Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat, Rupal Face

Publication Year: 1971.

Nanga Parbat, Rupal Face. Nanga Parbat (26,660 feet) has now been climbed three times, each time by an expedition led by Dr. Karl Maria Herrligkoffer and each time by a different route. Each ascent has been followed by the most awesome dissent between the members of the expedition and also in mountaineering circles. On each of the last two ascents one of the summit climbers has died during the descent. Herrligkoffer led previous expeditions, in 1964 and 1968, on the Rupal face, one of the world’s highest from base to top. In 1970 the other members of the party were Michl Anderl, deputy leader, Peter Scholz, Gerhard Mändl, Hans Saler, Günter Kroh, Dr. Hermann Kühn, Peter Vogeler, Gerhard Baur, Jürgen Winkler, Reinhold and Günther Messner, Werner Haim, Felix Kuen, Wolf-Dietrich Bitterling and Alice von Hobe. Base Camp was established at 12,000 feet on May 15. The route explored on the two previous expeditions was followed. By June 26 Camp V at 23,625 feet was established and all in readiness for the summit attempt. At noon on the 26th Herrligkoffer conferred by radio with Reinhold Messner. Gerhard Baur, Reinhold and Günther Messner would climb that afternoon to Camp V beyond radio contact. If the weather report was good, Herrligkoffer would send up a blue rocket and the climbers would prepare the ropes in the difficult Merkl Gully. If the weather report was bad, a red rocket would be fired and Reinhold Messner would race solo for the summit while his brother Günther and Baur fixed what ropes they could for his return down the gully. That night, unaccountably, a red rocket was fired despite a good weather report. Reinhold Messner set out at three A.M. on June 27 with no rope and only two space blankets, extra clothing and dried fruit. He compared the not inconsiderable difficulties to the north face of the Matterhorn. Baur and Günther Messner were out shortly after dawn to fix ropes. In a fit of rage at a rope salad, Günther hurled the rope down and stormed up after his brother, who was at the top of the couloir. Together they climbed the long traverse that led to the right under the southern shoulder to the top of the shoulder and at five P.M. they reached the summit of Nanga Parbat. They descended to bivouac at about 26,000 feet just above the Merkl Gully. Günther’s condition was rapidly deteriorating and rather than risk an unroped descent down the gully, they headed down the Diamir face. By nightfall they were down to 20,500 feet on the Mummery Rib. At dawn they continued on down. Reinhold went ahead. After waiting some time for Günther, he returned to look for him. Apparently Günther had been buried by an ice avalanche. After hours of fruitless search Reinhold staggered on down on frost-bitten feet. Finally he found a shepherd who gave him his first food in three days. He struggled on, finally had to be carried and eventually was picked up by a Jeep, which took him towards Gilgit. Meanwhile, on June 27 Felix Kuen and Peter Scholz had moved up to Camp V. They set out shortly after midnight on the 28th and reached the summit late in the afternoon. After a planned bivouac, they descended the Merkl Gully, now in part fixed with ropes. On the ascent this pair had had a shouted conversation with Reinhold Messner and heard of their plans to descend the Diamir face but were completely unable to give them any help.

Rinzho Gol and Gordoghan Gol Regions. The Todorei Hindu Raj Expedition was made up of Chuji Sato, Toyoo Yamamoto, Yasuo Yaguchi and Miss Shuko Kuribayashi. On July 14 Yakuchi, Yamamoto and Miss Kuribayashi climbed P 5100 (16,733 feet) above the Rinzho Gol. On July 17 they all climbed another peak of 5500 meters or 18,045 feet just northeast. Both are southwestern outliers of Shupel Zom West. After crossing the Phargham An (16,588 feet) on July 27 they climbed high on Gordoghan Zom (20,473 feet) and found a note left by the Hosei University expedition in 1968 though they were still distant from the summit. It therefore appears that the highest point reached by either party was the shoulder of the peak. On August 2 Sato, Yaguchi and Yamamoto climbed Sohnyoan Zom (18,455 feet), east of the head of the Sohnyoan Glacier.

Ichiro Yoshizawa, A. A.C. and Japanese Alpine Club