Nanga Parbat Team Switches to Messner Route

On Nanga Parbat’s Kinshoffer route, rocks continue to rain down between Camp 2 and the foot of the mountain. For Imagine Nepal leader Mingma G, the choice was clear — change the route.

The climbers reached Base Camp a week ago. After a rest day, staff fixed ropes to 700m above Camp 1. Because of the flying rocks, however, they eventually retreated to Base Camp to discuss their options.

Climbers look for the best possible route across a broken glacier.

Climbers on the alternative route. Photo: Mingma G


“We decided not to climb the Kingshoffer Wall,” said Mingma G. “So on August 17, three team members climbed up and brought down all the rope previously fixed.

“On August 18, we fixed our [new] Camp 1 at 5,100m following approximately Messner’s route. One day later, we fixed Camp 2 at 6,359m after climbing up the Couloir.”

Looking upgacir toward Nanga Parbat with red route line up the mountain

Mingma G’s team is following the above route line, which is roughly the Messner route. Photo: Mingma G


Everyone is currently back at Base Camp for a short rest but they will go back up to fix Camp 3 as soon as possible. Mingma G says that conditions are good on this new route. They plan to follow it to the summit.

Which Messner route?

The Messner route on Nanga Parbat’s Diamir Face usually refers to the route he climbed on his solo 1978 ascent. Yet strictly speaking, there is more than one Messner route. Check the topo below by Irena Mrak in the American Alpine Journal.

All the routes on Nanga Parbat’s Diamir side, including the three lines used by Reinhold Messner. Caption as published in the AAJ: (1) Kinshofer route (1962, original line). (1a) Line generally followed today. (2) Messner brothers’ 1970 descent route via Mummery Rib. (3) Messner 1978 descent route. (4) Slovenian 2011 ascent to upper Southwest Ridge. Bivouac sites marked. (5) Messner’s 1978 ascent route. (6) Upper section of 1976 Schell route up the Rupal Flank to the Mazeno Col. There have been several variants of the Schell route, e.g. in 1981, Ronald Naar followed a higher traverse line to a snowy section of the ridge up and left from the Slovenian high point. Photo: Viki Groselj

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.