Nanga Parbat in winter, the route upwards for Moro and Urubko
News from Nanga Parbat: Simone Moro and Denis Urubko continue to explore their hopes and the mountain itself. Yesterday they ventured to beyond 5800m to reach the base of the couloir which they will attempt to climb via their (new) route to the summit.
After three days on the mountain, the Italian mountaineer from Bergamo and his Kazakh partner returned to Base Camp yesterday. Three very successful days, which clarified and further consolidated their decision to change their line of ascent. The ascent via the Kinshofer route has been abandoned definitively now and the summit and the first winter ascent will be attempted via the line chosen by Messner and Eisendle in 2000. In other words, via a new line up the left-hand side of the massive Diamir face. Moro and Urubko spent these last few days adventuring up their project therefore.
Following in the footsteps of "visionary" Mammery in 1898 as well as Messner and Eisendle in 2000, the two ascended the entire Diamir glacier wedged between Ganalo and Nanga Parbat. This fantastic and wild ice barrier has been described by Moro as "a labyrinth of indescribable crevasses and seracs... it's out of this world, being inside it is like being on the moon." They then ventured upwards to 5800m and yesterday morning they pushed their Camp 2 even higher still. Now, explains Moro, "we're beneath the only safe gully which should launch us to Nanga. No fixed ropes. Just a really long ascent..."
In truth the plan had been to ascend even higher still and spend another night at altitude. But, even up there, in the winter desert of one of the most inaccessible and difficult mountain faces, they received the terrible news of the death of their friend Mario Merelli. And, as Moro writes in his online diary, there was only one thing left to do: descend to Base Camp, because you never get used to some news...
So, a return home to Nanga Parbat Base Camp to recharge their batteries and give them time to think. In the meantime it has started to snow, the thermometer has dropped to "only" -18 °C, things could be worse...
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