American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat, Rupal Face Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1981

Nanga Parbat, Rupal Face Attempt. On May 30 Alan and Adrian Burgess, Graham Drinkwater, Jon Jones, Randy Morse and I established Base Camp at 17,000 feet in the meadows of Tap Alpe. After reconnaissance, we established Advance Base at 14,000 feet at the foot of the south-southwest glacier. The immediate difficulty of the ensuing icefall meant that porters could not be used higher. On June 5 Camp I was placed at 15,500 feet. The first crisis struck on June 6 when Drinkwater fell ill with high-altitude pulmonary oedema. We all descended to Base Camp with him. Jones returned with him to Gilgit and put him on a plane for Rawalpindi. We other four went back up to Camp I on June 9. The next section to 20,000 feet was the crux of the climb and involved steep icy gullies and a final rock buttress. We fixed rope and on June 22 Alan Burgess and I occupied Camp II. The next day Adrian Burgess and Jones arrived with the news that Morse had dysentery and had left for Europe. A typical Nanga Parbat storm blew up and after two days of holding the tents down, we descended to Base Camp. On June 29 we started to reascend but in very unsettled weather. On July 3 we carried to 22,000 feet but on the 4th Jones announced that he did not feel strong enough to continue. The Burgesses and I moved to Camp III, where it stormed for several days. On July 7 we moved up 1000 feet to sleep in a snow cave. The following day a steep snow slope was crossed and steepening rocky ground led to Camp IV at 25,000 feet. July 9 was a rest day. At first light on July 10 we left Camp IV. After descending a short rock wall to a snow basin, some 400 yards across, we traversed to reach a slabby rock buttress descending from the ridge. After attempting three possibilities, we concluded that we had to follow just below the ridge. The snow was by then so soft that we descended to Camp IV. That night a ferocious storm broke. The retreat began. The monsoon had come. We left Base Camp on July 14.

Paul Moores, Alpine Climbing Group

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