Showing posts with label Simone Moro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simone Moro. Show all posts

Himalaya Spring 2017: Season Progressing On Schedule

So far, the spring climbing season in the Himalaya has been a textbook one, with schedules and plans unfolding exactly as expected. That's good news for all of the expedition teams, which are now spread out at various points along their respective mountains working on their acclimatization process. For the most part, things are going about as smoothly as one could expect with some squads already eyeing summit bids in the days ahead.

We'll start with an update on Ueli Steck and Tenji Sherpa, who are preparing to make an attempt at an Everest-Lhotse Traverse. Ueli has been in Nepal for several weeks now, and has been focused on training for the upcoming climb. According to reports, he and Tenji climbed as high as Camp 2 on Everest and spent two nights there before April 12, which is two weeks ago at this point. We're still awaiting a new dispatch to give us an indication of what they've been up to since then, but it is safe to say that the duo have now spent more nights at altitude and may have even touched Camp 4 at this point. It is believed that Ueli will want to begin the traverse ahead of the massive summit push that will come around mid-May so that he can avoid the traffic jams, although the weather will ultimately decide when that happens.

Also on Everest, the big commercial squads are spread out across the mountain. International Mountain Guides has three different teams moving on the mountain with the first descending from C2, while another moves up to that point, and the third treks up to Camp 1. Likewise, the Adventure Consultants team went up to C2 this past weekend and touched the Lhotse Face, while RMI's climbers are currently safe and sound in Camp 1.

On the North Side of Everest, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki is getting settled in and will be making his sixth attempt on the mountain. Previously he has climbed solo in the fall, but due to shifting politics on permits he's back for a go in the spring. The #EverestNoFilter team of Corey Richards and Adrian Ballinger are also climbing from that side of the mountain and have now been as high as 7010 meters (23,000 ft).

Over on Annapurna, the mountain is being as stubborn as ever. ExWeb is reporting tough conditions for climbing so far, including a series of Avalanches that struck C2 last week. That forced some of the teams to retreat to BC to regroup and wait for some stability to set in. The mountain is well known for being extremely dangerous with avalanches occurring frequently, but over the past few years teams have attempted early summits while the slopes were still frozen. That doesn't seem to be the case this time out however.

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are in BC on Kangchenjunga have begun fixing rope up the mountain. They report high winds on the mountain so far, with one gust even picking up Simone's tent and depositing it down the mountain with the climber still in it. Still, the duo seem to be in good spirits and are plugging away at getting acclimated while establishing the first of their high camps. Their plan is to traverse the entire Kangchenjunga massif this season, which is an incredible 5.5 km (3.4 miles) in length.

Finally, David Göttler and Herve Barmasse are no enroute to Shishapangam Base Camp after completing all of the paperwork needed to make their climb. The two men hope to open a new route along the South Face of the mountain and are now trekking to the start of their climb. Previously they've been climbing in the Khumbu region and topped out on Island Peak to help with acclimatization.

That's all for now. More updates soon.

Himalaya Spring 2017: The Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition - 3 Miles Across the Death Zone

Earlier today I posted a story about some interesting expeditions to follow in the Himalaya this spring the aren't taking place on Everest. Not long after that story went live on The Adventure Blog, we got news of yet another very interesting climb that is set to get underway soon as well, with one of the most difficult mountains in the world as the target.

This morning, Simone Moro took the wraps off of his next project which is called the Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition. As has been the case in most of his recent expeditions, he'll be climbing with Tamara Lunger on what promises to be one of the most difficult endeavors of their careers – which is definitely saying something.

The plan is for the the duo to attempt an incredibly difficult and high altitude traverse without the use of supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. They'll start on the Kangchenjunga plateau and cross over four massive peaks along the way, starting with Yalung Kang (8505 m/27,902 ft), then on to the third highest peak on the planet in Kangchenjunga itself at 8586 meters (28,169 ft), before proceeding on to Kangchenjunga Central (8482 m/27,828 ft), before proceeding to Kangchenjunga South (8476 m/27,808 ft). Along the way, they'll cover more than 5.5 km (3.5 miles) above 8300 meters (27,230 ft), all the while trekking above the so called "Death Zone" without bottled oxygen.

Once acclimatized, Simone and Tamara will spend seven days on the traverse, completely unsupported along the way. If they are successful, it will be the longest traverse at altitude ever.

To learn more about this impressive expedition, check out the announcement video below.

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.

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: Two Teams Join Forces on Nanga Parbat

The teams climbing on Nanga Parbat have made solid progress since we last checked in. They've all had opportunities to work their respective routes, and everyone is acclimatizing as expected. There is still a long way to go before they launch any perspective summit bids, but with a period of good weather on the mountain, things are progressing about as well as can be expected at this point of the season.

The Polish Justice for All team is working the Rupal route. They're currently above 6200 meters (20,341 ft) and are fixing ropes towards Camp 3. So far, they've been making steady progress, although it hasn't been as fast as they'd like. Still, the team is slowly, and methodically, working its way up the mountain, acclimatizing as they go, and installing camps where they'll need them for any potential summit pushes down the line.

One interesting note however is that this squad originally had several Pakistani members as well, but according to ExWeb, they left the team a few weeks back. It is unclear why the local climbers decided to depart, but there seems to have been some dispute over the best way to climb the moutanin together.

Elsewhere, two of the teams on the Kinshofer Route have decided to join forces. One squad was originally made up of Alex Txikon, Daniele Nardi, and Ali Sadpara, while the other included the duo of Adam Bielecki and Jacek Czech. Each of these climbers is extremely strong and experienced, but it was in their best interest to work together to try to make the first ascent of Nanga Parbat in the winter. They have managed to fix rope to 5700 meters (18,700 ft), with another 3000 meters of rope shuttled to various points on the mountain. That should be more than enough to get them to the top, although there is lots of hard work to be done getting all of it into position.

With these two squads now working together, the rope fixing should go more quickly and efficiently. And since there are so many strong climbers on the team, the chances of success for all of them has increased all around.

ExWeb is reporting that Tomek Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol have now reached Camp 3 at approximately 6600 meters (21,653 ft), and were expecting to go above 7000 meters (22,956 ft) later today. That will put them in good position for a potential summit push, although they'll likely retreat to BC to rest up before that will ever happen. The two climbers were reportedly sharing camps with Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger as well, although the Italian climbers have not posted an update on their progress since last week.

All in all, it has been a good start to the winter climbing season on Nanga. It is still too early to know if anyone will be successful in their attempt o climb the mountain however, as the winter weather conditions can shift quickly, with heavy snows, high winds, and extreme temperatures gripping the region for days. Still, the teams remain optimistic that they can finally climb this beast during the harshest season of the year. We'll just have to wait to see if they get the chance.

Winter Climbs 2016: Teams Go To Work on Nanga Parbat

It has been a couple of weeks since we posted any updates from Pakistan, where at least five teams are now preparing to attempt the first ascent of Nanga Parbat in winter. As I'm sure most of you know, Nanga is one of just two 8000-meter peaks that have yet to be climbed during the very difficult winter season. The other major peak that holds that distinction is K2, which will have no visitors this winter at all. But over the past few years, there has been progress made on Nanga Parbat, and this year just might be the one that sees a successful summit at long last.

The first team on the mountain this year was the Polish Justice For All squad. They actually arrived in the region as far back as the middle of November, and have been busy acclimatizing ahead of the start of the winter season. Once the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere passed on December 21, they immediately went to work and have been busy fixing ropes and establishing camps ever since. They have now reached an altitude of about 5500 meters (18,044 ft) and have been shuttling gear up to their intermediate camps before heading higher on the Schell Route.

Elsewhere, Adam Bielecki and Jacek Czech have arrived in Base Camp on Nanga Parbat after spending several weeks acclimatizing in the Andes in South America. Adam says that the snow is already quite heavy on the mountain, but the pair have managed to establish Camp 1 at 4900 meters (16,076 ft). They have since returned to Base Camp where they are catching their breath, warming up, and planning the next move.

The international team led by Alex Txikon, and consisting of Daniele Nardi and Ali Sadpara arrived on the mountain a few days back and have already gone to work too. They've already taken 70 kilograms (154 lbs) up to C1, which is located at 4850 meters (15,912 ft) using snowshoes and sleds to aid in the process. So far, the team reports that the weather has been good, but that is expected to change in the next few days, when heavy snow is in the forecast.

Italian climbers Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger reached Nanga Parbat on December 27, and have joined forces with Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz, who spent a considerable amount of time on the mountain last winter. They have been acclimatizing over the past few days, and most likely have established their first camp as well. As part of the process, the group has now gone as high as 6000 meters (19,685 ft) and spent a couple of nights above 5500 meters (18,044 ft) as well. They're now back in BC resting, and sorting through some logistical issues, including the fact that the porters are now requesting 5 times the price that they agreed upon to shuttle gear up to BC. Such are the challenges of an expedition to Pakistan.

For the most part, the winter climbing season is only now just getting underway. Some of these teams are prepared to stay on Nanga Parbat throughout the entire winter if necessary, although weather conditions will dictate any chances they have of actually reaching the top. For now, they are all being patient, taking their time, and watching the forecasts closely. We'll be watching their progress just as closely in the days to come. This could be the winter season in which history is made.

Winter Climbs 2016: Teams Pre-Acclimatzing in South America, Gathering in Pakistan

The winter climbing season is nearly upon us. The season officially arrives next Monday, which is the date that several teams have circled on their calendar as the start of the big challenge ahead. This year, there will be at least five individual teams attempting the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, while there are none currently scheduled for K2. In the days leading up to the start of the season, the climbers are busy preparing for what promises to be a long, difficult season. And while some are acclimatizing elsewhere, others have already arrived in Pakistan and are preparing to begin.

The Polish Justice For All squad is the first to arrive in Base Camp on Nanga Parbat. The team reached Lattabo two days ago, and have been busy building their camp ever since. They've set up their satellite communications system, solar panels, tents, and other gear, and are now patiently waiting for winter to officially arrive. They won't even begin to head up the mountain until that happens, but when it does, they'll be more than ready. The team is prepared to stay on Nanga for the entire season if necessary, waiting well into March for their chance at a summit. Hopefully it won't come to that, but with fickle weather a common occurrence on the mountain, anything is possible.

Meanwhile, the duo of Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are also in Pakistan. They arrived in Skardu last week, and while there haven't been updates since then, it is safe to assume they are now trekking towards Base Camp themselves. Depending on when they departed, they should arrive on the mountain before the start of winter as well. Simone reports that they had an armed escort with them, which is unsurprising considering the 2013 attack on Nanga Parbat BC by militants that left 11 people dead. The Pakistani government has taken strides to ensure that doesn't happen again, but it still weighs on the thoughts of climbers going there.

Elsewhere, Alex Txikon is busy acclimatizing in the Andes region of Argentina. He reports that while the altitudes there are helping his body prepare for the Karakoram, the climbing is non-technical, and the spring weather isn't anything close to what he'll face on Nanga Parbat. Still, it is a good way to get ready for the challenges he'll face on the mountain once again this year, as his team looks to complete the first winter route as well.

Finally, Adam Bielecki is also in South America acclimatizing, although he has chosen to workout in Chile instead. He reports that he is currently camping on the edge of a crater of a volcano at 22,244 ft (6779 meters), which is of course preparing him for altitude, but he too says that this is a non-technical climb. In a Facebook post he says that he is already bored with just hiking in the mountains, and is now ready for the real climbing to begin.

Both Alex and Adam will depart for Pakistan next week and begin making their way to Nanga Base Camp. Look for them to arrive around the start of the new year.

Right now, we're in a period of calm before the start of the winter season. After that, things will start to get interesting. The teams will be very busy acclimatizing, establishing their camps, fixing ropes, and watching the weather. Hopefully at least a few of them will get a legitimate shot at the summit this year. Those chances are few and far between, which is why the mountain has never been climbed in the winter before.

Stay tuned for more.

Winter Climbs 2015: Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger Abandon Manaslu Climb

It looks like Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger's attempt to summit Manaslu in winter is over before it ever really got a chance to get underway. Reports indicate that the duo have called for an evacuation from the mountain following a very close call with an avalanche yesterday. They'll now head home and regroup of potential spring expeditions in the Himalaya instead.

The two climbers arrived on the mountain on February 20 with good weather welcoming them to Base Camp. This allowed them to quickly establish Camp 1 and begin scouting the route. Soon there after however the weather too a turn for the worse, with heavy snow falling over the past few weeks. In fact, Simone and Tamara spent much of their time simply shoveling snow to keep the area around BC clear.

Yesterday, while resting in their tent, they heard a deep rumble above them and knew that an avalanche was taking place it swept down the mountain, bringing five meters of snow with it, just outside of their campsite. That close call was enough of a sign to tell them that the mountain is no longer safe, and that it is time to go home.

At the moment, the two climbers are stranded in Base Camp. It is unsafe for them to descend on their own, as the danger of further avalanches is too high. They have called for a helicopter to come pick them up, but the weather is so poor that it is impossible to fly. It could be another day or two before they are evacuated from the mountain, depending on the weather.

This leaves just the team on Nanga Parbat struggling to summit an 8000-meter peak this winter. That squad is back in Base Camp as well at the moment following a failed summit bid this past weekend. Whether or not they make another attempt at the top of that mountain remains to be seen, with the weather ultimately dictating their chances.

Winter Climbs 2015: Bad Weather Thwarts Summit Bid on Nanga Parbat

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

While I was off climbing the tallest mountain in Africa, the combined international team of Alex Txikon, Daniele Nardi, and their Iranian and Pakistani companions have continued to work very hard on completing the first ever winter ascent of Nanga Parbat. Overt he weekend, the team launched a summit bid at last, but true to form, bad weather set in, forcing the entire squad to return to Base Camp, with at least a few of the climbers deciding to head home.

According to a report from ExWeb, the team abandoned their summit push on day two after finding the route was altered dramatically by a recent snowstorm that dumped plenty of powder on the mountain. The mountaineers were able to proceed above Camp 1 but discovered waist-deep snow and encountered several small avalanches, which convinced them it was time to turn back at 5300 meters (17,388 ft).

With unstable conditions prominent on Nanga Parbat at the moment, Alex and Daniele have decided to wait for another weather window before attempting a second summit push. Exactly when that attempt will begin remains a mystery at this time however.

Discretion being the better part of valor, the Iranian team consisting of Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi have decided that Nanga is simply too unsafe to proceed this year. After surveying the intended route up the mountain, the trio have elected to pull the plug on their expedition and are now preparing to head home. With excessive amounts of snow and the growing threat of avalanche danger, they feel that it is simply too unsafe to proceed.

Meanwhile, over on Manaslu, Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are stuck in Base Camp as they wait for the weather to clear as well. They arrived on the mountain amidst good conditions a few weeks back, and were quickly able to establish Camp 1 at 5220 meters (17,125 ft), but since then the weather has taken a turn for the worse, preventing them from moving upwards. Heavy snows continue to fall on the mountain, making it very difficult to proceed.

For each of these winter climbs the click is now ticking. With the calendar now officially turned to March, there are just three more weeks of winter remaining. That is plenty of time to launch another summit bid on Nanga Parbat, but on Manaslu conditions are going to have to be exactly right for Simone and Tamara to have a crack at the top. Their late start has put them behind schedule, and now it seems unlikely that they'll get the chance to actually make a summit push. Of course, anything can happen, and three weeks is still plenty of time, but the weather will have to stabilize dramatically for them to have a true chance.

Stay tuned for more updates soon.

Winter Climbs 2015: Nanga Teams Retreat to BC, Moro Departs for Nepal

There is more news from Nanga Parbat today, where the combined international team of Alex Txikon, Daniele Nardi, local climbers Muhammad Ali "Sadpara" and Muhammad Kahn, along with the Iranian squad, have retreated back to Base Camp after establishing Camp 3 on the mountain. The group had been working for five straight days to establish the route and shuttle gear, and are now ready to rest and regain some strength before heading up again.

According to reports, C3 was installed at 6700 meters (21,981 ft) where at least three of the climbers spent the night as part of their acclimatization. They then fixed ropes above that point, but were unable to reach Camp 4 before deciding it was time to descend. The entire squad is still working on acclimating to the altitude, with the exception of Nardi who has been on Nanga for more than a month now.

Dispatches indicate that Txikon and the other late arrivals are in need of some rest, so they'll spend at least a few days in BC now to let their bodies recover. The forecasts indicate that the weather should be good through the weekend, with storms arriving on the mountain on Sunday. That means that there is no weather window for the next few days, which will limit their efforts. In fact, the forecast calls for poor weather for most of next week, with possibly a meter of snow being dropped on the slopes of Nanga Parbat. For now, the teams will just have to wait to see if and when they'll get another chance.

Meanwhile, Italian climber Simone Moro is preparing to set out for Nepal. He'll leave tomorrow to begin his winter expedition in the Himalaya. He will be joined on the climb by talented alpinist Tamara Lunger, who summited K2 without oxygen this past summer.

The duo have set their sighs on the 8163 meter (26,781 ft) Manaslu, which they hope to link with Manaslu East, a peak that is an impressive 7992 meters (26,220 ft) in height. The hope is to complete the climb before the end of winter, which means they'll have roughly 35 days to top out. Both are said to have already been acclimatizing prior to their departure, with the plan of eventually making an alpine style attempt on the two summits once they have scouted the route.

Finally, there have been no updates yet from Andy Kirkpatrick, who had intended to set off for Denali to complete a solo summit of that mountain in February. The latest updates to the Brit's Facebook and Twitter pages indicate that he was heading off on an expedition, but there has been radio silence for the past eight days. Hopefully he is now in Alaska and prepping for the climb, but at this point it is unclear what his plans are.

That's all for today. It looks like things will be kind of quiet for the next few days at least as the weather on Nanga sorts itself out, and Simone and Tamara make their way to the mountain. We'll have more updates soon as the news warrants.

Winter Climbs 2015: Nanga Parbat Teams Unite at Last, Simone Moro Reveals Plans

There is more news from Nanga Parbat today, where the climbers have started to make some progress once again after being stalled out by the weather. Better yet, it seems that all of the remaining teams have now joined forces, and are working together to try to reach the summit for the first time in winter.

Earlier in the week, Italian climber Daniele Nardi had gone as high as 6100 meters (20,013 ft) on the Mummery Rib. He had hoped to solo that section of the climb and potentially make a summit bid. But unstable conditions on the mountain made it unsafe to continue up out of fear of avalanches. This forced Daniele to return to Base Camp to rethink his strategy, although he didn't stay there for long.

Apparently Daniele has decided to abandon his own plans and join the other teams that are currently on the mountain. In fact, he has already gone back up to Camp 2 with Spanish mountaineer Alex Txikon. They were joined by Pakistani climbers Muhammad Ali "Sadpara" and Muhammad Kahn, and together the team was able to establish Camp 2 on the Kinshofer Route at 6100 meters. The entire squad is hoping to continue up to Camp 3 today as they continue to fix ropes and shuttle gear.

Meanwhile, the Iranian team that is on the same route attempted to take a more direct route to C2 but were unable to complete that section of the climb. ExWeb reports that they were forced to turn back and ended up in Base Camp. Presumably they will attempt to go back up to C2 as well as they continue their acclimatization efforts.

This newly combined team is now as strong as any that we've seen on Nanga Parbat this year, and could potentially lead to the first winter ascent. We'll have to wait to see if they'll be able to work together to reach the top, but there is a great deal of experience and skill in place. There is no question that this group can summit, provided the weather cooperates and allows them to. Like the climbers themselves, we'll have to wait to see if that happens.

Finally, Italian climber Simone Moro has revealed his Himalayan climbing plans at last. After teasing us for the past couple of months, Moro has revealed that he and Tamara Lunger will be attempting to summit Manaslu. ExWeb says that more details will be forthcoming but the plan is to apparently link Manaslu East (7992 meter/26,220 ft) with the Main Summit at 8163 meters (26,781 ft). He is expected to hold a press conference today to share further details.

Winter Climbs 2014: ExWeb Talks To Simone Moro About His Plans

As the winter climbing season inches closer, there is more and more intrigue surrounding the plans of Italian climber Simone Moro. As a veteran climber who has put up first winter ascents on three Himalayan peaks, it is not unusual for Moro to be planning a big climb during the coldest, harshest season of the year. But this year Simone is keeping his cards close to the vest, and has not yet revealed his plans. We do know however, that he does not intend to attempt Nanga Parbat or K2, the only two remaining 8000 meter peaks to be climbed in winter. Recently, ExWeb caught up with Moro, as he shared some thoughts on the expeditions that will be taking place beginning in just a few weeks.

In the interview, Simone talks about the re-emergence of winter expeditions on the big peaks, and the Polish squads returning to prominence in that area. ExWeb credits Moro for reinvigorating winter climbs, but as you would expect, Simone says that he is happy to see others join him on the big mountain quests. He also reminds the interviewer that while he isn't going to K2 or Nanga Parbat, he still has some big plans for the winter ahead.

One of Simone's favorite climbing partners is Denis Urubko, who will be focused on K2 this winter. When asked why Moro did not join his old friend, he reiterated the now often-shared story about his wife having a bad dream about him dying on K2. She asked him not to climb that mountain in the winter, and he agreed. So it would seem that if K2 is to be summited during the harshest season of all, it will be by someone other than Simone.

Other topics that are discussed in the interview include Moro's thoughts on competition in high altitude mountaineering, what approach he would take to climbing K2 in the winter, his ideal team size for winter expedition, and some of the logistical differences between climbing in the winter vs. the summer. He also shares some thoughts on avoiding frostbite at high altitude, the chances of future shutdowns like the one on Everest this past spring, and much more.

If you're interested in high altitude mountaineering, particularly in the winter, than this is a good interview from a man who is extremely experienced in both areas. Simone is one of the best mountaineers in the business, and it will be interesting to hear about his winter plans this season. He says those plans remain confidential, so for now we'll jus have to wait. I expect we'll hear something definitive in the next few weeks, and then we'll be following Moro's efforts throughout the expedition, no matter where it takes him.

Winter Climbs 2014: And So It Begins...

The official start of the 2014-2015 winter climbing season is still a couple of weeks away, but teams heading to the big mountains are deep in preparation for their expeditions. Most will depart for Pakistan and China in mid-December, ahead of the official arrival of winter on December 21, but one climber has already started his acclimatization process, and isn't looking to waste any time.

According to a report on ExWeb, Polish climber Tomek Mackiewicz is already in Pakistan, and has been acclimatizing in the Rupal Valley ahead of his attempt on Nanga Parbat this winter. Tomek arrived there in November, giving himself several weeks to adjust to the altitude before heading to the Diamir Face of Nanga.

According to the report, Tomek arrived in Pakistan on November 12, and spent a week organizing his gear and handling administrative tasks in Rawalpindi before arriving in Lattabo on November 21. He has spent the time since then acclimatizing on Rupal and Laila Peak. Those two mountains, 5642 meters (18,510 ft) and 5971 meters (19,589 ft) respectively, will serve as a warm-up before the Polish climber joins his partners – Daniele Nardi and Elisabeth Revel – in Nanga Parbat Base Camp in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, Italian climber Simone Moro continues to press ahead with his plans for a winter climb, even though we don't know what he has in mind just yet. Simone tells Stefan Nestler that he is still waiting on his climbing permit before he announces what his objectives are. He intends to climb this winter, although he won't start until after the first of the year, which is later than usual for a big winter climb. We do know that the expedition will take place in China, as Simone has indicated that he's waiting for the Chinese to issue him the permit, but it is unclear if that his adventure will take him to China proper, or if it will take place in Tibet. Rumors suggested that he might try the North Face of Everest in winter, but officials have indicated that the mountain will be shut down from January 1 to March 31, so clearly that is not his objective.

A veteran of 12 winter climbing expeditions – including three first ascents – Moro is an expert on climbing big peaks in the coldest, harshest season of all. When asked why he isn't on Nanga Parbat or K2 this season, Simone says that his best climbing partners didn't want to accompany him to Nanga this year, and that he promised his wife that he would never climb K2 in the winter after she dreamt that he had perished on that mountain. So now, he prepares for this secret climb instead, and we all wait to see what exactly he has planned.

Moro goes on to say that winter climbing is "pure exploration," unlike any other expedition. He enjoys the fact that the mountain is empty, with no other teams climbing, and that the conditions are extremely challenging. It is a lonely time and place for mountaineers, unlike climbing those same peaks during the warmer months.

Other interesting elements in the interview include Simone's thoughts on how climbing will change on Everest in the wake of the avalanche that claimed 16 lives this past spring, how he has put the high-profile 2013 brawl with Sherpas behind him, and his work as a rescue helicopter pilot in the Himalaya. He also talks about his future in climbing, and at the age of 47, how many more years he has left on these daring expeditions into the Himalaya and Karakoram.

As usually, the interview is a good read, and definitely worth a look for those with an interest in mountaineering on this level.

While the winter climbing season is still a couple of weeks from truly starting, it seems we may have plenty of news to report leading up to it. Stay tuned for more updates.

Winter Mountaineering 2014: K2 and Nanga Parbat Take Center Stage

Earlier this week we turned out the light on the 2014 fall Himalayan climbing season by wrapping up the last couple of expeditions that were still ongoing. Now, there will be a bit of a respite on the big mountains, while most of the attention turns to the spring climbing season on Everest. But before that occurs, the winter climbing season awaits, and in just over a month's time, teams will begin heading to some of the most difficult peaks on the planet in an attempt to summit during the coldest, most demanding season of all.

As of now, there are just two 8000 meter peaks that remain unclimbed in winter, They are K2 and Nanga Parbat. This winter, teams have targeted both peaks in an attempt to knock off one, or both, of these incredibly difficult mountains.

While most of the winter climbing expeditions are heading to Nanga, the team that we'll be watching the closest will no doubt be on K2. As previously announced, a team consisting of climbing all-stars Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki and Alex Txikon, who will be joined by Artiom Braun and Dmitry Siniew, has set its sights on a new route on the toughest mountain on the planet. The team will climb from the Chinese side of K2, up the North Face, along the Northeast Ridge. According to ExWeb, the squad will depart for the Karakoram on December 16.

Of course, this team has a great deal of experience climbing during the winter. Urubko was part of the team that put up the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II a few years back, and Bielecki has two first ascents during the season under his belt as well – Gasherbrum I and Broad Peak. They'll need all of that skill, experience, and determination if they hope to reach the summit of K2 in a few months.

Meanwhile, ExWeb is also offering solid details on the plans for Nanga Parbat as well. They claim that Tomek Mackiewicz, Daniele Nardi, Elisabeth Revol and Roberto Delle Monache will all share Base Camp on that mountain, although beyond that point Tomek intends to make a solo summit bid. That will be a bold expedition to follow as well, as he attempts to go up the Mummery Rib. The group is expected to depart for Pakistan on December 20.

According to Russian Climb, Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Serguey Kondrashkin and Victor Koval are also attempting Nanga this winter. They are planning on setting off for Pakistan on December 22 for their own winter 8000-meter expedition.

Finally, Simone Moro is up to something in the Himalaya this winter, but we're not sure exactly what yet. He has promised his wife he would not attempt K2, so he won't join his friend Denis Urubko on that expedition, and he has also ruled out Nanga Parbat. Apparently, the expedition is still coming together, and he isn't quite ready to reveal plans just yet. Hopefully we'll hear more about what he has in store in the days ahead. As usual with Simone, he generally has some big idea. Perhaps he'll bring his friend Ueli Steck along for the ride as well.

That's all for now. These expeditions will begin to take center stage in about a month, but until then, the mountaineering world will be a bit quiet. It is certainly shaping up to be an interesting winter in the big mountains though. Stay tuned for updates.

Outside TV Shares Video From the 2013 Brawl on Everest

One of the biggest stories in mountaineering over the past few years has been the brawl that ensued in 2013 when a team of European climbers got into a heated exchange with Sherpas that were fixing ropes above Camp 2 on the South Side. The fact that the European team included high-profile climbers Ueli Steck and Simone Moro, as well as Jonathan Griffith, only served to make the story a bigger one. Now, Outside Television has released exclusive video from the incident, giving us a glimpse of just how scary the scene on Everest actually was.

The clip, which you'll find below, includes some of the principle people that witnessed the clash, including Ueli, Simone, and Melissa Arnot, who found herself in the middle of the conflict. Each shares their thoughts on what transpired that day, while actual video from the fight rolls. The reactions that we see remain disturbing even now, a year and a half after they transpired. It is still surprising that no one got seriously hurt, but this is a reminder of just how delicate the relationship between commercial climbers and the Sherpa teams can be.

Simone Moro and Ueli Steck Returning to Everest?

In 2013, Simone Moro and Ueli Steck were involved in one of the more high profile mountaineering incidences in recent memory when they got into a fight with Sherpas on Everest. Words were exchanged high on the slopes, and egos from both parties got in the way, leading to an escalation of the situation beyond what anyone had anticipated. The conflict turned dangerous, and if it wasn't for the intervention of a few other western climbers, who knows what would have happened. As a result of the highly-publicized argument, both Simone and Ueli were turned off to the climbing scene in the Himalaya, and even indicated that they might not return. Ueli has since gone back to make his amazing solo-summit of Annapurna last fall, and now there are some indications that the two men could team up once again for an attempt on Everest.

In a recent interview, Simone has outlined some of his plans for the future, which include several ambitious projects, including a potential return to Everest. He says that he would like to go back to Nanga Parbat to make another attempt at a winter ascent, but he is still searching for the right partner. Previous teammates David Göttler and Denis Urubko are unable to join him this year as David is resting after a busy climbing schedule, and Denis has concerns regarding security on the mountain. But if he can find the right person, Moro would like to go back to Pakistan once again.

Regarding a winter attempt on K2, Simone says that he will not attempt that climb. His says that his wife had a dream in which she saw him die on K2, and because of that dream, he has made a promise to not attempt that mountain in winter. Nanga Parbat and K2 remain the only two 8000-meter peaks unclimbed during that season.

As for his plans with Ueli, Simone says that the two climbers are planning on pairing up to make an attempt on Everest and Lhotse, making a back-to-back summit of the two mountains. He says that they are committed to going back, despite the harsh statements that were made in the wake of the fight with the Sherpas. Moreover, the Nepali government has recognized that there were extenuating circumstances that disrupted their expedition last year, and has extended their permit, allowing them to return to try again.

According to the story linked to above, they will not be going back this fall, as there is too much snow on the mountain following the monsoon. Instead, they are likely to wait until spring, and then make their return to Everest – something I think we'd all like to see happen.