Nanga Parbat in winter: the long journey to the summit commences
Polish alpinists Tomek Mackiewicz and Pawel Dunaj have set off from Nanga Parbat base camp for their summit attempt. They should be followed tomorrow by Italy's Simone Moro and Germany's David Göttler.
This morning the Polish mountaineers Tomek Mackiewicz and Pawel Dunaj set off from Base Camp, while the announcement was made a short while ago that Simone Moro and David Göttler should follow them tomorrow. This start comes after a good weather window was predicted for tomorrow, Friday 7 February. So after the long wait (and the difficult acclimatisation process) the first summit bid up Nanga Parbat's immense Rupal Face has begun.
Reaching the summit at 8125m would mean carrying out the first winter ascent of this legendary peak, the only 8000er that, together with K2, has never been ascended in the coldest season. It's clear that perhaps the mountaineers are currently thinking of other things. The excitement, commitment and concentration are all focused towards the ascent, to do the "right" things at just the right moment.
Those who climb regularly know this atmosphere all too well, that Emilio Previtali (the third member in the Italian-German Nanga expedition ) expressed all too well in today's expedition blog simonemoro.gazzetta.it: "Tomasz and Pawel set off today, they checked in here at our tent to say hello. Tomasz told us he was so excited he didn't manage to sleep last night. One could see this. We encouraged them, gave them a hug, shook hands, they were ready, with rucksacks already on their backs. We said goodbye and after the goodbyes something else still needed to be vented. A feeling of collective excitement was in the air. At one point Tomasz and I looked at each other, we looked into each others eyes for a few infinite seconds, then I smiled, I was holding the camera and filming. I smiled again. Shouted loudly Alé Alé, shouting while looking at him, to break the tension, I shouted and so the others shouted too, they said things, words, phrases different uttered by all of us, that mixed into a sort of collective cheer, everyone shouted, for a moment, all together. We then all fell silent, recomposed. Hands into the pockets of our jackets, heels firmly dug into the snow. Within those shouts someone made out Take care. Someone had said Forza, you can do it. Our cooks had wished Inshallah. Tomasz and Pawel set off. They turned around and started walking quickly. Thirty metres later they disappeared behind a big boulder. Now they're on their way up."
The Poles have set off in the hope of using the good (alias acceptable) weather window. Tomorrow Moro and Göttler should set off, too. All are ascending via the 1976 route established by the Germans Hans Schell, Siegfried Gimpel, Robert Schauer and Hilmar Sturm. What lies in store is the unknown, comprised of cold, wind, and huge effort... all the unknown variables of an ascent they've dreamt about for ages. A joint dream. So much so that it seems almost taken for granted that the two teams will join forces after Camp 2 at 6400m. Camp 3, at 7000m, was already established on 30 January by Moro and Göttler.
If all goes well the summit could be reached on 11 February, more or less... In short, the long, difficult and fascinating journey is beginning to unfold. While on the other side of Nanga Parbat, on the Diamir Face, Italian Daniele Nardi is waiting for the best moment to head off towards the same summit... Good luck to all concerned!
To follow the expedition:
Facebook Emilo Previtali
Facebook Simone Moro