Nanga Parbat: Vedrines, Goettler Almost Succeed on Rupal Face

David Goettler and Benjamin Vedrines describe their recent attempt — and near success — on Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face. Meanwhile, Nanga’s normal route summiters are finally back in Base Camp after a long, windy climb and descent.

The brotherhood of the rope

Benjamin Vendrines explained that weather and conditions were good when they launched their alpine-style push on Nanga Parbat. They went up the Rupal Face, bivouacked, then traversed to the Diamir side of the mountain — possibly via the Schell route, although they didn’t say.

However, Goettler didn’t feel well overnight. Eventually, they had to make some tough decisions. it was especially tough for Vedrines. He felt good, and the two of them were just 600m from the top, in good conditions.

Yet, like all alpine-style teams, they were subject to the brotherhood of the rope and depended on each other.

So instead, they retreated from 7,500m. Further down, Vedrines considered a solo attempt on the following day, but ultimately refused to leave his companion. “I can neither hide my pain nor blame David,” he admitted, “[But] emotions felt made my mountaineering values tremble.”

A limber on a steep snow ramp , with the peak's shadow reflecting in the morning haze like a ghost.

Nanga Parbat’s shadow paints the horizon as the climbers traverse from the Rupal Face to the Diamir side. Photo: Benjamin Vedrines


The beauty and the cruelty

Goettler explained that they only had one 60m rope, needed for both the climb and the descent. “The descent is not straight down,” Goettler explained. “There’s a long up and down traverse first, and there were no fixed ropes, of course. That’s the beauty of climbing a route like this in a style like this. The beauty and the cruelty of it.”

“As my great friend Ueli Steck once said, “Don’t epic”. I thought of his words. I knew if we continued I’d unleash an epic. So we turned around,” said Goettler.

Tough summit day for Kinshoffer climbers

Harila and her sherpa team, led by Tenjen Sherpa, endured an extremely long journey on June 25-26. They went from Camp 3 to the summit, then all the way down to Base Camp. The rest of Nanga Parbat summiters returned on June 27, after spending a night after their summit in either Camp 3 or Camp 2. They all climbed the normal Kinshoffer route.

One of them, Tunk Findik of Turkey, told ExplorersWeb that June 26 was a marginal summit day. “[It was] very windy, with a 50km wind and the windchill factor down to -45˚C, but that is somewhat normal for an 8,000’er. It was also a dull gray, sunless morning.”

Despite his original plan to do the climb without supplementary oxygen, Findik switched on his single bottle at 7,400m. “And I am glad I did,” he said.

Findik climbed with Sophie Lavaud’s group. Like for her, Nanga was the last peak on his 14×8,000m quest. Or was it?

A summit is a summit, but

Some ExWeb commenters have pointed out that, according to, Findik previously did not reach the true summit of Manaslu. Sophie Lavaud, on the other hand, summited it last fall, after the true summit had become clear through Jackson Groves’s images. Ropes were fixed all the way to the top, and her Manaslu summit is not disputed.

As we explained when’s conclusions first became public, while we do agree that any mountain has only one summit, several climbers told ExplorersWeb that they reached what they were convinced was the highest point on Manaslu. Many pointed out that their summit lay beyond the end of the ropes fixed by commercial teams.

We asked Tunc Findik about Manaslu. He answered in the same vein.

“When I was there on that summit, there was nothing higher,” he said. “If I had seen a higher point anywhere, I would for sure have gone there. But there simply wasn’t. The snowy ridge ended maybe six to eight meters away from me and no higher in altitude than I was. At least, that was how the final section looked that year.”

Findik added that he has taken his 14×8,000m project seriously at every stage. “If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have returned to Nanga Parbat four times, especially after the terrorist attack in 2013.”

Findik was in Camp 2 when armed terrorists stormed Base Camp and killed 11 people.

Other climbers await their chance

Most Nanga Parbat summiters head next to Broad Peak, the Gasherbrums, or home. Others remain in Base Camp, still waiting for a summit chance. Earlier this week, it seemed that a second push might start tomorrow, Friday, but conditions don’t look promising. Findik told ExplorersWeb that the weather is bad and it is currently raining in Base Camp.

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.