Winter 8000’ers: K2 Teams Unite

Alex Txikon’s and Vassily Pivtsov’s teams have joined forces, thereby strengthening their chances of solving the so-called final problem of the winter 8000’ers: the first ascent of K2 at this time of year. They have agreed to share resources and tasks in BC and Camp 1. Very likely, the now fully international team from Spain, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan will also work together the rest of the way to the coveted summit.

Everyone met up in Skardu earlier this week and set off together on the trek to BC. Yesterday, they left Askole (3,040m) and expect to reach Base Camp in a week. According to Russian Artem Braun’s track, the climbers started crossing the Baltoro Glacier today.


Nanga Parbat

On Nanga Parbat, Daniele Nardi, Tom Ballard, Rahmat Ullah Baig and new team member Karim Haiat, also from Pakistan, reached C3. “The team is right below the [Mummery] Spur,” Nardi reported yesterday. “We’re going to sleep in a crevasse at 5,700m, the only possible place in the current high winds. It’s going to be a tough night, but otherwise we’re super-happy to have reached this point.”

Nardi emphasized that Baig and Haiat are not high-altitude porters but full team members and summit climbers, who want to tackle this winter challenge out of love for the mountains. They have already set up Camp 1 at 4,700, Camp 2 at 5,200m and Camp 3 at 5,714m. The Italian climber also remarked that his goal is not just Nanga Parbat, but specifically the yet-unclimbed Mummery Spur. “That is my dream,” he explained. “Then, if I manage to open a new route along it, of course I’ll try to reach the summit.”

Climbing on the lower slopes of winter Nanga Parbat

Tom Ballard on the lower sections of Nanga Parbat. Photo: Daniele Nardi



In Nepal, Simone Moro and Pemba Gelje Sherpa are currently based in Khare, acclimatizing for Manaslu. Last weekend, as part of their training, they summited Mera Peak (6,476 m) in bitter cold and strong winds. The original plan was to overnight on the summit for better acclimatization, but temperatures were too cold, so they promptly descended.

Simone Moro (left) and Pemba Gelje Sherpa facing the wind on Mera Peak summit, before attempting winter Manaslu

Simone Moro (left) and Pemba Gelje Sherpa endure a stiff wind on the summit of Mera Peak.

Yesterday, the two climbers ventured back up and reached 5,800m in fierce winds and whiteout conditions, as shown in the video they later posted on FaceBook. Predicted winds for the next few days are a formidable 130 kph.

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Tom Ballard Reaches Camp 1 on Nanga Parbat