Winter 8000’ers: K2 Climbers reach 7,000m, Nanga Parbat Castaways Wait, and Wait

The Russian/Kazakh/Kyrgyz team – aka the Eastern team — returned to K2 Base Camp today after fixing ropes up to the Black Pyramid, at approximately 7,000m. This super-steep section of mixed terrain is among the most relevant difficulties on the Abruzzi Spur route. The climbers, including leader Vassiliy Pivtsov, hope to fix up to Camp 3 during their next push. Back in Base Camp for now, they report being “very tired, very hungry and all OK.”


Eastern team leader Vassiliy Pivtsov. Photo: RussianClimb

Apparently, the expedition’s achievements have drawn new funding that has allowed three new Kazakh members, Ildar Gabbasov, Ahat Smailov and Amaner Temirbaev, to join. They flew into Skardu earlier today.

Pprogress by Vasiliy Pivtsov and team on winter k2 on February 9th, 2019

Progress by Pivtsov’s group on K2, as of February 9. Graph: RussianClimb

Meanwhile, Alex Txikon’s rival K2 team carried up to 96 kilograms of equipment, ropes and supplies up to Camp 1. That dunnage will eventually supply higher camps.

Nanga Parbat continues to stymie Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard. The short rock climbs and checker games in Base Camp continue, but against all odds, the pair haven’t given up their attempt on the Mummery Spur. Earlier today, 24 porters arrived with more supplies for weeks. Their expedition permits are valid until March 10, and they are ready to hold on till the end, waiting for suitable weather.

Less optimistic was Karim Hayat, who abandoned the expedition last week. In an recent interview with Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, he gave the expedition just a 30 percent chance of success.  “We have had tons of snow, and base camp alone was buried under two to two and a half metres of fresh snowfall,” he said. “There is continuous risk of seracs along the route selected by the expedition […] and avalanches on the mountain…”

Daniele nardi on winter Nanga Parbat base Camp, 4100 meters

Daniele Nardi plays a long-term strategy game with Nanga Parbat. Photo: Daniele Nardi/Facebook

“Maybe I made the mistake of playing too much on attack mode,” admits Daniele Nardi. “We rushed to set up C3 as fast as possible, but then the storm destroyed it, and left us shattered.” Now, he has opted for a defensive, resilient strategy. Tom Ballard continues to train while cooped in Base Camp, dry-tooling on nearby rock faces and, of course, shoveling snow.

“Spending most of our time in Base Camp means more time to tone those biceps,” writes Tom Ballard. Photo: Tom Ballard

Related stories:

Two Quit Nanga Parbat

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