Final Push for First Winter Ascent of Nanga Parbat

Success or not, it’s going to be another historical day on Nanga Parbat.

We are theoretically hours away from first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, a quest that started in 1988/89. It’s a sunny, windless and cloudless day on the mountain, as climbers approach the summit trapezoid. Although, there hasn’t been any direct communication with the team, tracker of Alex Txikon shows that they left C4 early in the morning, as planned.

Day-4: C4

Setting out from C3 yesterday, the four climbers established C4 at the edge of Bazhin Basin (at an altitude of around 7100m-7200m). Weather conditions remained favorable throughout the day.

The team left C3 in two groups. Ali Sadpara and Simone Moro went up first, at around 0930hrs local time. Alex Txikon and Tamara Lunger dismantled the tent and arranged necessary gear for C4. They went up an hour later. While the team encountered icy conditions between C2 and C3, they were pleasantly surprised to find hard snow beyond last camp. It took them around six hours to reach C4.

Great Weather

February 26th dawned as a beautiful summit day, as predicted by meteorologists. Igone Mariezkurrena, Alex Txikon’s BC manager, sent photo of the mountain a while ago. It’s perfectly calm and there isn’t even a hint of clouds. The conditions are expected to remain good until tomorrow.

Marching Forward

Climbers can be seen marching forward. “No contact with BC, but Alex Txikon’s RaceTracker indicates they’re on the way and doing well! From here, with binoculars, we can already perceive them far away, getting closer to the base of the summit-trapeze, the mountain on the mountain. No windy at all.” Igone Mariezkurrena wrote a while ago.

A Full Day Climb Ahead

Of 31 Nanga Parbat winter expeditions, it’s only third time that climbers are within few hours distance from the top. In 1997, Polish climbers Krzysztof Pankiewicz and Zbigniew Trzmiel had to abort the attempt at 7850m due to health issues (Krzysztof Pankiewicz stopped hundred meters below). Last year, Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara and Daniele Nardi took a wrong turn; ending up in a dead end at 7800m.

Despite favorable conditions and good health of climbers, the summit day is still an exhausting battle. The climbers are expected to climb throughout the day and probably into the night as well. They will have to take care of the delicate balance between enthusiasm and being carried away by summit fever. Success or not, it’s going to be another historical day on Nanga Parbat.