Showing posts with label Nanga Parbat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nanga Parbat. Show all posts

No Major Winter Climbing Expeditions This Year?

Now that the fall climbing season in the Himalaya is done, we would typically turn our attention to the winter climbing season that would usually get underway near the end of December. But, it appears that there won't be any major expeditions to the big mountains this year as numerous teams take a break and look forward to next year.

According to a blog post by German adventure sports journalist Stefan Nestler, two of the more prominent names in winter mountaineering are staying home for sure this year. Polish climber Tomek Mackiewicz has been a staple on Nanga Parbat the last six years, but he won't be going this winter. He says that he couldn't raise the funds necessary to launch the expedition, which was probably made all the more difficult considering Italian climber Simone Moro, along with Basque mountaineer Alex Txikon, and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara”, put up the first winter ascent of that mountain last February. They were accompanied on that expedition by Tamara Lunger, who was forced to turn back due to illness. Lunger says she'll pass on a winter ascent this year as well as she focuses on getting her helicopter pilots license instead. Next year, she hope to attempt Everest in winter however.

As of now, there are no expeditions announced for any of the Himalaya or Karakoram peaks. That could obviously change, as a lot of climbers keep their plans close to the vest until they're ready to set out. But now that K2 is the last remaining 8000-meter peak that has not been climbed during the winter months, it seems most have decided to stay home. K2 is treacherous enough under the best of conditions, but is even more deadly in the winter. That said, there are already some teams gearing up for a winter expedition to that peak as well, it is just a matter of when they will go.

Nestler reports that Indian climber Arjun Vajpai has announced that he'll make a winter ascent of a 7000-meter peak in his home country, but he hasn't said which one just yet. The 23-year old mountaineer has already summited five 8000-meter peaks, and appears to have a promising career ahead. How he does on a winter climb should be interesting to follow.

While at the moment it doesn't appear that we'll have any big winter climbs this season, that doesn't mean that there won't be interesting expeditions to keep an eye on. Last year, Moro and Lunger didn't go to Nanga Part until well into January, and we could see something similar this season. Perhaps we'll have a few expeditions pop up on the radar as the winter gets rolling along. But if not, 2017 is already shaping up to be a promising one for winter mountaineering.

Karakoram Summer 2016: The Final Summit Score of the Season

When last we checked in with the summer climbing season in the Karakoram there was team still working hard to complete their climb. That team consisted of Czech climbers Marek Holecek and Ondra Mandula, who were hoping to summit Gasherbrum I along a new route. But poor weather conditions stranded the two men high on the mountain, leaving them waiting for days for a chance to either move up or down. Ultimately they would have to abandon their attempt, which they finally did last week, officially bringing the curtain down on the 2016 season. 

Now that everyone has left Pakistan for home, we can step back and take a look at how things actually went this year. As usual in the Karakoram, there were some triumphs and some disappointments, but thankfully there were no tragedies. 

ExWeb has posted a post-mortem for the climbing season that just wrapped up, providing some insights into everything that went down over the past few months. One of the highlights of the summer was the return of climbers to Nanga Parbat after three years of no teams attempting that mountain. Climbers have mostly steered clear of Nanga since the 2013 attack in Base Camp by a group of terrorists that left 10 people dead. But this year they started to return at last, and three people actually managed to summit.

Over on K2 it was another frustrating season, which is typical of the world's second tallest mountain. Weather often dictates when climbers can go up or down on K2, and this year was no different in that regard. But the real difficult came when a major avalanche destroyed Camp 3 on the mountain, wiping away a large cache of oxygen bottles with it. That left most of the teams no choice but to call it a day and head home. So, while 2016 will be remembered as a year that commercial climbing on K2 increased dramatically. In fact, there were more than 100 climbers on the mountain this year. But in the end the results were typical for the "Savage Mountain" – zero summits on what most believe to be the toughest 8000 meter peak to climb. 

In the end, there were only a handful of summits for the entire season. In fact, ExWeb says there were a total of 21. The final tale of the tape indicates that Gasherbrum I and II each had 8 summits, while Nanga Parbat had 3 and Broad Peak had 2. Those numbers are fairly typical for the Karakoram, where the climbing is always difficult, although on occasion we'll have some surprisingly successful years such as 2013 on K2 when more than 40 people reached the top. 

Now, with the Karakoram season all wrapped up, our attention will turn towards the Himalaya where the fall climbing season is now getting underway. There will be a couple of attempts on Everest from the North Side in Tibet, but for the most part it looks like a typical year there as well. Many climbers will be attempting Manaslu in the days ahead, with a few expeditions heading to Lhotse, Dhaulagiri, and a few sub-8000 meter peaks too.

Stay tuned in the days ahead, as we'll be keeping a close eye on those expeditions as they unfold. 

Karakoram 2016: Summits on Nanga Parbat, It's Over on K2

More news from Pakistan today, where we learn that teams are continuing to make summit pushes on several mountains, while operations have indeed come to an end on K2 following the massive avalanche that hit that mountain over the weekend. As usual, the summer climbing season in the Karakoram remains as topsy-turvy and unpredictable as always.

We'll start with an update from Nanga Parbat, where ExWeb is reporting that Ferran Latorre, Helias Millerioux, and Boyan Petrov set off on a summit push yesterday, successfully topping out at 3:30 PM local time. The entire team returned to Camp 4 later that evening, and are now making their way back down the mountain today. For Latorre, this is his 13th 8000-meter peak, all of which have been summited without the use of supplemental oxygen.

It now appears that this may be the only successful climb on Nanga this year however, as most of the other teams are now preparing to head home. ExWeb says that the route just below the Kinshofer Wall is especially unsafe, discouraging any other climbers from proceeding upwards. It looks like Base Camp will be all but abandoned by this coming weekend.

Yesterday we reported that all commercial teams were also departing from K2 after a large avalanche wiped out Camp 3 over the weekend, destroying all of the tents erected there, while also sweeping away the fixed ropes and a cache of oxygen bottles. At the time, there were some independent climbers who were hoping to regroup and make another attempt on the summit sometime next week. Apparently, those climbers have now changed their mind, and will also be leaving BC over the next few days, making it now two years in a row without a single summit on K2.

Over on Broad Peak, poor weather has turned back the latest summit attempt by Spaniard Oscar Cadiach, but his work on the mountain is far from over. After descending yesterday to escape the conditions, Cadiach has now headed back up the mountain and is reportedly in Camp 3 and waiting for a chance to go higher. If he successfully climbs BP, this will be his 14th and final 8000-meter peak, all climbed without supplemental O's.

Finally, on both Gasherbrum I and II, current summit bids have been turned back due to poor weather. Teams are starting to leave those two mountains as well, although ExWeb says there are other climbers who are in Base Camp and waiting for their attempts on the mountain. While summit bids are certainly not imminent, there will be more attempts coming in the days ahead.

That's it for now. More to come soon.

Karakoram 2016: Avalanche Ends Season on K2, Summit Pushes Begin Elsewhere

I'm back from the wilds of Mongolia and am catching up on all the news from the world of outdoor adventure that took place while I was away. One of the big stories we had been following before my departure was the unfolding of the climbing season in the Karakoram and Western Himalaya. When I left, the teams were still getting settled into Base Camp, and were beginning their first acclimatization rotations. Now, a few weeks later, the situation is very different, with climbing operations coming to an end on one mountain, while the final summit pushes are underway on others.

The big news from this past weekend is that a massive avalanche on K2 has brought an end to the season on the world's second tallest mountain. The avalanche hit Camp 3 on Saturday morning, destroying the tents that were built there, while also washing away the fixed ropes and cache of bottled oxygen that was put in place for upcoming summit bids. Fortunately, no one was in C3 at the time, although there were several teams in Camp 2 and other points on the mountain. All have retreated back to BC due to bad weather conditions.

Now, it seems the teams have decided that the mountain is too unsafe to climb this year, and it appears that most are packing their bags to go home. The avalanche wiped out a lot of hard work to fix ropes and establish C3. With time starting to run short, poor weather a common occurrence, and a lack of bottled oxygen, it now seems like the season is over, at least for the major commercial teams. There are a few independent climbers who are hoping to rally the troops and have another go at the mountain however. They are currently eyeing an early-August attempt, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, ExWeb is reporting that the final summit pushes are now underway on Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak. Fern Latorre, Helias Millerioux, Boyan Petrov are all pushing to the top of NP today, while Spaniard Oscar Cadiach and his team are hoping to top out on BP. ExWeb says that if Cadiach is successful, this will be his 14th and final 8000 meter peak for his resume, all of which have been climbed without the use of bottled oxygen.

Finally, over on Gatherbrum II, a Polish team has been struggling with poor weather all season. They had hoped to reach the top early this week, but deteriorating conditions on that mountain were enough to keep them confined to their tents over the weekend. There are no updates on their progress at this time, but hopefully we'll know more soon.

That's it from Pakistan for today. I'll continue to keep an eye on the mountains for further updates. The season is rapidly coming to close once again, but there are still a few stories to come I'm sure.

Karakoram Summer 2016: Teams Arrive in Base Camp, Moving Up Soon

When let we checked in on the teams looking to climb in the high mountains of Pakistan this summer they were mostly still gathering in Islamabad and preparing to fly out to Skardu to begin their journey to the various Base Camps spread out across the region. Now, more than a week later, those teams are now settling into BC and preparing to go higher.

Madison Mountaineering has checked in from K2, where the team has reportedly settled into Base Camp and is now preparing for its first rotation up the mountain. The weather is reportedly very good at the moment, and the Sherpa teams are already busy establishing ABC further up the mountain. The forecast looks good into this week, so it looks like the team will be on the move for a few days to take advantage of the situation. 

Similarly, the international team led by Vanessa O'Brien arrived in BC late last week. They've spent the weekend getting settled on the mountain and will likely be taking advantage of the current weather window to start their acclimatization as well. 

The Kobler & Partner expedition team also arrived in Base Camp last Thursday. That squad, which is made of very experienced 8000-meter climbers – quickly went to work getting settled as well, and are now looking upwards towards ABC and their first rotation up the mountain. 

Over on Broad Peak, the Mountain Professionals team has already finished their work to get settled and have now begun their first acclimation rotations as well. They're headed up to Camp 1 today where they'll spend two nights to allow their bodies to start to get use to the altitude. As of now, they are the only team on the mountain, although they have noted the steady stream of climbers making their way to BC on K2. It is unclear if any other teams will come to Broad Peak, so as a safety precaution the guides have ordered more rope and other climbing gear from Skardu just in case they have to go it alone. 

Finally, on Nanga Parbat the teams have started to gather as well. Spaniards Fernando Fernandez Vivancos and Jose Saldana Rodriguez have been on the mountain for several weeks now, and have had a good start to their acclimatization process. Other groups are still trickling in however, and will officially begin their climbs soon. 

The Karakoram climbing season is now officially underway, and over the next 4-6 weeks we'll be watching events unfold in the mountains of Pakistan. It looks like it will be one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory, with more teams on K2 than ever before. How that impacts the climb remains to be seen, but the notoriously difficult peak won't give up its summit easily. It should be fun to watch how things unfold. 

Karakoram 2016: K2 Ramps Up, Nanga Parbat Reopens

The spring Himalayan climbing season is over, and the teams of climbers that made it one of the most successful in recent memory have departed Nepal for home. Now, the mountaineering world turns its attention to the Karakoram, as climbers descend on Pakistan to attempt K2, Nanga Parbat, and other major mountains in the region. That summer season is now starting to ramp up, with a significant amount of attention now focused squarely on the second tallest mountain in the world.

According to ExWeb, there will be 33 teams of various sizes operating in Pakistan this summer. They'll be focused not just on K2, but also the Gasherbrums, Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat, and a host of other mountains that are not a part of the 8000-meter club. That will make this one of the busiest seasons in the Karakoram and western Himalaya as well, with some significant expeditions planned.

But it is the continued commercialization of K2 that is receiving a good deal of attention. ExWeb estimates that more than 100 climbers will attempt the "mountaineer's mountain" this summer, which is a larger number than has been seen in the past. Most are a part of a commercial team with Madison Mountaineering, Kobler & Partner, and Seven Summits Treks leading the way.

100 climbers on K2 is a significant number to say the least. While that isn't anywhere close to the number of alpinists on Everest (550+ are said to have summited this year alone), it is a lot of people on a mountain that is widely considered to be the hardest and most dangerous climb on Earth. It is most definitely not a mountain that you want to be caught in a traffic jam on, but that could be a real possibility with this many people making the attempt. Hopefully everyone will stay safe throughout the season.

Meanwhile, over on Nanga Parbat the mountain is opening up again after seeing no summits since 2013. That's when a group of armed gunmen attacked the camp, killing 11 people. Since then, no summer permits have been issued for the mountain, but that will change this year. A couple of small teams are headed to NP with the hope of demonstrating that it is safe to climb, and ready to begin welcoming mountaineers back to its challenging face.

At the moment, these teams are mostly still en route to their various Base Camps or still planning to set out for Pakistan. But things will start to pick up soon. It should be a very interesting season to watch unfold, with K2 remaining the crown jewel. Expect numerous updates on the progress of teams in the weeks ahead.

Winter Climbs 2016: International Team Completes First Winter Ascent of Nanga Parbat!

Mountaineering history has been made in Pakistan today, where climbers have completed the first winter ascent of the 8126 meter (26,660 ft) Nanga Parbat. Their efforts come after years of perseverance and determination by countless climbers who had hoped to tame the mountain in the most dangerous and difficult season of them all. 

There aren't a lot of details on the final stage of the climb, but we do know that the team set out in the early hours of the morning to make their final push to the summit. According to reports, Alex Tkikon, Ali Sadpara, and Simone Moro reached the summit at 3:37 PM local time. The fourth member of the team – Tamura Lunger – stopped short of the top for some reason, although we're not exactly sure why as of yet. 

The team launched this summit bid on Monday this week, climbing up to Camp 2 in a single push. They were then forced to hold there for a day due to very high winds, but those gusts died down on Tuesday, allowing them to move up to C3 on Wednesday and C4 yesterday. That put them in a position to take advantage of a good weather window, and make the final ascent to the top today. They have now descended back to Camp 4 at 7200 meters (23,622 ft) and will spend the night there before returning to Base Camp tomorrow.

With the first winter ascent now complete on Nanga Parbat there is just one other 8000 meter peak that remains unclimbed during that season. That mountain would be K2, perhaps the toughest and most unforgiving of them all. K2 is incredibly difficult during the best of conditions, and in the winter it turns especially dangerous. No one has really come all that close to completing that climb during winter, although there have been numerous deaths in the attempt. It seems likely that K2 will become the focus of winter climbing in the years ahead, but it could be some time before anyone actually is successful in that effort. 

Congratulations to Alex, Ali, and Simone for reaching the summit, and Tamara for playing an integral role in getting them there. Get down safe. 

Winter Climbs 2016: Summit Push Continues on Nanga Parbat as Team Reaches Camp 4

More news from Nanga Parbat today, where the international team of Alex Tkikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamura Lunger are in the middle of what could be a historic summit push. Yesterday we reported that they had reached Camp 3 on the mountain after waiting out high winds in C2 the day before. Today come word that the group has continued upward on schedule, and have now reached Camp 4 at 7100 meters (23,293 ft). This sets up a potential final summit push possibly as early as tomorrow.

All four members of the team have now spent weeks on Nanga Parbat, which is one of just two 8000-meter peaks that remain unclimbed during the winter season. There has been some doubt as to whether or not they were acclimatized enough to successfully go up to such a high altitude, but so far the four members of the squad seem to be moving efficiently despite the thin air.

If all goes according to plan, and the weather continues to hold, the team could attempt to reach the summit as early as tomorrow. They appear to be currently planning to do just that, having set up camp at a point that would give them a chance to have a go at the top following a very long day of climbing. It appears as if conditions are as good as they have been all year, which means we could see history made this weekend.

For now, we'll just have to wait and watch to see if this talented team can actually succeed where so many others have failed. There is still a long way to go before they top out, and we all know that the weather can change quickly. But there is cautious optimism surroundings this current summit push, which could very well be the final one of this winter season.

I'll post updates as we get them. Stay tuned for more soon.

Winter Climbs 2016: Nanga Parbat Team Reaches Camp 3

If you've been following the unfolding climbing season on Nanga Parbat you already know that the lone remaining team on that mountain has launched a summit bid. A weather window is expected to open over the next couple of days, and the four climbers are now moving up with the hopes of taking advantage of an opportunity to reach the summit at long last.

On Monday of this week, Alex Tkikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamura Lunger set off from Base Camp for Camp 2, located at 6100 meters (20,013 ft). They had no trouble reaching that point later in the day, but as ExWeb reports, they were unable to go higher yesterday. High winds hit the mountain yesterday, keeping the team pinned down in C2. At times, it looked like they might have to scrub their summit bid altogether, but thankfully the winds quieted down later in the day, allowing them to continue upwards today.

With a quieter day today, the four teammates were able to climb up to Camp 3 without incident and are now firmly encamped there at 6700 meters (21,981 ft). The latest forecast says conditions are calm and beautiful at the moment, with favorable conditions expected to last into the weekend.

When Alex and Ali climbed to C3 a few weeks back they had determined that fixed ropes were not needed above that point. That means they could conceivably move faster on the higher flanks of the mountain, as not much snow has fallen at those altitudes in recent days.

If all goes according to plan, the team should move up to Camp 4 at 7100 meters (23,293 ft) tomorrow. Once there, they'll evaluate the current weather window, their physical condition, and other variables before deciding what will happen next. If everything is going as expected, they'll then proceed towards the summit.

We'll continue to watch this story develop over the next few days and keep our fingers crossed that everyone gets up and down safely, summit or not.

Winter Climbs 2016: Summit Push Begins on Nanga Parbat

It seems that the time is now no Nagna Parbat, one of two 8000 meter peaks that remain unclimbed during the winter season. A team of international climbers that joined forces a few weeks back, and have remained patient over the past two months, has now launched a summit bid as a weather window is expected to open later this week.

Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger left Base Camp earlier today and are now in Camp 2 at 6100 meters (20,013 ft) on the Kinshofer route. The team has previously fixed ropes up to Camp 3 at 6700 meters (21,981 ft), and had determined that further rope-fixing would not be necessary from that point on. Whether or not those conditions have changed over the past few weeks, when high winds buffeted the mountain, and heavy snow fell at times, remains to be seen.

Later in the week, a small but – but very stable – weather window is expected to open, giving the team a chance to potentially reach the summit in just a few days time. It seems that conditions aren't likely to get any better than they will at the end of this week, and the climbers are now getting themselves into position to take advantage of the shift in weather.

The biggest challenge that they'll have to overcome will be the high altitude. Alex and Ali have been as high as 6700 meters as part of their acclimatization, but that was weeks ago. Likewise, Simone and Tamara have been up to 6100 meters, but not much beyond that. How that will impact their ability to climb higher will be a key element of their success or failure.

I'll be keeping a close eye on their progress over the next few days. It is possible we could see history made later in the week. The weather and route should be in the best shape of the season, which means it could be now or never. With just a month to go until the arrival of spring, there may not be a better chance in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed for these four climbers to get up and down safely, summit or not.

Meanwhile, ExWeb is reporting that Cleo Weidlich has probably left the mountain. She was a late arrival, showing up at the end of January with 5 Nepali sherpas, just as the weather took a turn for the worse. While she shared few details of the expedition, it seems unlikely that she was ever able to get much higher than BC.

If Cleo has indeed left, that means that Alex, Ali, Simone, and Tamara are the only climbers still on Nanga Parbat. If it is going to be climbed this winter, it'll have to be by them.

Good luck to the climbers as they set off on a potentially historic summit bid.

Winter Climbs 2016: Nanga Parbat Climbers Reach Camp 2

It has been a really long and difficult couple of weeks on Nanga Parbat. The teams who are hoping to complete the first winter ascent of that mountain have mostly found themselves confined to Base Camp while waiting out the weather. While things haven't improved completely, conditions have gotten a bit better, with reports indicating that at least one team is on the move again, and taking advantage of the conditions that the mountain is affording them.

The international team of Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger have reportedly managed to climb back up to Camp 2 at 6100 meters (20,013 ft) in an effort to resume their acclimatization efforts. The group had turned back on a couple of previous attempts to climb above Camp 1 due to high winds, but were able to push through yesterday. If the current weather window holds, they hope to move up to C3 tomorrow.

After sitting in BC for a couple of weeks, the current rotation not only helps with their acclimatization, but is also giving the team a chance to review the conditions on the route, which have been covered in snow and ice in recent days. If the four climbers do get a chance to make an eventual summit bid, they now have a better understand of what they'll face on the way up.

Meanwhile, there is news from elsewhere on the mountain. Earlier in the week I posted that Polish climber Tomek Mackiewicz was on his way back to Base Camp to continue his attempt to climb Nanga Parbat. You may recall that Tomek made a summit push with teammate Elisabeth Revol back in January, but after their bid came up short, the two left the mountain. While Revol returned to France as expected, Tomek hung around in Pakistan and was looking for an opportunity to give the mountain another go. It looks like that won't happen now however, with the Pole turning back once again.

According to ExWeb, Tomek was trekking back to BC and may have reached the huts in Kutgali, which are just a two-hour walk from Base Camp. But, it seems that he won't go any further, and has more than likely turned back and will now head home for good. This makes perfect sense considering his climbing permit is set to expire early next week.

Finally, there continues to be no updates from Cleo Weidlich, but ExWeb is also reporting that unofficial sources say that two members of her team have left the mountain as well. Weidlich reportedly acclimatized in Nepal before leaving for Pakistan, and was climbing with a team of five Sherpas. There is no indication of whether or not she has actually been able to move up the mountain, or the status of the team beyond this basic information.

That's it for now. I'll keep you posted as the season continues to unfold.

Winter Climbs 2016: Comings and Goings on Nanga Parbat

There has been little movement on Nanga Parbat since I wrote my last update at the beginning of last week. The teams are still mostly stuck in Base Camp where they are waiting for the weather to improve. With such a long delay, they may even have to acclimatize again before attempting the summit, although it remains to be seen if they will even get the chance. With five weeks to go in the season, time is starting to run short, particularly since the weather has been brutal for a few weeks now. But, the climbers that are on the mountain remain firmly in place, and are waiting for the opportunity to move up should the chance present itself.

Despite the fact that there has been little movement since the start of the month, there is still news to report however. For example, Italian climber Daniele Nardi has now departed BC following his much publicized dispute with teammate Alex Txikon. The two had a falling out over the logistics of their expedition, and as a result Nardi has now gone home. Meanwhile, Txikon has stayed behind and is working with Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger to continue working towards achieving the first winter ascent of the mountain.

While one climber has left, another is planning his return. Polish mountaineer Tomek Mackiewicz made an early season attempt on the mountain with Elisabeth Revol, but the two abandoned their efforts at the end of January. Revol has gone back to France, but Tomek has remained in Pakistan, and has been finding it difficult to get out due to an ongoing strike there. So, rather than head home, he has decided to go back to Nanga Parbat instead. He is still sorting out the details of his return, but he may already be back in BC and planning his next summit bid.

Finally, Brazilian-born American climber Cleo Weidlich is reportedly still on the Rupal Face although there has been no update on her progress. She is climbing with a group of Nepalese Sherpas, but it is unclear whether or not they have gone higher than Base Camp as of yet, although it seems likely that weather conditions are keeping them grounded too.

More news as it comes.

Winter Climbs 2016: Soap Opera Continues on Nanga Parbat as International Team Breaks Down Again

There still isn't a lot of news to report from Nanga Parbat. The weather remains awful, and as a result the remaining teams are stuck in Base Camp, waiting for an opportunity to go up. Over the weekend, 15 cm (6 inches) of new snow fell on the mountain, which only adds to the recent accumulations that will make breaking trail challenging once again.

But the ongoing saga of the dispute between Alex Txikon and Daniele Nardi seems to have taken another turn. First, we heard that a rift had come between the two men, and that they would no longer be working together on the attempt to complete the first winter ascent of the mountain. Then, a few days later, we were told that the entire story was blown out of proportion, and that they were continuing to work together. Now comes word once again that Alex and Daniele have gone their separate ways, and it seems that there is bad blood indeed.

Stefan Nestler has been watching the events on Nanga Parbat play out all season long, and posting updates to his Adventure Sports Blog. Over the weekend he shared yet more news from the mountain, not the least of which was a quote from Alex that said “Although tried to give more than one chance to this cooperation, it was finally impossible," indicating that he and Daniele have indeed split.

We know that Txikon and his partner Ali Sadapara are continuing to work with Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger. What Nardi's plans are remain unclear at this time, but as far as I can tell at this point, he is still in BC and possibly planning to make a solo attempt on the summit. We'll just have to wait to see how that unfolds.

Meanwhile, in that same blog post, Nestler shared an interview with Lunger who talks about what the team is doing in Base Camp to stay fit and ready to make a summit push. She also touches on trying to stay patient, why her and Simone's plans have changed, and the conditions they expect to see along the route to the summit.

Lunger is also asked about the rift between Alex and Daniele and simply says "I am, or rather, those who are still here are suffering from these disagreements. A particular person has played a dirty game and now has to live with the consequences."

So, while there has been no progress made towards the summit of the mountain, it seems safe to say that there is plenty of drama taking place. Hopefully the four-some that remain working together will get a chance to summit yet this year. For now though, they continue to play the waiting game in BC.

Winter Climbs 2016: No Rift On Nanga Parbat International Team After All?

We have a new chapter in the emerging soap opera on Nanga Parbat. Yesterday, I posted an update from the mountain with news that one of the teams was having an internal dispute that had caused them to break apart. But today, comes word that those reports may have been premature, and that everything may be going according to plan.

Citing an update from ExWeb, I shared the news that Alex Txikon and Daniele Nardi were having disagreements over how to proceed on their attempt to make the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat. The report indicated that a rift had grown between the two climbers, and that Nardi was leaving the expedition. Apparently, that news was either completely false, or way overblown, as Daniele has responded to the news.

According to Stefan Nestler's Adventure Sports Blog, Nardi has denied that there is any problem between him and Txikon, and that they are continuing to find ways to overcome the challenges they are facing on the mountain. Daniele says that he and Alex have cooperated on multiple expeditions in the past, and things between them remain good. He is quoted as saying “This year, I have considered him to be more than just a partner”, said Nardi. “We will find the best solution.”

It's good to hear that the relationship is intact and that they are proceeding as a team. If they hope to summit this monster, they'll need all of their considerable talents working together.

Meanwhile, Simone Moro shared a video of a massive avalanche coming down the Diamir Face on Nanga Parbat today. Check it out below for an idea of what these teams are facing.

Winter Climbs 2016: Internal Turmoil for International Team on Nanga Parbat

There still isn't a lot of news to report from Nanga Parbat, where weather conditions have deteriorated to the point that all the climbers are now stuck int heir respective Base Camps waiting for a summit window to open. It is unclear as to when that will happen at this point, but for now everyone sits and waits.

That said, it seems that the weather isn't the only thing has deteriorated in recent days. ExWeb is reporting that a rift has grown between Alex Txikon and Daniele Nardi, causing their team to splinter.  Alex will continue to work with Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger, but it is unclear what Daniele's plans entail at this point. It is highly likely that he is headed home, but that has not been announced just yet.

The two climbers apparently had regular disagreements as to how to proceed with the expedition, and it appears there was even a lot of tension around behavior while in Base Camp. The friction between the two became too great to continue working together, which resulted in the parting of ways.

Meanwhile, a few days back Alex and Ali attempted to climb up to Camp 1 in order to clear the route from the heavy snow that had fallen. Alex feel through the snow and found himself almost completely buried and was having a difficult time even breathing. Fortunately, his friend was able to dig him out, and both men descended back to BC as a result.

A few days later, they were joined be Simone and Tamara when they made a successful push back up to Camp 1. The team carried some supplies to that point, and were able to fully reopen the route. Alex and Ali took the opportunity to scout the situation above that point and saw that they weather had altered the route considerably .They will likely have to do some serious work to get it ready for another summit push.

That's it for now. Hopefully we'll see the weather improve soon, giving them a chance to move up. But at the moment, the waiting game continues.

Winter Climbs 2016: Playing the Waiting Game on Nanga Parbat

The winter season has arrived in full force on Nanga Parbat, where a handful of teams are still hoping to complete the first winter ascent of that mountain. Unfortunately, their chances don't look good over the next few days, as a massive storm has arrived in the region bringing high winds, extremely cold temperatures, and plenty of snow with it. So for now, the climbers are all stuck in Base Camp, waiting for a weather window open. That isn't expected to happen for another few days at the earliest, but after that another summit push could potentially begin.

Perhaps the biggest news from the mountain is that the Polish Justice For All team has left the Rupal Face and are heading for home. The squad was the first to arrive on Nanga this winter, and had been making steady progress, even reaching as high as 7500 meters (24,606 ft). But upon descending, they team realized that they were running low on essential supplies, and that their time was getting short. With bad weather in the forecast, they knew they wouldn't get another chance, so they elected to leave BC last week.

The Rupal Face hasn't been completely abandoned however, as just as the Poles were departing, another climber arrived. Brazil-born, U.S. citizen Cleo Weidlich reached Base Camp late last week, bringing three Nepali Sherpas along with her. She's hoping to become the first to stand on the summit of Nanga Parbat in winter, but will be doing so in a light and fast fashion. Reportedly, she acclimatized in Nepal before heading to Pakistan, but her late arrival puts the potential for success in question.

Over on the Kinshofer Route, two strong teams have now officially joined forces. A five-person group consisting of Alex Txikon, Daniele Nardi, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger are cooperating with one another in an attempt to reach the top. For now though, they are all huddled together in BC, waiting for the weather to clear. Alex, Daniele, and Ali are acclimated and ready to go, although Simone and Tamara may need a bit more time at altitude before they are ready.

For now, each of the teams is sitting, waiting, and watching the weather. The forecasts calls for conditions to remain mostly unchanged until the weekend, but after that things are a bit murky. As you can imagine, conditions have to be right to climb Nanga Parbat during the summer, let alone the harsh winter season. And as of right now, it looks like the first winter ascent is as far off as it has ever been.

Video: An Expedition to Nanga Parbat with Simone Moro and David Göttler

In the winter of 2014, alpinists Simone Moro and David Göttler traveled to Pakistan to attempt the first ascent of Nanga Parbat in the winter. They failed in completing that objective, which is why we are closely following the teams that are on that mountain once again this year. To give you a better idea of what an expedition of this kind is like, check out the video below. It follows Simone and David throughout the course of their journey, giving us a glimpse of the conditions that climbers face on this incredibly difficult peak. After watching it, you'll understand why Nanga and K2 remain the only 8000 meters peaks that have yet to be climbed in winter.

Winter Climbs 2016: Nanga Parbat Teams Prep For Blizzard

What a difference a week can make. Last week at this time, several teams on Nanga Parbat were working to put themselves in a position to make a summit push. A weather window had opened on the mountain, and a couple of the teams were hoping that they could take advantage of the situation to complete the first ascent of that mountain. Now, just a few days later, the climbers who remain are back in Base Camp and waiting out a massive storm that promises to drop heavy snows and high winds on their positions.

In preparation for the arrival of the storm, Alex Txikon and Ali Sadpara went out in the bad weather to place bamboo poles along their route from BC to the moraine that leads up the slope. They are predicting that heavy snow will fall in that area in particular, and the poles will help them find their way once the storm clears, avoiding potential hazards that include some large crevasses. The duo, working in conjunction with Daniele Nardi, have fixed their ropes up to 6700 meters (21,981 ft), and have fully acclimatized, so now they are simply waiting for the weather to clear up before launching a summit bid of their own. When that could happen is anyone's guess at this point however, as the weather looks bleak for the next few days at the least.

Meanwhile, ExWeb is reporting that Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger may be changing up their plans. The two climbers have been on the mountain for a month now, and have managed to establish C2, but have struggled to get any higher on their chosen route. In order to acclimatize before a summit push, they need to establish more camps and spend some time at altitude. According to reports, Moro and Lunger have retrieved the gear that they had cached on the mountain, and are now rethinking their strategy. They are not prepared to go home just yet, but are possibly exploring other routes. Considering they are sharing BC with Alex, Ali, and Daniele, perhaps the five climbers will join forces and work together. (Update: that appears to be exactly what they'll be doing!)

Over on the Rupal Face, the Polish Justice For All team is back in Base Camp and taking a breather. They've managed to climb as high as 7500 meters (24,606 ft), but it is now unclear what their plans are. At one point, the team had said that it was prepared to stay through the entire winter, but ExWeb says that they could be planning to pullout and head for home – and Stefan Nestler agrees – as some of the members of the team are running low on time. The squad hasn't said this is the case just yet however, so we'll have to wait to see if they are indeed wrapping things up.

There is apparently a late newcomer to the mountain however, as reports indicate that American climber – by way of Brazil – Cleo Weidlich has arrived on Nanga Parbat with a support team. She's looking to have a go at the first winter ascent too, although starting this late in the season seems like quite a risk. She is in BC on the Rupal Face, and will begin her acclimatization efforts once the weather clears as well.

That's it for now, but I'll have more news from the mountain when there is anything to report.

Winter Climbs 2016: Summit Bid Denied, Another Team Departs Nanga Parbat

Heading into this past weekend we were keeping a close eye on the proceedings on Nanga Parbat, where the first summit bid of the winter was underway. Climbers Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz were on a light and fast attempt to become the first team to complete a winter ascent of that mountain, and when we last checked in they were at 7400 meters (24,278 ft). But as we all know, nothing is certain on an 8000 meter peak, and according to ExWeb the duo turned back and are now preparing to leave the mountain altogether.

According to reports, Elisabeth and Tomek never climbed any higher than the 7400-7500 meter mark that we tracked them at last Friday. At that point, they determined that while the weather conditions were stable, the temperatures were simply too cold to push any higher. So, they decided that the best course of action was to spend the night at 7200 meters (23,622 ft) and then descend back to Base Camp the following day.

Once they arrived back in BC on Saturday, they shared the news that they would be leaving the mountain. The duo are now short on time and resources, and were expecting to return to Chilas – a nearby village – yesterday or today. From there, they'll begin the trek out and start the long journey home. For Tomek, this is the end of his sixth winter attempt on Nanga, and it was the third for Elisabeth.

Meanwhile, the trio of Alex Txikon, Daniele Nardi, and Ali Sadpara have pressed forward with their efforts. Over the weekend they completed fixing ropes up to Camp 3, which located at 6700 meters (21,981 ft). They also cached some gear and supplies there before returning to C2 for an overnight stay and dropping back down to BC the following day. They now have their route in place and are ready for a summit bid of their own, but they are waiting for a good weather window to make the attempt.

In his most recent update, Alex says that if conditions remain the same they won't need to fix any ropes above C3. The three men now believe they have completed the most complex and challenging section of the climb, and simply have to wait for good weather to have a go at the top. Currently the conditions include high winds and cold temperatures, which is keeping them in BC. They are hoping that only a minimal amount of snowfall will hit the mountain before they get the chance to launch a summit bid however, as more snow would cause them to have to reopen certain sections of the route, potentially burning important resources and energy.

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are reportedly still in BC after they went up the mountain last week. The last update we had on their progress indicated that they had descended and were planning on resting for a few days and watching the weather. It is unclear whether or not they are now ready for a summit push too, but it would seem that they should be close at this point. Again, it will be the weather that determines when they can go back up.

Finally, the Polish Justice For All team has now reached 7500 meters (24,606 ft) and have set up Camp 4 at that point on the mountain. They're all back in Base Camp at the moment awaiting a weather window of their own. They are prepared to stay on the mountain as long as possible, so patience is the key to success for this team.

If you'd like to catch a glimpse of what it was like for them on the hill, check out the video below. It was shot on their most recent slog up the mountain, and has some scenes that give us an indication of what it like there. In a word – cold!

Nanga Dream 15/16 Justice for All! from Michał Obrycki on Vimeo.

Winter Climbs 2016: Summit Push Underway on Nanga Parbat

The weather conditions on Nanga Parbat seem surprisingly good for this time of year. That has given hope to the four remaining teams hoping to complete the first winter ascent of that mountain. While nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to high altitude mountaineering, there is a weather window that is currently open and is expected to last into the weekend, and with two teams currently high on the Nanga's slopes, we could be about to see history made.

The team that we know the most about includes Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol. They set out a few days back, and while they aren't exactly sharing tons of information, we do know that they reached Camp 2 at 6500 meters (21,325 ft) on Monday, and are now pushing further up the hill. They should have at least reached Camp 3 by now, which could put them within striking distance of the summit over the next few days.

Meanwhile, Italian climbers Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger also set off on an alpine style ascent a few days back, but true to form they're staying mostly off the radar. There have been no updates on their progress since late last week, so they could also be ready to complete a summit push. We'll just have to wait for their next update to know for sure.

It should be noted that while the weather conditions on Nanga Parbat are listed as good, that is a relative term at best. During the winter, "good" still means high winds and extreme cold, which are simply par for the course during this season. At the moment, temperatures at the summit are said to be about -40ºC/F, so even if the current weather window holds, it won't be an easy ascent.

Elsewhere, the Polish Justice For All team has now reached 6650 meters (21,817 ft) and have established Camp 3. They're watching the winds very closely as well, and report that at least on their side of the mountain (Rupal Face) things are calm at the moment. They could potentially be getting ready to launch a summit bid of their own, although they haven't fixed ropes above their current position yet.

Finally, there has been no updates on the progress of Alex Txikon, Ali Sadapara, and Daniele Nardi over the past couple of days. We know that Txikon and Sadapara were planning to descend to Base Camp to rest after fixing ropes up to 6500 meters, and that Nardi was recovering from some minor injuries. It is likely that they are all still in place, and waiting to start their next rotation up the mountain as well.

I'll be keeping a close eye on the proceedings over the next couple of days. Lets keep our fingers crossed that one of these squads gets a chance at the summit, and that they all get back down safely.