Nanga Parbat Climbers Reach Base Camp

The international team has reached Nanga Parbat’s Base Camp in time for Christmas Eve. It includes Pakistan’s Kudrat Ali, Italy’s Herve Barmasse, Mike Arnold of the U.S., and David Gottler of Germany. Photographer Paolo Sartori will document the team’s progress. They may be ready to start climbing before the end of the year.

Porters offload equipment at the foot of Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face. Photo: Carlos Garranzo’s blog


The nearly 4,000m Rupal Face has never been climbed in winter, and there are very few successes even in summer. Reinhold Messner and his brother Gunther made the first ascent in 1970. The pair then traversed down the unexplored Diamir Face, where Gunther died in an avalanche.

In 1985, a Polish-Mexican team established a new route to the right of the Messners’, according to Gripped. Steve House and Vince Anderson opened the last route, in 2005.

Manaslu: numbers may increase

Meanwhile, today on Manaslu, the climbers shuttled equipment to Camp 1 at 5,800m. They then returned to BC for a special Christmas Eve dinner. The loose conglomerate of climbers may increase in numbers in the days ahead. So far, everyone on the mountain is under a Seven Summit Treks permit. It includes a Sherpa team with Chhepal Sherpa as sirdar.

Alex Txikon is officially the overall team leader, or at least, the coordinator. The Basque climber originally planned the expedition with Iñaki Alvarez and Simone Moro, plus a small Base Camp team and a photographer.

Alex Txikon, in snowshoes, humps a load to C1. Photo: Sendoa Elejalde


Oswald Pereira, Sophie Lenaerts, and Stef Maginelle have offered to help with the work. Pereira is currently in Base Camp, while Lenaerts and Maginelle will join the expedition after leaving Belgium on January 1. None of them will use supplementary O2 or personal Sherpas, Lenaerts confirmed to ExplorersWeb.

“Dawa C Sherpa is not our personal Sherpa but part of the Sherpa team [whose support] I paid for,” Lenaerts said. “[They] will be climbing and helping fix the ropes. But just to be clear, Stef and I will make our own high camps, carry our own tents, and help the other teams with rope fixing and breaking trail.”

Client to Manaslu?

Yesterday, Txikon reported that Paula Strengell of Finland was also climbing Manaslu. An interview on Txikon’s blog mentioned that Strengell would climb with Mingma Sherpa, but ExplorersWeb has not yet confirmed this yet. Simone Moro is pairing up with Pasang Rinjee. It is unclear whether any of the Sherpas will use oxygen.

Iñaki Alvares on his way to Camp 1 today. Photo: Sendoa Elejalde


As Dr. Robert Szymczak told ExplorersWeb in a recent interview, oxygen helps relieve some of the effects of very cold temperatures. Txikon uses heat pads inside his gloves and boots on the upper sections.

“They may make the difference between getting frostbite or not, and I have made sure that I have enough at least for us and all the Sherpas,” he told ExplorersWeb.

He has also brought 10 pairs of snowshoes for the flatter sections between Base Camp and Camp 1. “So far the atmosphere in Base Camp is great, and everybody is willing to work,” he said. “That is key if we want a summit chance.”

He added: “Besides, this is winter Manaslu; it is a serious challenge and a dangerous one. The mountain itself will make the final selection. Only those fit to endure the conditions and work will have a chance to join the summit push.”

Christmas dinner includes Iberico ham, rioja, Cantabrian anchovies, and fish with red peppers, prepared by Basque cook Eneko Garamendi (pouring, above). Photo: Sendoa Elejalde