Nanga Parbat: Some Stay, Some Leave, As Weather Stalls Attempts

Relentless bad weather has caused some climbers to abandon Nanga Parbat, while others, including skiers Anna Tybor and Tom Lafaille, continue to stick it out, hoping for a change.

“The forecasts indicate an improvement over the weekend, with the possibility of a weather window lasting a few days,” Tybor wrote.

Chhang Dawa Sherpa, climbing director of Seven Summit Treks, confirms that the ropes are fixed until Camp 4, the highest on the normal Kinshofer Route of the Diamir Face. Factoring in the weather, conditions, and climbing times, Chhang Dawa estimates July 10 as the most suitable summit day.

Even in the best case, it will not be easy or free of risk. Some climbers follow their guides’ advice, but others have a different opinion about how much risk is acceptable. Klara Kolouchova passed the infamous Kinshofer Wall to reach 6,100m, but that was as far as she went.

“After evaluating the snow conditions and the weather forecast, I made the more difficult decision,” she said. She returned home on June 30.

semi buried tents high on a mountain slope at sunset

Snow overloads the upper slopes of Nanga Parbat. Photo: Klara Kolouchova

Familiar faces

Climber and journalist Monika Witkowska of Poland led a trekking group to Nanga Parbat and reached the Diamir side Base Camp on July 1. Back in town, she offered some interesting insights from the field.

At the time, she counted 14 climbers remaining on the mountain, including some familiar names, such as Israfil Ashurli of Azerbaijan. Ashurli sacrificed his summit attempt last year to aid a Pakistani climber in trouble and also helped many others. As a reward, local authorities gave him a free climbing permit this year.

Trifish Chang of Taiwan, Santiago Quintero of Ecuador, and the previously mentioned Tybor and Lafaille are also ready to go for the summit as soon as the weather clears. Other waiting climbers come from Oman, Romania, Japan, Norway, Greece, and Pakistan. Seven Summit treks had six sherpas in place, fixing the ropes.

Fishtri sitting sideward on a chair

Fishtri Chang of Taiwan in Base Camp. Photo: Monika Witkowska


Local climbers include the controversially young Selena Khawaja and her father. They first appeared at Broad Peak in 2021 when the so-called Mountain Princess was only 12 years old. She was attempting to break a risky age record.

The situation worsened when Khawaja’s father got sick and was evacuated from the mountain but left the child there, accompanied only by porters, to continue. She eventually did not go up the mountain. Read more about the controversy here. Khawaja is now 15 years old.

Report from the field

“People have just started climbing; they only reached Camp 1 on July 1,” Witkowska wrote. (Tybor and Lafaille had already rotated higher up). Climbers on oxygen have to reach at least Camp 2 before attempting the summit. Those going without need to get to Camp 3 to fully acclimatize.

Witkowska describes the current situation [edited for clarity]:

The atmosphere in BC is on one hand very nice and friendly (people meeting, chats etc.) but on the other hand, I felt the frustration surrounding the poor prospects of a summit push. The problem is the weather and conditions. There’s too much snow, the weather forecasts have been wrong, and there is not a clear window in sight.

People have no access to internet in Base Camp, and the only contact with their families is via InReach.  When I was in Base Camp, they discussed a date for the summit push. Some talked about July 3 as a good day, but it was impossible because they had to wait for the sherpas to fix the ropes to Camp 4. Some climbers are in a hurry because they have more than one peak in mind.

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.