American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat, Diamir Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963

Nanga Parbat, Diamir Face. Another expedition led by Dr. Karl M. Herrligkoffer returned to and climbed the 13,000-foot-high Diamir (northwest) face of Nanga Parbat (26,600 feet), where they had made a brilliant reconnaissance to 23,450 feet in 1961. (See AAJ 1962, 13:1, pp. 280-1.) This was a new route and the second ascent of Nanga Parbat, first climbed by Hermann Buhl on June 3, 1953. The climbers followed the route reconnoitered the year before. After establishing Base Camp at 13,800 feet on May 28, they advanced to Camp I at 16,400 feet three days later. For 3300 feet above, there was no spot where camp was possible on the technically difficult and avalanche-swept ice slope. Camp II was pitched at 19,700 feet on June 8, but stocking this camp prevented until June 17 their ascent up only slightly less difficult ice to Camp III at 21,650 feet. On June 20 they continued another 1000 feet upwards before traversing onto the somewhat gentler slopes of the Bazhin Glacier to set up Camp IV at 23,300 feet, really more of a bivouac without sleeping bags and air mattresses. Some 2300 feet above them at 25,630 feet lay Bazhin Col, where their route joined Buhl’s. After a day of storm, at one a.m. on June 22 Toni Kinshofer, Siegfried Löw, Anderl Mannhardt and Manfred Sturm left for the summit, leaving Michl Anderl in support. Sturm soon fell behind and had to return, but the other three kept on, without oxygen. Above the col, which they reached at nine a.m., they had unpleasant, verglas-covered rock. At the Great Tower there were two rope-lengths of Class V climbing. A cornice later broke under Löw, but his companions held his fall. Then the climbing became easier and at five P.M. they reached the summit. Löw, whose feet were already numb with frostbite and who was feeling weak as the effect of his pervitin pills began to wear off, suffered especially in the bivouac 250 feet below the summit. The next morning, after passing the Great Tower, they unroped and started climbing downward more directly than on the ascent. Löw lagged behind and while Kinshofer was climbing back up towards him, fell past and out onto the glacier. Badly hurt, he was cared for by Kinshofer while Mannhardt hurried down past empty Camp IV to Camp III for help. When Löw died at 8:30 P.M., Kinshofer staggered on downward but fell exhausted into the snow for the night and reached Camp III only the next morning. With his companions he continued on to Camp II for the night and descended to Base Camp the day after. Other members of the party were Rudolf Marek and Hubert Schmiedbauer.

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