Winter 8000’er Update: Despair on Nanga Parbat, K2 Climbers Still Hopeful

8000ers K2
Evening glow on Nanga Parbat at the end of a tough day. Photo: Tom Ballard

Options decrease for winter teams with every day that passes and every fresh load of snow that deposits on the steep slopes. Manaslu climbers Simone Moro and Pemba Gelje should be back to Kathmandu by now. Only the two teams on K2 are going ahead, one beside the other, but not working together for now.

Pivtsov’s team is back in BC after setting up Camp 2 at 6,800m. The descent took all day yesterday, without eating or drinking. Today, they are recovering, making repairs and preparing for their third push up the mountain.

Mikhail Danichkin winer K2

Mikhail Danichkin inhales from a hot water bottle to ease his cough on K2. Photo: RussianClimb

Meanwhile, Txikon (the Basque pronunciation is Chi kon) has lost another Polish member of his team. Waldemar Kowalewski, injured by a chunk of ice a few days ago, was joined on the helicopter flight out (check the video here) by Marek Klonowski, who was unable to shake a pulmonary infection he had been fighting since the beginning of the expedition.

Spirits are far from high on Nanga Parbat. After a day in C2 due to high avalanche risk, Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard proceeded up to Camp 3, only to find … basically nothing. Their camp was buried somewhere in the snow. “Tents, our down gear, sleeping bags, food, fuel and technical equipment were all lost,” Tom Ballard reported on Montane. “All that hard work to carry it up here, for nothing.”

Tom Ballard busy at his main activity on Nanga Parbat: digging. Photo: Tom Ballard

The climbers dug around for a while, in vain. “We had to descend since we had nowhere to sleep,” said Ballard. So the two returned to Camp 2 for a rest, then continued down to Base Camp yesterday. Now, they’ll rest and assess their next move.

Winter Nanga Parbat team members Daniele Nardi (left), Tom Ballard (centre) and Rahmat Ullah Baig.

Winter Nanga Parbat climbers Daniele Nardi (left), Tom Ballard (centre) and Rahmat Ullah Baig.

Related stories:

Simone Moro Abandons Makalu

Previous Winter 8000’er Update


About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Nick R.
Nick R.
2 years ago

The Manaslu expedition aborted. The Nanga expedition aborting is likely imminent. Can one of the K2 teams make history? Currently at base camp of K2 it’s a balmy and comfortable 56 degrees below zero.