Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winter 2015 | Summit Push Details and Update on Other Climbers

It has been nearly a month since the start of winter climbing season and we have already witnessed one remarkable summit push on Nanga Parbat. While Elisabeth Revol has extended her stay at BC and may go for a second attempt, Tomek Mackiewicz will have to return home due to injuries from a crevasse fall. Russian team also seems ready for summit-bid. Daniele Nardi continues his work on Mummery Rib. Alex Txikon and the three Iranians will also be reaching Diamir BC, soon.

The Summit Push
We presented some information about the Tomek and Elisabeth's recent summit push in our previous posts. Tomek shared further details about the ascent in an audio message [Polish] from BC. He says that they made two attempts towards summit. On first day, they misjudged the distance and thought that summit is nearer than it actually was. They retreated to tent for food and hydration, and launched another summit-bid a day later. After leaving tent at 3 in the morning, they made it to the pass (ca 7800m) by 11am. From here on, route to the summit seemed negotiable but the conditions were terrible. It was windy, cloudy and started to snow. Tomek thinks even if they had managed to reach the summit, the descent in darkness would have been suicidal.

Blue line shows the route of Tomek/Elisabeth's ascent; Source

Retreating from 7800m, the duo spent an uncomfortable night in wet and frozen Camp 4. Following day, they continued the descent towards BC. Their plan was to rest and recover and launch another summit push in few days.

On the way down, approximately at the level of Ganalo Peak (6608m) summit, they passed through a snow bridge over a crevasse. The bridge couldn’t hold under Tomek’s weight. He fell around 40m. “[it was a] space adventure. I have pain around thigh muscle, most likely a broken rib as well, 6 frozen toes which I hope will not require amputation.”

They reached BC at around 2am. Fortunately, Tomek was able to descend from 6500m to BC, unaided. Next morning, however, the Polish climber says he couldn’t even move due to these injuries. He also tells that he has run out of money and will require financial support for return trip.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth Revol, who was expected to start return journey on January 20th, has delayed her departure. She discussed the possibility of a second summit attempt with Daniele Nardi. It seems that Daniele, Tomek and Elisabeth have discussed and resolved the misunderstanding that stirred up last week.

Daniele Nardi
Daniele Nardi went up from BC to C2 (5050m) on Sunday. He intended to go up and observe Mummery Spur closely, but was also concerned about safety of Tomek and Elisabeth. On Monday morning, BC team told him about the arrival of French-Polish duo.

"Before leaving, I contacted Base Camp to understand the situation of Elisabeth and Tomek. BC informed me that the two companions are safe. So, I decide to climb the spur with an open mind and a lighter spirit." By the evening, Daniele was at BC to meet Tomek and Elisabeth.

Russian Team
Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval have made significant progress on Schell route. Between January 14th and 20th, the Russians extended the route fixing from 6000m to 7150m. They have now reached the point, from where route traverses to Diamir side.

SMS from the team reads, "Reached 7150m, the place to move to Diamir Face. A huge mountain! Now we rest in BC. All's OK."

Variants of  Schell Route on Rupal side. Image from Polish Winter Nanga Parbat 2006-07 Team

Iranian Climbers and Alex Txikon
After resolving visa issue, Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi are expected to arrive in Islamabad, tomorrow. Spanish climber Alex Txikon who is already in Pakistan, will be leaving for Chilas soon. He will be sharing permit and BC facilities with Iranian climbers. Alex’s climbing partners on the mountain will be Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Khan.

Alex Txikon arranging equipment in Islamabad. Source

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Winter 2015 | Injuries after Crevasse Fall End Tomek Mackiewicz’ Fifth Attempt

Tomek Mackiewicz’ Fifth attempt on Nanga Parbat ends here, as he suffers a broken rib and fractured leg knee sprain after a snow bridge at around 6500m broke, causing the Polish climber to fall 50 meters into a crevasse. The accident happened when he was descending after summit push, together with Elisabeth Revol.

Elisa was first to go. She is very light and crossed the snow bridge without any problem. I made two steps and the snow beneath me broke. I fell into crevasse against my back. I did not have any control over it. I looked up and saw the sky view getting reduced in cosmic speed, messing up against the walls and somehow the flight ended after 50 meters, and I lived.” Tomek Mackiewicz told journalist Dominik Szczepański from Base Camp this afternoon. Elisabeth rescued him out of crevasse. “No way could I come out from there, alone.”

Tomek and Elisabeth near BC; Source

After spending ten days on the mountain, Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol returned to BC, this morning. It was a huge relief for fellow climbers, the BC team and climbing community who has been closely observing the team’s progress. The two climbers remained out of contact for three days due to battery issue with their satellite phone.

We set up camp (C4) at 7000m, because the conditions didn’t let us go above.” From C4, the two climbers pushed towards the summit and reached 7800m. From this point onwards, they would have followed the Hermann Buhl’s route to the summit. However, it was getting late and they decided to turn back. Although, they were almost 300 vertical meters below summit, total distance to be covered was more than 2 kilometers. “Had no chance to reach the top,” says the Polish climber.

It’s third instance of Tomek Mackiewicz reaching above 7000m on Nanga Parbat in winter. The only climber to have reached higher is Zbigniew Trzmiel, who turned back from 7850m in 1997. The route of Tomek and Elisabeth was previously climbed till 7500m by Reinhold Messner, Hubert Messner, Hanspeter Eisendle and Wolfgang Thomaseth.

It's not know whether Elisabeth shall continue the climb or will be returning home.

Nanga Parbat Diamir BC; Source

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Monday, January 19, 2015

(Updated) Winter 2015 | Tomek & Elisabeth Back in BC and the New Entrants

Lack of communication with Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol worries the climbing community, whereas Daniele Nardi and Russian Team continue their acclimatization. Finally, two more teams are expected to reach Nanga Parbat, soon.

Tomek and Elisabeth
Tomek and Elisabeth were in C4 at around 7000m, last week. In correspondence with their home team in Poland and Elisabeth’s husband in France, the climbers told that they will be descending to BC, soon. Jean Christophe Revol, Elisabeth’s husband wrote to Daniele Nardi on Saturday, “I got a message yesterday (Friday) afternoon…They should arrive in BC tomorrow, if they had begun the descent today….They have food and gas for at least 10 days.”

As leader of the expedition, Daniele Nardi hasn’t been pleased with Tomek and Elisabeth’s behavior. The two climbers went up without radio sets as Base Camp team proposed. They intended to avoid additional weight and carried only a satellite phone. The duo hasn't contacted BC or replied any messages since their departure. Daniele Nardi said that Tomek and Elisabeth aren’t part of his project anymore. Nonetheless, he said, he will be available for all kind of support the duo may need in case of any emergency.

Blue line shows the route of Tomek/Elisabeth's ascent; Source

On Saturday, Daniele Nardi returned to BC feeling concerned about safety of Tomek and Elisabeth. However communication with Jean Christophe Revol assured him that everything is fine and he may resume his climb.

We still await concrete information about Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth’s Revol’s health, safety and their retreat to BC.

Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol reached Base Camp this morning, reports Daniele Nardi's home team. Here's the full dispatch.
"It is the news that Daniele and his staff were waiting for some days: Elisabeth and Tomek, this morning, arrived at the base camp.

The news came to us from the base camp of Nanga Parbat where they are now Roberto Delle Monache (climber) and Federico Santini (cameraman) while Daniele, at this time, is back from Mammery spur where is completing the acclimatization.

Elisabeth and Tomek have just arrived at the base camp. They’re fine. Tomek has a small problem in the leg because he fell into a crevasse. Nothing to worry about. They arrived at 7800 meters.

Daniel and his staff are happy for the good condition of the two companions."
If the climbers have reached 7800m, as reported, it is the second highest point ever reached in Nanga Parbat's winter climbing history.

Alex Txikon: The New Entrant
On Sunday, Spanish climber Alex Txikon left for Pakistan to climb Nanga Parbat. Alex was part of ill-fortuned K2 expedition, which was cancelled after China revoked their climbing permit right before team's departure. It will be Spaniard’s first winter attempt on Nanga Parbat. He was part of two winter Gasherbrum-I expeditions and climbed Laila Peak (Hushe Valley) in winter 2013.

Two local climbers Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad Khan (from Machulu village) will be Alex’s partners on Diamir side of the mountain. Route will be decided once they reach BC.

Alex Txikon before his departure to Pakistan; Source

Iranians’ Visa Issue Resolved
The Iranian team is ready to leave for Pakistan and quickly move to BC as their visa issue has been sorted out. They’re expected to reach the mountain by the end of this week.

Daniele and Russians Continue Acclimatization
Russian team went up on January 14th and perhaps are still working on Schell route.

On January 16th, Daniele Nardi and Roberto negotiated the glacier between normal route and Mummery Rib. They set up Camp-2, and returned to BC. Daniele wrote, “We intended to stay more days to go and see up, close the spur, and maybe fix a tent at its base. However we decided to go down. Our decision was dictated not only by the satisfaction of the work done on the glacier, which this year is really hard to cross, but also and above all for the concern for our two expeditions friend Elisabeth and Tomek far from the base camp from ten days and with which we have no direct communication.

After communication with Jean Revol, the Italian climber went up again on Sunday.

Daniele Nardi descending towards BC; Source
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter 2015 | Tomek and Elisabeth at 7000m, Going Up Slowly

Winter teams are making significant progress on Nanga Parbat. Tomek and Elisabeth have reached around 7000m on Messner-Hanspeter Line. Russian team has fixed difficult sections of route to C2 on Schell Route. Daniele Nardi continues his work on Mummery Rib.

Tomek/Elisabeth in C4
Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol have made it to 7000m on Diamir side. It is their third foray up the Messner-Hanspeter 2000 route. Previously, they had acclimatized and fixed the route below 6000m.

After second rotation, the two climbers rested in BC for a couple of days. The current attempt started from BC on January 9th, whereas they made it to C2 on 10th. Tomek was hoping for a summit push chance. He told his home team from C2, “Tomorrow, [we will] traverse glacier to the right and sticks to the route, straight up. I hope that in four days, if the weather holds, we [will] join the Herman Buhl’s path.

A view from Tomek/Elisabeth's camp on Nanga Parbat; Source

However, fierce wind halted the team’s progress and by January 12th, they were still in C2. Next day, winds receded, allowing the climbers to reach C3 (6600m). “We are in C3. 6600m. Formations, which we climbed, are the most beautiful part of climbing in my life. Tomorrow, 7200 m. Then there is a window for the attack. This line is beautiful, but it is hardcore. Popped, blowing, but we are still moving. E [Elisabeth] is hard. Cold as hell." Tomek’s told his home team on 13th.

Yesterday (January 14th) was another good day, as Tomek and Elisabeth set up C4. “We are in C4 (around 7000m). Tomorrow [we will go] a little above, slowly due to lack of air. The views are amazing.” It’s not confirmed, as of now, whether they will be going for the summit from here or will retreat to BC for rest and recovery.

Tomek, Ali and Elisabeth; Source

Russians Going Up
Between January 8th and 11th, the four men Russian team, extended the route fixation to 6000m. A message from team on January 11th reads, “We made deposit at 6000, fixed ropes up to the ridge, but we were swept by the wind from the ridge, so we are in BC again.” Yesterday (on Jan 14th), the team left BC again to resume route fixing.

Schell route sketched by Polish Winter Nanga Parbat 2006-07 Team, with help from Hans Schell.
Daniele Nardi on Mummery Spur
After first trip towards Mummery Rib on Jan 12th, Daniele Nardi said, "I just returned from 5100m where I fixed rope on the ice. Now I am at the BC. In coming days, I will climb to fix another rope that will take us to the base of Mummery Spur." Daniele and Roberto were scheduled to leave BC yesterday.


Visa Issues with Iranian Climbers
As per information from Asghar Ali Porik of Jasmine Tours Pakistan, the arrival of Iranian climbers is delayed due to visa issues. They are working to sort out the matter.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter 2015 | Acclimatization and Progressing towards C2

Winter climbers, except the Iranians, have reached Nanga Parbat and are going forward with acclimatization and route establishment. This initial phase of expeditions is going to play a major role in teams’ readiness for summit-bid when weather windows arrive.

Rupal Side
Having established C1 (5250m) on Schell route in first rotation, the Russians have progressed further to 5900m. The team messaged from BC on Jan 4th, "we prepared the route from C1 till 5900. In summer the local guides had removed all ropes stayed on the route after the Polish and Italian expeditions. We found only one hook. Now resting in BC."

The Russian climbers tried to go up again, today, but were forced to turn back due to high avalanche danger.

Diamir Side

Tomek and Elisabeth
After setting up Base Camp and route reconnaissance, Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol have started working on Messner-Hanspeter 2000 line. As per last communication from BC, the two climbers were heading towards C2 from C1. (Update: It appears that they returned to BC after aforementioned climb, and are ready to go up, again. As per Daniele's home team, Tomek and Elisabeth will try to reach 6000m in next three days.)

On January 1st, Tomek and Elisabeth reached C1 at around 3PM local time. “We are in C1. The weather is good. Tomorrow we set off to C2. This is our second visit here. The first time we have made it to halfway to the C2 ", Tomek told his home team from C1.

Tomek along with a porter resting during BC trek. Source

Daniele Nardi
The Italian climber and support team have also reached the mountain. They arrived at Base Camp on January 4th. Daniele Nardi’s plan was to start acclimatization immediately. As per team, initially they will conduct two "walks" above BC.

During previous winter expeditions, Daniele acclimatized on Ganalo Peak (6608m) (without reaching the summit on both occasions). It appears that this year too, he will be going up this subsidiary peak for acclimatization, before alpine style attempt on Mummery Rib.

Nanga Parbat Diamir Face; Source
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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Winter 2015 | Nanga Parbat BC Established, Climbing Begins

With climbing permit of K2 winter expedition denied, focus shifts to Nanga Parbat where three teams are aiming for first winter ascent of the mountain. The climbers have started reaching Basecamp and setting up higher camps.

K2 Permit Denied
Hopes of winter climbing K2 shattered when Denis Urubko received the final verdict from Chinese authorities on Dec 25th. Fragile security situation and terrorist attacks in Xinxiang province have been quoted as reason for permission denial. Denis proposed that the team would not stay in cities and would travel directly to K2 Basecamp. However, authorities didn’t agree. Email from travel agency read, “I officially inform you that we have to cancel the program and [we] hope to be in cooperation with you some other time. Please inform all your members and inform your cargo company to send back your equipment immediately!”

Nanga Parbat: Russians on Rupal Side
After last year’s unsuccessful attempt on Schell Route, both Simone Moro and Tomek Mackiewicz concluded that the route length makes it less feasible for winter climbing, where prolonged weather windows are nonexistent. However, four Russians Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval are all set for a light and fast go on the route. Their provisions include three camps (highest one at 7000m), a small tent for bivouacking during summit push and merely 500m ropes.

The team established C1 at around 5250m a couple of days ago before returning to BC for rest. Having reached Pakistan on Dec 24th, the team quickly set off towards Rupal valley. By 27th, they had reached Lattabo and accommodated inside their Base Camp at 3600m.

Russian Winter Nanga Parbat Team; Source

Diamir side Teams
There are two expeditions (or virtually three teams) on Diamir side, this winter. First expedition is a group of winter Nanga Parbat veterans; Tomek Mackiewicz (fifth attempt), Daniele Nardi (third attempt) and Elisabeth Revol (second attempt). Whereas Iranian climbers Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmoud Hashemi will be fresh faces in Nanga Parbat’s winter climbing history.

Tomek and Elisabeth
After reaching over 7200m on Schell route twice, Tomek Mackiewicz opted to climb from Diamir side, this year. Daniele Nardi and Elisabeth Revol made it to 6400m on Mummery Rib in winter 2012-13, whereas Elisabeth didn’t come to Pakistan last year due to security concerns. The three climbers will be sharing BC, this season.

Tomek and Elisabeth started the Base Camp journey from Chilas on Dec 26th. After setting up BC and observing mountain conditions, the two have decided to climb the unfinished Messner-Hanspeter 2000 line. In his message from BC, Tomek says that the mountain is “bone dry” and they would want to avoid the main Diamir wall. The conditions are, as expected, extremely cold where the power equipment like batteries and generator often fail.

Daniele appreciated Elisabeth’s team spirit during their attempt on Mummery Rib. Now, Tomek also speaks of good companionship with her, "With Elisa, we get along well. Good player. Power. Together cool. Very nice person."

Tomek and Elisabeth's line is shown in blue (extreme left); Classic Kinshofer is in pink (right most). Red and Yellow ones are variants of Kinshofer 

Daniele Nardi
The Italian climber, together with Roberto Delle Monache and Federico Santini, flew to Pakistan on Dec 28th. After spending a day in Islamabad, they flew to Gilgit on 30th and then drove to Chilas. The group shall be reaching Diamir BC, soon.

Daniele Nardi’s plan is to climb Mummery Rib. Roberto will accompany him on the route as a photographer. Federico’s tasks include videography and BC management.

The Italians along with Pakistani guides; Source

Iranian Expedition
The team hasn’t shared details about the expedition, yet. However, they are expected to arrive in Pakistan by mid-January and climb on Diamir side of Nanga Parbat.

History Of Winter Climbing Nanga Parbat
Schell Route
Winter Climbing | The Bitter Cold And Wind, History, The Calendar Winter And More
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Winter 2015 | Nanga Parbat Teams Arrive in Pakistan, K2 Climbers Hopeful for Positive Outcome

We are now into calender winter climbing season. Some climbers are already travelling towards the mountains. Others will be arriving right after Christmas. However, the permit issue has delayed the K2 expedition till mid-January, at least.

Elisabeth and Tomek Moving Towards BC
Members of International team on Nanga Parbat Diamir side are reaching Pakistan, one by one. French lady Elisabeth Revol arrived in Islamabad last week and left for Nanga Parbat on Monday, Dec 22nd. Tomek Mackiewicz has completed acclimatization in Rupal valley and is expected to have reached Chilas by now.

The two climbers will be going to Diamir Base Camp. Daniele Nardi, Roberto Delle Monache and Federico Santini will be leaving for Pakistan after Christmas, on Dec 27th. They will be sharing Base Camp with Tomek and Elisabeth.

Daniele will be climbing the Mummery Rib again this year; his third winter attempt on the route. However, Tomek and Elisabeth may work together on unfinished line attempted by Messner and Eisendle Hanspeter in 2000. 

The Karakoram Highway; File photo by Elisabeth Revol

Russians in Pakistan
Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval left for Pakistan on Dec 22nd. As informed by RussianClimb, the team will be attempting Schell route (with due variations) on Rupal side.

“The team hopes to get setup by ATP and start moving within only two days to a low BC (3600 m) set by a free-flowing stream of water. The climbing plan is: C1, C2, and C3 at about 7000 m, with summit push in a single run and a small tent between C3 and the top. The team is bringing only 500 meter of rope.”

The third Nanga Parbat team consists of three Iranian climbers, and will be coming to Pakistan in second week of January.

K2 Climbers Hopeful
Despite the major setback due to climbing permit cancellation, Denis Urubko, Alex Txikon and Adam Bielecki are positive about their K2 Northside expedition. “As you know the date of our expedition has been slightly modified. We’ve changed agency to Chinese one and now we’re waiting for new permit. We should obtain it first week of January with chance of winter ascent of K2 still being real. No one said it would be easy. Keep your fingers crossed.” Adam Bielecki wrote on Facebook.

If new permit is issued and everything goes as per plan, the team should be reaching K2 Northside BC by the last week of January.

Finally, details about Simone Moro’s expedition are still awaited, who will be Himalayas in second part of the winter.

K2 Route options by Denis Urubko
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