Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat, First Ladies-Only Ascent

Publication Year: 1986.

Nanga Parbat, First Ladies-Only Ascent. The first all-woman expedition to Nanga Parbat successfully climbed the mountain. The party consisted of Poland’s top women climbers: Dobroslawa Wolf, Anna Czerwinska, Krystyna Palmowska and Wanda Rutkiewicz. The doctor was Danielle Sierre of Switzerland. Base Camp was established on the Diamir Glacier on May 29 at 4200 meters. The ascent was made by the 4000-meter-high Diamir face, the German route of 1962. Four camps were set up: Camps I, II, III, and IV at 5000, 6100, 6850 and 7400 meters (the last in the Bazhin Basin) on June 1,4, 12 and July 5. The weather was unsettled and big snowfalls halted progress. The steep rock section below Camp II was difficult and provided exciting climbing, even though it was protected by old ropes and ladders. All camps were equipped unaided; the women carried loads of 20 to 25 kilos. There was much activity on the Diamir face; Japanese, German, Swiss and French parties were also present. On some days Camp I had ten tents! On July 8 the first summit ascents were made: Japanese Hiroshi Hanada and Mamoru Kikuchi and the French couple Bernard Muller and Laurence de la Ferrière. On July 9 or 10 a big avalanche swept Camp IV. On July 11 Dobroslawa Wolf, German Michael Dacher and Austrian Habeler bivouacked there and the next day attacked the summit. Habeler and Dacher stood on top, but Wolf started two hours later and could only reach P 8075 on the summit ridge. The weather deteriorated and she descended enveloped by dark clouds and snowfall. The three other Polish women rebuilt Camp IV and on July 13 made a summit attempt, but they were turned back by deep snow and poor weather. On July 15 Czerwinska, Palmowska and Rutkiewicz started at six A.M. The weather was bright but the fresh snow was very deep. Progress was slow. Unroped they reached the summit separately between 3:30 and 4:30 P.M. They descended to Camp IV. During the night the weather deteriorated once again. The descent in heavy snowfall, dark mist and knee- deep snow with heavy loads was the most difficult and most venturesome part of the expedition. The first woman to climb Nanga Parbat was Liliane Barrard and the second Laurence de la Ferrière, both climbing roped to their husbands. The Polish women had no male support or high-altitude porters. Three 8000ers have been climbed thus, all by Polish women: Gasherbrum II in 1975, Broad Peak in 1983 and now Nanga Parbat. For Wanda Rutkiewicz (Everest 1978) and Krystyna Palmowska (Broad Peak 1983) this was the second 8000er.

JÓZEF Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland