Nanga Parbat winter expeditions 2014-2015 is over. The highest point reached this year is 7800 meter by French climber Elisabeth Revol and Polish climber Tomek Mackiewicz, both climbers reached 7800 meter on Messner-Esindle (2000) route. The second highest point reached was more or less 7700 meter by Italian climber Daniele Nardi, Spanish climber Alex Txikon and Pakistani climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara. The third highest point was reached by Russian team, Russian climbers reached 7,150 meter on Schell route, they ended expedition after going through 100 Km/h wind on Mazeno ridge at 7150 m.
The message earlier received from base was that team reached 8000 meter, but the picture sent by base shows a point which spots climbers around 7650 meter. They lost route in dark, and skipped the corridor where they should have ascended and reached a point from where ascension to top was not possible. They decided to descend down to camp 4 and make another attempt on March 14, 2015. It was later confirmed by base that climbers have decided to abort attempt and they are coming down to base camp.
Kinshofer route is a steep route and rope is fixed all the way from camp 1 5100m to camp 4 7200m. The most technical section of route is Kinshofer line which lies at 5900m.
Challenges of Kinshofer route in winter:
Around 3500 meter rope need to be fixed, from camp 1 5I00m to camp 4 7200m.
Its not two men job, Simone Moro and Denis Urubko concluded in winter 2011-2012 that its not two men job, and they abandoned Kinshofer route and choose Messner 2000 route instead. This is the reason why Alex came with two Pakistani climbers, three Iranians joined them and later on Daniele Nardi also joined them.
More rope fixing means, each climber will carry more wait and it will add difficulty to already technical climb. Climbers will get exhausted completely by the time they will reach camp 4 (from where to launch attack at summit).
Kinshofer route is dry, this was one of the reasons why Elisabeth and Tomek decided to go on Messner 2000 route.
Slopes of Kinshofer route above 6100 meter (camp 2) become icey, and there are pitches of blue ice all the way to camp 3. Blue ice makes climb technical and physically demanding. Climbers will have to hit crampons hard to scratch ice, and with that be careful and fix rope by setting anchors (ice screws in blue ice).
Reasons of failure:
Alex, Daniele, Khan and Ali started summit push from base camp on March 08, in bad weather and knee deep snow. It took them ten hours to reach camp 1 due to deep snow. They decided to rest one day in camp 1 5100m. They already had rope fixed till camp 3 (6700m). Climbers start ascend from camp 1 on March 10 in bad weather carrying 20 kg each and spent sleepless night in camp 2, due to horrible wind which was blowing at 60 Km/h, kept giving bursts to their camp all night. The next day, on March 11, they started ascend to camp 3, again carrying 20kg each. They reached camp 3 and spent another sleepless night due to fast wind, which was relatively calm but enough to not let them sleep. Climbers started ascend to camp 4 on March 12, From this point Ali and Khan were leading by fixing ropes and Alex and Daniele were following by carrying 20-25 kg each. They reached camp 4, this was the point from where Muhammad Khan decided to descend down to base camp. This was third sleepless night for Alex, Daniele and Ali. They started attack on summit on March 13 but lost way and returned to camp 4, decided to make another attempt on March 14, but later they aborted attempt and decided to descend due to fatigue. They were too tired to launch attack at summit.
This route is less steep but long as compare to Kinshofer route. It takes two days to reach the foot of Messner 2000 route. The advantage of this route is that, route is not dry and no sections of blue ice were reported by Elisabeth and Tomek, very less rope fixing need to be done on Messner 2000 route. Elisabeth and Tomek made fast progress on route, they got more clear days, because they reached base camp on Dec 22, early winter days are mostly sunny. They stayed in base camp for one month and they reached 7800 meter. The unfortunate accident of Tomek fall forced them to end expedition.
Reasons of failure and things learned:
The reason was short weather window as compare to route, which can be compensated by establishing high camp at 5100 and launching attack from that point. The second reason was, summit is far from this route, which can be compensated by setting last bivouac at 7400 meter (said Elisabeth). Complete story of Tomek and Elisabeth: https://northmenalpinism.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/nanga-parbat-winter2015/
Schell route means climbing rupal side of Nanga Parbat, which is world’s highest mountain face. The base camp lies at 3500m, which means amount of vertical meters from base camp to summit is 4626 meter, which is a lot. The first target is reaching camp 4 at 7200m, which is tough in itself. The tougher part starts after reaching 7200m on Mazeno ridge and getting to summit. It takes at least 2 days from Schell route to reach summit, no one has went above 7400 meter on Schell route in winter. It would be nightmare spending a night at 7500 m on Schell route.
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