Mazeno Ridge: Nanga Parbat summit not yet reached
Contrary to Cathy O'Dowd's Twitter message last night, the South African alpinist has now published new messaged in which she makes clear that the summit has not yet been reached,. Her climbing partners Sandy Allan, Rick Allen and the Sherpa Rangduk and Zarok are currently on a summit push.
Update at 15:00 on 16/07/2012
South African alpinist Cathy O'Dowd and Sherpa Nuru, Rangduk and Zarok are said to be safely at Base Camp of Nanga Parbat (Diamir Face) while the British mountaineers Sandy Allan and Rick Allen are said to be at 7100m. The information comes directly from Muhammad Ali of Adventure Pakistan, the Pakistani expedition tour operatore. Read news report.
Update at 15:30 on 13/07/2012
This is the latest update posted nine hours ago by Cathy O'Dowd on Twitter: ""Team splits, Rick & Sandy stay to try again, the rest of us descend via route we dont know - could be interesting." There is no further news at present and it is highly likely therefore that since the team has separated into two groups, we will have to wait a while for a complete update about what is happening on the Mazeno Ridge and Nanga Parbat.
Update at 19:22 on 12/07/2012
The latest tweet from Cathy O'Dowd on Nanga Parbat: "Disappointment: our intrepid 4 turned back at 7950m at foot of summit pyramid. Lack of time & poor snow. 18hr day for them. So close.." It seems therefore that the summit of Nanga Parbat is out of the question, after the great first ascent of the Mazeno Ridge. But it also seems to us that what is important is that Sandy Allan, Rick Allen and the Sherpa Rangduk and Zarok are (or are returning) to the High Camp... and this is certainly excellent news.
Published at 14:30 on 12/07/2012
Mazeno Ridge: the summit of Nanga Parbat hasn't been reached. But the game isn't over yet as "Rick Sandy Rangduk Zarok all still climbing". This is the meaning of the three tweet posted this morning in quick succession by Cathy O'Dowd. As many remember, last night the South African alpinist confirmed via three successive messages that the summit had been reached and this news had been published by us, as well as numerous other web sites including the official expedition site. The communication now takes a step back with regards to the summit but not the traverse itself along the Mazeno Ridge which remains an outstanding achievement.
O'Dowd states in her last three Twitter messages that she was forced to abandon her attempt due to the cold and fatigue, and is now at the high camp together with Sherpa Nuru while British alpinists Sandy Allan and Rick Allen and Sherpa Rangduk and Zarok are currently making their bid for the summit. These details have now been confirmed by a recent audio message which Cathy O'Dowd published on su www.humanedgetech.com/expedition/mazeno (see the transcribed text below).
It's difficult to say which this authentic communication short circuit occurred, what is certain though is that this is proof of how the extraordinary speed of the internet can create problems. What is also certain, or rather, what seems certain (in this case the conditional seems obligatory) is that after 11 days of non-stop climbing, the battle continues high up on Nanga Parbat... provisions are running out, the alpinists are no doubt feeling the strain and the descent remains a difficult hurdle. It's clear that we're with them all the way and we expect them all safe and sound at Base Camp.
12/07/2012 Cathy O'Dowd audio message from Nanga Parbat:
"This is make-or-break day for the Nanga Parbat Mazeno Ridge expedition. I'm afraid it's a day which has already broken me. We all left our high camp which is sitting at about 7200m, we left the high camp at 1.00am this morning to make a bid for the summit. We knew that it was a bad day for a summit bid. We had by meteo reports (incomprehensible) that it was going to be very windy, with winds of 40-50km/hour at 8000m, we even thought briefly about delaying but we just don't have enough food left, we've been away from BC on this so-called summit bid for 11 days, we're virtually out of food and gas and we've still got to get back down again, people are deteriorating by the day.
So we've decided to go despite the winds. The winds are awful, howling through the night, spindrift in my eyes, my eyes are still aching from having my cornea raked by spindrift. And we ran into a second problem, which is that Nuru was in the lead and hell he's tough and strong and a really good climber but I'm not convinced about his navigation and he just took us shooting straight up this snow couloir in the dark, up this rocky pinnacle, and we got to the top of something at dawn, it was very beautiful etc etc but in no circumstances was it on the right line to get to the summit of Nanga Parbat. Which then meant a whole lot of technical, tricky solo rock climbing on loose rock to get back off the thing and start trying to traverse across towards where we actually wanted to be. So at 7 in the morning I'd just had it, I was freezing cold, very tired, worried that I was going to make a mistake, the kind of mistake that could lead to bad injury or endanger the entire expedition, so I pulled a quick decision in the morning and Nuru and I returned to the high Camp.
Currently the four climbers are still out there, Sandy Allen, Rick Allan, Lhakpa Rangdu and Lhakpa Zarok and they are a tough set of climbers. Rick and Sandy are real tough old bastards, in a way that I think I will never be. So they've got far from ideal conditions but they haven't returned to Camp yet so they're out there somewhere, still hoping to put up the first British route on Nanga Parbat, still hoping to do the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno Ridge and I have to say it's amazing that we've actually got this far. People have been trying this route for 35 years, I think we're the 10th expedition to try it, something like that, and no one has ever even got up to high camp on Nanga Parbat itself. So we've done extraordinarily well, and.. time will tell! I wouldn't expect the boys back before dark, it'll be interesting getting down off the mountain because (incomprehensible, Editor's note) Everyone's going to be shattered after this summit day, we wait and see, if we make, as a team, or not, I'll know in about, who knows, 6 to 8 to 10 hours."