(By Raheel Adnan) No queues, no traffic-jams, no debate on O2 and drugs, no ‘tourists’, no 'brawls', no stealing; winter climbing on eight-thousanders is still pure exploration. K2 and Nanga Parbat have been the focal points in winter since many years. But it’s not all about the unclimbed peaks, as winter-climbing maestro Simone Moro commented in a recent interview, “[i]f you go back to Makalu and do the second winter ascent by a new route, it will be a new page in the history of winter Makalu. It will also come to a point where you climb all eight-thousanders in winter ... there is plenty to be done in the winter. The story of winter eight-thousanders is definitely not going to be closed after K2 (ascent).”
New Route on K2
As shared in an earlier report, Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki and Alex Txikon along with Artiom Braun and Dmitry Siniew are aiming for something that stretches the limits of mountaineering extremes. They are planning to climb K2 from Northern side in winter via new route (NE Ridge approached from China). The idea of the expedition was born and matured during Kangchenjunga North face expedition, this spring. The team is expected to leave for Karakoram on December 16th.
Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki and Alex Txikon have been a regular part of winter climbing in Karakoram in recent years. Denis participated in K2 winter expedition 2002-03 (and reached 7650m on north ridge). In 2010-11, he made first winter ascent of GII together with Simone Moro and Cory Richards. He also attempted Nanga Parbat in 2011-12.
Adam Bielecki is amongst the finest Polish mountaineers of this age. As part of Polish Winter Himalaism team, he made first winter ascents of GI (2012) and Broad Peak (2013). Alex Txikon was part of Gerfried Goschl's team that attempted a new route on GI in 2010-11 and 2011-2012. He made first winter ascent of Laila Peak (6096m - Hushe Valley) in 2013.
Unification of Winter Nanga Parbat Veterans
Tomek Mackiewicz, Daniele Nardi, Elisabeth Revol and Roberto Delle Monache will be on Nanga Parbat, this winter. Although, they will be sharing Base Camp facilities, Tomek’s plan is to solo climb beyond that. Daniele and Elisabeth will together on Mummery Rib, alike winter 2012-13. Roberto will be taking care of logistics and camerawork. Daniele, Roberto and Elisabeth will be flying to Pakistan on December 20th.
Tomek Mackiewicz has participated in four winter attempts on Nanga Parbat; more than anyone else. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, he couldn’t make remarkable progress on Diamir Face, but in subsequent years he reached 7400m and 7200m via Schell Route (Rupal side).
Tomek Mackiewicz has a different plan, this year. He flew to Pakistan on November 12th and is currently in Islamabad. The polish climber will be going to Rupal valley for acclimatization on Laila Peak (Rupal valley) and Rupal Peak. He will return to Diamir BC in December. Tomek intends to attempt the Messner’s 1978 route in alpine style (last winter, Ralf Dujmovits quit his climb on this route because of dangerous seracs at around 6000m).
“I’ll be honest - I would have to close this topic. This is the fifth season. I feel a strong fatigue, but I do not want to let go yet, because I know that it is within (reach),” says the Polish climber.
More Teams to Nanga Parbat
There will also be a strong Russian team on Nanga Parbat, RussianClimb.com reports, “Four alpinists from Saint Petersburg are going to climb this 8000-er. The team: Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval. They'll start from Russia on Dec 22nd”
Finally, a third team is also seeking permission for winter Nanga Parbat. "The third application was file by Jasmine Tours for three Iranian and one Russian, right now for Diamir Face, but we are also considering to change it to Rupal Face." Jasmine Tours CEO Asghar Ali Porik told us, earlier today.
Simone Moro Planning for Himalayas
Simone Moro says, he will be doing something innovative in Himalayas (not Nanga Parbat or K2), this winter. As the expedition is still under formation, he didn’t share any further details. However, during an interview with redbull.com he said, “I'm planning to climb Cho Oyu in winter next February. If successful it will be my 4th 8,000er in winter.”
Simone Moro is one the best winter climbers of current era. He holds the record of first winter ascents of Shishapangma, Makalu and GII. Moro has also made multiple unsuccessful attempts on Shishapangma, Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat.
In his interview with Desnivel, he explained why he is not attempting Nanga Parbat. “Denis Urubko is fearful of terrorists and is therefore going to K2 (Note: Simone Moro has promised his wife that he won’t attempt K2 in winter. More here), and David Göttler preferred to spend the winter at home with his girlfriend. So I do not have my teammates. I also considered going with Daniele Nardi, but a winter climbing companion is not a partner to go for a drink at a restaurant or do something here; it is very important to have good feeling and experiences from previous climbs.”
Based in Lahore, Pakistan, mountaineering enthusiast Raheel Adnan is a reporter for Explorersweb's mountaineering sections. He shares regular updates onTwitter and runs his own blog at Altitude Pakistan posting initiated climbing news from Himalaya and Karakoram.
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