Pakistan Update: K2, Nanga Parbat

Benjamin Vedrines has had time to acclimatize with a “run” to Camp 2 on a deserted K2. He then paraglided back down to Base Camp. Summits on Nanga Parbat might start soon from both sides of the mountain. And French alpinists Yanick Graziani and Helias Millerioux will attempt a 7,000m peak in the Shimshal but haven’t yet revealed which one.

K2 before the crowds

Guided climbers are landing in Skardu this week. Meanwhile, local porters have been carrying supplies and oxygen and pitching tents, but K2 Base Camp remains almost empty. Note that helicopters are not an option in Pakistan; everyone still treks in.

Benjamin Vedrines and photographer Seb Montaz reached K2 Base Camp last week and immediately set off to Camp 1 for two days to acclimatize. Vedrines also made a quick run up to Camp 2 and paraglided down. He aims to do a one-day speed ascent of K2 without bottled oxygen, then paraglide back to Base Camp.

Japanese Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima are on the first stage of their new route up the West Face. They say they have spotted a good line for their attempt.

French pair leave clues

Yanick Graziani and Helias Millerioux of France are not ready to reveal their goal, but they left some clues. A map, actually.

Their goal is one of the 7,000’ers in Pakistan’s Shimshal — possibly Distaghil Sar (also written Disteghil Sar), the nearest summit to their base camp. At 7,885m, it’s the seventh-highest peak in Pakistan and has just a handful of ascents. The north face remains unclimbed.

Millerioux and Graziani's Base Camp in Pakitan Shiman mountains located on Google Earth

Millerioux and Graziani’s base camp. Photo: Google Earth


Both Graziani and Millerioux have impressive climbing resumés. In 2008, Graziani bagged the first ascent of the southeast point of Pumari Chhish with Christian Trommsdorff, alpine style. The peak is not far from the climbers’ current location. In 2021, the pair climbed the north ridge of Diran Peak and then Rakaposhi, both alpine style. In the fall of 2022, Millerioux attempted the west side of Manaslu.

Millerioux won a Piolet d’Or in 2017 after a new route, alpine style, on the South Face of Nuptse, with Frederic Degoulet and Nicois Benjamin Guigonnet.

Nanga Parbat

We are awaiting news from the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, where David Goettler, Boris Langenstein, and Tiphaine Duperier were ready to push for the summit as soon as the weather permitted. The French pair intend to ski down from the summit; Goettler might paraglide down. Climbers on the normal route confirm the weather has improved.

Pakistani climber on a snow ridge in dim light.

On Nanga Parbat. Photo: Karakoram Expeditions


On the Diamir side, Anna Tybor and Tom Lafaille spent the night in Camp 2 on their second acclimatization trip up Nanga Parbat. Tomorrow, the Polish-French couple will continue to Camp 3.

“Conditions are still quite difficult,” Tybor wrote. “There is really a lot of snow after the recent snowfall, and breaking trail is very time-consuming. Fortunately, a lot of people are heading up from C2 tomorrow.”

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.