pair abandoned the expedition on January 13th, with the pact, they will try again.
14. 'Justice for All' Third Attempt 2012-13
After unsuccessful attempts on Diamir side, Tomek Mackiewicz and Marek Klonowski went for Rupal face in winter 2013. They arrived at Base Camp after the start of calendar winter season. ABC was established on December 24th, C1 on January 3rd and C2 on 13th. After due rest and hint of improvement in weather, they went up again on 19th. After spending nights in established camps and multiple bivouacs at 6000m, 6100m and 6600m, they set up C3 on 27th and decided to wait there for an improvement in weather.
On February 1st, Marek decided to abandon the climb, owing to the challenging conditions, whereas Tomek opted to stay in bivouac at 6100m. After fighting severe cold and wind for several days and climbing as high as 7400m, Tomek made it back to Base Camp on 8th. It was only the second instance that a team managed to go above 7000m on Nanga Parbat in winter.
15. US-Hungarian Expedition 2012-13
American Ian Overton and Hungarians David Klein and Zoltan Robert were on Nanga Parbat’s Diamir side in winter 2012-13. Their plan was to climb the line attempted by Messner and Eisendle in 2000 (and also by Simone & Denis in winter 2011-12).
Unfortunately, Zoltan suffered frostbite on his toes during trek to BC and couldn’t participate in climb. After his early departure, the chances of team’s success were almost non-existent. Ian and David made a half-attempt to go up the mountain, but eventually the expedition was abandoned on February 10th. The highest point reached by David and Ian was around 5400m.
16. Joel Wischnewski’s Disappearance 2012-13
French climber Joel Wischnewski became the first victim of winter Nanga Parbat, who went missing after February 6th. He was on Rupal face to attempt a direct route up the SE Pillar. Joel reached the Base Camp on January 9th and established two camps at 4150m and 4300m, in next couple of weeks.
With a forecast of three good days, Joel left C2 on February 6th, never to be heard again. All efforts to reach and find the missing climber went in vain. However, his body was recovered from the mountain, after snowmelt uncovered his remains, in October. It’s assumed that he was hit by an avalanche, while moving between camps.
17. Daniel Nardi and Elisabeth Revol 2012-13
The Italian-French duo, Daniel Nardi and Elisabeth Revol, was the second team on Diamir side, last year. Having reached the Base Camp on January 7th, they acclimatized on Ganalo Peak (6608m) before attempting the Mummery Rib in alpine style.
On January 28th, they reached 6400m but were forced to turn back because of high winds and bad weather. Before abandoning the expedition, the duo made another attempt on Mummery Rib, but couldn’t go above 6000m.
Note: Aforementioned 17 climbs are known winter attempt on Nanga Parbat; the listing isn’t an official verdict, however. It’s important to note that (as mentioned) several of these climbs started before the calendar winter, i.e. winter solstice in northern hemisphere (December 21st).
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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