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The immense Mazeno Ridge and Nanga Parbat, Pakistan.
Photo by Doug Scott
The corniced Mazeno ridge below the towers.
Photo by archivio www.mazeonridge.com
Rick Allen on the ridge above Camp 2.
Photo by archivio www.mazeonridge.com

Mazeno Ridge: Sandy Allan and Rick Allen safe at Base Camp. Summit of Nanga Parbat confirmed!

19.07.2012 by Planetmountain

Today 19 July at circa 12:00 local time British alpinists Sandy Allan and Rick Allen returned to Base Camp safe and sound after having reached the summit of Nanga Parbat on 15 July and after having completed the historic first traverse of the long Mazeno Ridge.

Sandy Allan and Rick Allen, the British mountaineers who have been climbing on Nanga Parbat for the last 18 days, have just returned safe and sound to Base Camp after having reached the 8126m high summit on 15 July. The news comes from South African alpinist Cathy O'Dowd who published the following message on her twitter account "On the 15th of July at 18:12h Rick and Sandy reached the summit! On the 19th of July they arrived safely back at Base Camp. Everyone safe and well!" Last night we had received news directly from Pakistan that the two were reaching Base Camp but we chose to hold back until their return, and this has also been confirmed by Sandy Allan's sister who added "both are exceedingly well!! No frostbite, they will be in Chilas tomorrow."

As all will remember the Mazeno Ridge expedition - comprised of Sandy Allan, Rick Allen, Cathy O'Dowd and Sherpa Nuru, Rangduk e Zarok - had set off to attempt the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the 10km Mazeno Ridge on 2 July. Constant updates about their progress arrived on a nigh daily basis from Cathy O'Dowd via Twitter and on 11 July, after 9 never-ending days during which they had climbed in alpine style past 8 summits above 7000m, past pinnacles and along the infinite, undulating difficult and exposed crest, they became the first ever to traverse across the entire Mazeno Ridge. An undertaking!

This success was followed by three successive tweets which stated that after having negotiated the ridge, the summit of Nanga Parbat had been reached, while a short while later these messages were deemed to have been posted erroneously by those running the South African's social network. Which meant that Nanga Parbat summit was still outstanding... This was attempted on 12 July by Rick, Sandy and Sherpa Rangduk and Zarok after Cathy O'Dowd and the other Sherpa was forced to turn back to the high camp at 7200m. But all four failed to summit that day after having reached an altitude of circa 7950m, about 200m shy of the top. The next day, on Friday 13 July, news came via twitter that the team had split: Cathy O'Dowd and the three Sherpa began their descent via the Diamir Face down to Base Camp, while Sandy Allan and Rick Allen remained on the mountain to make another summit attempt.

The evolving situation was by no means easy, after such a demanding "race" and so many days at altitude the alpinists were surely exhausted and, as if this didn't suffice, were low on food and gas needed to melt snow. For those who know a thing or two about mountaineering there could be no doubt: these were delicate moments. At this point the expedition communication ground to a halt. What little could be gleamed was via the expeditions tour operator who confirmed to us on 16/07 that Cathy O'Dowd and the three Sherpa had safely reached Base Camp and were on their way to Chilas. The agent alos confirmed that Sandy Allan and Rick Allen were at circa 7100m and getting ready to descend down the Diamir Face.

According to the tour operator, last night Sandy Allan and Rick Allen were still descending but reaching Base Camp and that high altitude porters had been sent to help them, while this morning confirmation finally arrived that the two had reached Base Camp at circa 12:00 local time.

So this long and immense adventure now comes an end in the best of all possible ways. The entire mountaineering world watched events unfold with baited breath and those who read our updates can understand why. 18 days out on Nanga Parbat is a true undertaking, and if you add to that this included the first complete traverse of the long and difficult Mazeno Ridge, as well as the summit, well this undertaking becomes something truly immense, epic, reminiscent of alpinism of yesteryear. Yes, the time has finally come to celebrate!


- 16/07/2012 Mazeno Ridge, updates directly from Pakistan
- 12/07/2012 Mazeno Ridge: Nanga Parbat summit not yet reached
- 11/07/2012 Mazeno Ridge: ascent completed to the summit of Nanga Parbat!!
- 09/07/2012 Nanga Parbat Mazeno Ridge, Allan, Allen and O’Dowd on the ridge


Nanga Parbat (8125m)
Himalaya, Kashmir – Pakistan.
First ascent: 03/07/1953 by Austrian Hermann Buhl (member of the Austrian/German expedition led by Herrligkoffer). Nanga Parbat was the third 8000m peak to be climbed in the world and Buhl astounded the mountaineering community with his fantastic solo ascent.

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