Tunc Findik Survived the 2013 Terrorist Attack at Nanga Parbat. Now He Returns to Finish his Quest

As Nepal’s season wraps up, climbers turn toward Pakistan; in particular, to Nanga Parbat. Within a couple of weeks, the “Naked Goddess” will attract both the multi-peak climbers and the familiar faces aiming just to climb that mountain.

Among these familiar faces, Tunc Findik of Turkey aims to summit the last peak on his 14×8,000m list. Findik has been climbing in the Himalaya for two decades. His first 8,000’er was Everest, which he climbed in 2001. He has noted the changes in recent years.

“Commercial operators have enlarged the market and made the high mountains available for everybody,” Findik said. “Even non-climbers, with enough oxygen, Sherpas, support, and encouragement, can climb 8,000’ers. It is not an extraordinary thing anymore.”

Tunc Findik prepares to climb Nanga Parbat in June.

A self-sufficient approach

Findic started climbing in the mountains of Turkey, then moved on to the Pamirs and Tien Shan. Back then, he didn’t even dream of the Himalaya. But he learned a lot about technical skills and performance in remote areas. “I learned to be an alpinist, a self-sufficient climber.”

It is no wonder that the first time he set foot in Everest Base Camp, he was shocked. “It was unbelievable,” he recalled. “Hundreds of tents, a thousand people. I came from solitary mountains in remote areas with no luxuries. This was more than surprising.”

Findink is a full-time climber, usually focused on multi-pitch rock and ice routes. “I actually like this more than the Himalayan 8,000’ers. There’s plenty to do in Turkey and Central Asia. You could open a new route every day and never stop.”

Rock climbing at home in Turkey.

 

Yet Findik still wants to finish his old 14×8,000m project, and Nanga Parbat is the last notch. “It’s a very personal achievement, that’s it. It has no importance really,” he says.

Bittersweet memories

Besides, he says, “I really want to climb Nanga Parbat. It is a very beautiful mountain in a very beautiful place. Whether I summit or not is not the essential part.”

He will leave for the familiar mountain in early June. This will be his third attempt on Nanga Parbat. On his first try in 2013, he narrowly survived the terrorist attack in Base Camp. Findik was in Camp 2 when a Taliban group executed 10 climbers. On his second attempt, this time with Alex Gavan, conditions were too risky, with frequent avalanches.

A lucky escape: Tunc Findik on Nanga Parbat in 2013.

 

Tunc Findik will follow his familiar strategy: He will go as an independent climber and join a bigger team to share the permit fees and Base Camp logistics. His outfitter is Seven Summit Treks.

“From Base Camp onward, I’ll be on my own,” he says. “I’ll carry my gear, pitch my own tent, and use no supplementary O2. But I definitely won’t be alone. We will surely follow the same schedule and try to reach the top during the same good weather window.”

If all goes well, Findik will end his 20-year project in the next few weeks. What next?

“I want to climb Everest without O2 next year,” he said. “And there is so much else to do in the Himalaya and in other ranges. New routes to open, mainly. So Nanga Parbat is not a start and not an ending.”

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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