Winter expeditions: After storm and snowfall, before the ascent?

This is how it often looked on K2 over the past few days

The “torture of climbers” is coming to an end. For almost two weeks, the members of the winter expeditions on the eight-thousanders K2 and Nanga Parbat in Pakistan were more or less condemned to do nothing because of the adverse weather conditions. Hardly anything is worse for mountaineers, who are always drawn outside and up. But strong wind and snowfall prevented ascents into high altitudes. In K2 Base Camp, the team of Spanish expedition leader Alex Txikon built a 1.80 meter high and 20 centimeter wide ice wall in front of the tents to protect themselves against the expected hurricane gusts. A good idea. Wind speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour were measured (see Alex’ video below) .

Highest point reached so far: 7,150 meters

For the next days, calmer and dry winter weather is predicted on K2. Until Tuesday the wind is expected to blow with 30 to 40 km/h in the summit region. At least further ascents for better acclimatization should be possible. Before the bad weather front struck, the team of the Kazakh expedition leader Vassiliy Pivtsov had climbed on the normal route via the Southeast Ridge up to an altitude of about 7,150 meters, not quite to the upper end of the so-called “Black Pyramid”. Txikon’s crew had not climbed beyond Camp 2 at 6,700 meters.

So far, both teams have been working independently of each other. Pivtsov and Co. have meanwhile received reinforcement from the three Kazakh climbers Ildar Gabbasov, Ahat Smailov and Amaner Temirbayev. The team from Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan now consists of ten members. Txikon climbs with his Spanish compatriot Felix Criado, the Pole Pawel Dunaj and five Sherpas from Nepal.

“Just a little bit of luck”

Fresh snow on Nanga Parbat

The winter expedition team on Nanga Parbat has decreased to only two mountaineers. The Italian Daniele Nardi and the British Tom Ballard want to completely climb the striking “Mummery Rib” in the Diamir Face for the first time and from there reach the summit at 8,125 meters. The last few days have brought some fresh snow again. “There is no lack of confidence, we just need a little luck. And then we’ll start again,” Daniele said today at the base camp. Better weather is also expected on Nanga Parbat in the coming days.

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