American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat North, Diamir Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

Nanga Parbat North, Diamir Face. Our expedition was organized by the Section for High-mountain Research of the Slovak Geographical Society and the Sports Club lames in Bratislava. The scientific research team studied the adaptation to high altitudes and the occurrence and prevention of high-altitude illness as well as collecting botanical, entomological and geological specimens. We left Islamabad on May 25 and after eleven days established Base Camp in the Diamir Valley at 13,125 feet. After reconnaissance, Camp I was placed at 15,900 feet on June 7 at the site used by Germans in 1961 and 1962, Japanese in 1976 and Americans in 1977. From there our routes differed. We traversed to the foot of the west face which rises from the Diamir Glacier directly up to the northern summit of Nanga Parbat. Our expedition put Camp II on the face at 16,900 feet on June 9. While this camp was being supplied, the route was being prepared further. On June 18 Camp III was established at 18,875 feet. We reached 19,350 feet on June 18, 20,000 feet on June 19 and 20,850 feet on June 21. Camp IV was pitched on June 23 at 21,150 feet above the most complicated part of the route technically. In this section, some 4750 vertical feet, we fixed 6500 feet of rope in mixed ice and rock. The wall reached a maximum of 60° between 20,350 and 20,675 feet. This was the key section to the whole ascent. Gradually the face became prevailingly water-ice and heat-loosened stones which made the ascent dangerous. Rockfall directly threatened Camps II and III and both were hit. At last Camp III was almost wiped out by rockfall on June 26. Unfortunately Camp III was pitched in the only possible site. Rockfall threatened the whole ascent. Ropes were destroyed several times and they had to be constantly repaired or replaced. On June 24 the first summit attempt was made by Andrej Belica, Gejza Haak, Joseph Just and Marián Zatko, but they retreated from 23,625 feet because of the insufficient acclimatization and illness of one member. Everyone had to descend to Base Camp because of bad weather from June 27 to 30. On June 30, Belica, Just and the brothers Dr. Juraj and Marian Zátko left Base Camp and reached Camp II. On July they climbed the face to Camp III, where a tent had been destroyed and two had to bivouac. On July 2 they surmounted the wall to Camp IV. Starting at two A.M. on the 3rd the team climbed a vertical altitude of 3300 feet in one day and established Camp V, where one member had again to bivouac. On July 4 the team set out at 1:30 up mixed terrain for the summit. At seven A.M. they reached the edge of the Silver Plateau and stood on the summit of Nanga Parbat’s north peak (25,644 feet) at eight A.M. The whole expedition left the mountain on July 5 and Base Camp on July 8. Other members of the expedition were Dr. Milan Šimunic, Zoltán Demján, Dr. Rudolf Mock, Stanislav Marton, Peter Valovic and I as leader.

MariÁn Šajnoha, Telvýchovná Jednota lames, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.