Rope-Fixing Teams Lead Nanga Parbat Summit Push

A massive summit push is unfolding on Nanga Parbat. The weather is good, conditions have settled down, and climbers are anxious to reach the summit, especially those intending to speed on to other peaks. However, everything depends on the rope-fixing teams.

Yesterday, Adriana Brownlee was considering what she described as “tough choices”. Climbing with Gelje Sherpa, she wanted to start her summit push last night but was not sure if the fixing team would make it to the top in time. “If we leave tonight and the lines aren’t fixed after Camp 3 there is a possibility of me and Gelje short roping and treading through slowly. But that will require extra O2 and the snow to be compact for some trailblazing,” she explained.

Nanga Parbat's route topography, with the high camps marked by red dots. The route is fairly direct to 6,750m and then turns sharply to the right towards the summit.

Nanga Parbat’s route topography, with the high camps marked by red dots. Photo: Summit Karakoram

Priorities shifting from adventure to summit rates

The comment demonstrates how things have changed from just a few years ago. Then, the “Naked Goddess” was usually climbed by a hodgepodge of individuals and teams, joining forces as best as they could. Most did not use supplementary O2.

Now, Pakistan’s 8,000’ers are visited by international commercial teams whose strategy is based on fixed routes, O2 supplies, lots of staff, and thanks to all this logistical muscle, great success rates in good weather periods.

For these teams, the rope fixing work is vital. Fortunately, the rope fixing team on Nanga Parbat is making great progress and has a large number of climbers in tow. Summit Karakoram confirmed that 8K, Pioneer, and Dolma Outdoor teams reached Camp 3 yesterday. Today, they are moving to Camp 4 before hopefully leading the way to the summit tonight or early tomorrow, July 1.

Records and milestones

Each of these teams comprises climbers in pursuit of a record or milestone. The 8K Expeditions features Kristin Harila of Norway, climbing with Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongchu. Harila is trying to climb all fourteen 8,000’ers in six months.

Grace Tseng in Nanga Parbat's Base Camp a few days ago taking a selfie and winking.

Grace Tseng in Nanga Parbat’s Base Camp a few days ago. Photo: Grace Tseng

 

Pioneer Adventures’ team leader is Sanu Sherpa, on his 2x14x8,000’ers project (climbing each 8,000’er twice). Naoko Watanabe of Japan and Pasang Lamu Sherpa Akita are also on the Pioneer Adventures team, both are working towards 14×8,000’ers.

Grace Tseng of Taiwan is with Dolma Outdoor, climbing with Nima Gyalzen and Ningma Tamang. Tseng is aiming to speed climb all 14×8,000’ers.

Shehroze Kashif of Pakistan has reached Base Camp with a high-altitude porter (HAP), Summit Karakoram reports. Meanwhile, most of the members with Seven Summit Treks should be on their way to the top.

No-O2 climbers will wait

Those climbing without O2 are having to take things slowly.

“Never mind the people in a hurry, this will be a classic oxygenless climb for me, and I will take my time to acclimatize well,” Tunc Findic of Turkey posted yesterday. He is currently on a partial acclimatization round to Camps 2 and 3, with no summit attempt in mind so far.

Juan Pablo Toro of Argentina is also climbing without O2 or a HAP. He has spent two nights in Camp 2 and intended to reach Camp 3 but, since the route was not fixed, he descended. He believes he is acclimatized enough for a summit push. He aims to reach the top on July 5. However, Adriana Brownlee reported that worse weather is predicted between July 4 and July 6, so it’ll be interesting to see if Pablo Toro is getting the same information.
Camp 2 on Nanga Parbat, five tents sit along a thin snowy ridgeline high in the mountains.

Camp 2 on Nanga Parbat. Photo: Juan Pablo Toro

Notes from the Karakoram

Meanwhile, in the Karakoram, Mingma G has revealed that this is a shortage of porters. This is delaying some trekking and climbing plans. His Imagine Nepal team will climb K2 and Broad Peak with Sirbaz Khan, and then Nanga Parbat in August, with Lela Peaks’ Anwar Syed.

Denis Urubko is acclimatizing on Broad Peak. In a post yesterday, he mentioned that he had carried all his gear and food in a 25kg backpack, “as an experiment.”

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer 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 corporates, press manager and communication executive,and a published author.