Winter 8,000’er Update: Two Quit Nanga Parbat

Not a great time for Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard on Nanga Parbat: Apart from the poor weather, they’ve lost their two Pakistani climbing partners, Karim Hayat and Ramat Ullah Baig, who decided to abandon the expedition. Nardi and Ballard are currently in BC.

The K2 expeditions are also on weather hold. For a mutual cheer-up, Artem Braun of the Russian/Kazakh/Kyrgyz team and Nardi exchanged words of support via their press teams. “They’re tackling even harder conditions than we are,” said Braun.

“K2 is an extraordinary mountain … I do not dare imagine the difficulties awaiting the team on the Black Pyramid and the Bottleneck,” Nardi answered back, referring to K2’s most daunting sections. Nardi also wished Braun a speedy recovery from the pulmonary infection he is suffering from. “I am not at the top of my health, either,” Nardi admitted.

Braun has been using a Gamow bag to help shed the infection. “My warm sleeping bag is on the mountain, so I’m freezing in the tent [in a lesser bag], dressed in everything that I have,” said Braun. Less than optimal gear is one of the drawbacks of the shoestring budget the expedition followed to get to Pakistan. A number of ill team members have moved from their individual tents to the warmer mess tent, now turned into a sort of battle hospital.

Alex Txikon’s igloos are warmer and quieter than tents.

Alex Txikon is toastier in the tall igloos he built at K2 Base Camp. After fixing ropes up to Camp 2 in a fast push, the Basque climber is now waiting for good weather before continuing up to Camp 4. “In the last two expeditions on Everest, we set up ropes too early, and when good weather did not arrive, we wasted our energy re-equipping the track again and again after the strong storm,” he explained. “This time, we don’t want to hurry, we need to listen to the mountain.”