Karakorum Today: Hidden Peak, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum

8000ers
Marco Confortola (left) with Maria Cardell and Denis Urubko in Gasherbrum Base Camp. Urubko and Cardell are acclimatizing on GII's normal route before attempting a new line.

Hidden Peak is the latest 8000’er summited this season, but things are also moving fast on neighbouring Gasherbrum II and on K2. On Nanga Parbat, meanwhile, the job is done, and it’s time to head home.

Besides the giants, some meritorious climbs have taken place on slightly smaller peaks, such as the new route on Rakaposhi South Face and Simon Messner’s solo of Toshe III.

Action on the Gasherbrums

A Korean team led by Kim Hongbin bagged the season’s first climb of Hidden Peak (Gasherbrum I) yesterday. Fellow summiters included Cho Cheol Hee, Cheong Ha Young, Pechhumbe Sherpa from Nepal and Pakistani climber Muhammad.

Alex Gavan fixing rope on Gasherbrum II’s Banana Couloir. Photo: Samu Sherpa

On neighboring Gasherbrum II, a number of strong climbers seem to be enjoying themselves: “What a feeling of freedom, what a feeling of joy,” exclaimed Romanian Alex Gavan.

Gavan is climbing with Canadian Don Bowie (who summited Annapurna this spring). Also poised to move up is Marco Confortola: If successful, GII would mark the Italian veteran’s 11th 8000’er.

He and partner Ali Durani are in Camp 2 for the night. Tomorrow, they will continue to C3 and plan to sleep at least two nights at altitude.

Marco Confortola negotiates the steep serac just below Camp 1. “It looks a bit nasty,” reports Don Bowie, “but in reality, it’s pretty easy terrain, especially with the fixed rope in place.” Photo: Don Bowie

Nanga Parbat

Sergi Mingote summited Nanga Parbat last week and has hopped over to the Gasherbrums. Armed with a double permit, he hopes to add numbers 6 and 7 to his list of 8000’ers this year. His brief stopover in Skardu last Friday gave the Catalan climber some high-speed wifi, which he used to upload the very cool video below.

Mingote summited with no HA porters or supplemental O2. His partner, Moesses Fiamoncini, earned the first Brazilian ascent of Nanga Parbat. “Nanga was a beautiful yet tough mountain, and there were no fixed ropes between Camp 4 and the summit,” Mingote wrote. “We chose to take the Sadpara Variation, which goes up the right side of a snow couloir … [to] a ridge of demanding mixed terrain.”

Mingote highlighted the teamwork on the mountain. “We were less than 15 climbers in Base Camp, but we all collaborated to make our dream come true.”

He assesses the climb as one of the two hardest he’s done, along with his descent from K2 last year. He dedicated the summit to Lhotse-Everest mate Juan Pablo Mohr, who couldn’t attend because of family reasons, as well as fellow summiters Cala Cimenti (an old friend of Mingote’s) and Stefi Troguet, who “passed her first 8000’er exam with honours.”

Stefi Troguet and Nirmal Purba (on the right) with their Sherpa team. Photo: Stefi Troguet

Flying uncharacteristically under the radar, Nirmal Purba also summited Nanga Parbat, but no details were then provided about whether he used O2, Sherpas, or when he arrived or reached the summit. Such details are not mandatory, but sort of expected from record seekers.

He might have remained anonymous, if he weren’t climbing with a social media expert like Stefi Troguet. She kept his secret almost till the end, but finally spilled the beans yesterday. She also revealed that Ali Sadpara called off his climb because of frostbite.

Finally, Purba himself posted on Twitter: “Mingma David Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Walung Dorje Sherpa, Galjen Sherpa and Stefi Troguet, the team that stood at the top of Nanga Parbat, seventh of 14 mountains.” He alluded to a new route they opened — perhaps referring to the Sadpara Variation? — although no one else, including Troguet, mentions a new route.

Meanwhile, French media confirmed that guide Boris Langenstein climbed Nanga Parbat on July 2 and skied down from 50 metres below the summit. Langestein says that he kept his skis on the whole time, but he had to cling to fixed ropes on a steep, icy section right below Camp 3.

His partner, Tiphaine Duperier, stopped climbing at 7,800m, but she waited for him, and the pair skied down together. They had recently summited 7,027m Spantik together. Taking advantage of their acclimatization, they were airlifted to Nanga’s BC.  Their quick summit push took them a total of four nights, including a failed first summit attempt from C4.

Last but not least, on K2…

K2 summits might come sooner than expected, since rope fixing has gone remarkably fast — the bright side of so many teams on the mountain. Seven Summit Treks reports that rope is fixed as far as Camp 4.

High-quality alpinism on lesser peaks

One of the most remarkable climbs of the season has just taken place on the difficult Rakaposhi (which misses 8000’er status by just 212 metres). Here, Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima of Japan opened a bold new route on the south side, alpine style. They reached the summit on July 2 and made it safely back to Base Camp. Further details and pictures are expected.

Rakaposhi at sunset. Photo: Fawad Malik

Finally, PlanetMountain has posted some details of Simon Messner’s ascent of Toshe III (locally known as Geshot Peak). The 29-year old climber completed his ascent solo, after his mates — Günther Göberl, Robert Neumeyer and his legendary father Reinhold — called off their attempt because of the difficult conditions. “Simon ascended to ABC, located at about 4,600m, on his own, then set off early on 29 June, requiring 5.5 hours to reach the summit,” the Italian portal reported.

Related stories:

Sure Enough, Crowds of Rookies on K2

Karakorum News: Broad Peak Summit Questions

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Sport journalist, published author and communication consultant. Feeling back home at ExplorersWeb after five years exploring distant professional ranges.

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Karakorum Today: Hidden Peak, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum"

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
damiengildea
Editor

Why does Nima Purjal keep claiming to have ‘opened the route’ on Nanga Parbat when:
a) Other climbers collaborated to fix ropes lower down, and
b) Boris Langenstein ‘opened the route to the summit’ when he summited before all of them.

Purjal’s claim is simply not true.

http://alpinistiemontagne.gazzetta.it/2019/07/14/la-via-aperta-nella-neve-sul-nanga-da-nirmal-purja/
http://alpinistiemontagne.gazzetta.it/2019/07/14/la-risposta-di-cala-cimenti-a-nirmal-purja/