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Asia, Pakistan, Nanga, Diamir, Kinshofer Route, First British Ascent

Nanga Parbat, Diamir Face, Kinshofer Route, First British Ascent. Ours was a small expedition consisting of Ghazala Ahmad, my wife and expedition doctor, David Walsh and me. Also with us were Kevin Higgins and Ian Hilton during our acclimatization. We arrived at Base Camp on June 27 and almost immediately were deserted by our liaison officer, Najeeb Ahmad Khan. Najeeb had similarly abandoned a German expedition in 1989. Fortunately Ghazala’s command of Urdu meant we were not hindered by his disappearance. We made several training climbs on the surrounding peaks. After three weeks at the foot of Nanga Parbat, on July 15 Walsh, Ghazala and I moved up to Advance Base at 5100 meters. On the 16th, Walsh and I set out alpine-style with six days of food and fuel and a bare minimum of equipment. We bivouacked at 5900 meters. We passed Koreans on the second morning at a camp littered with trash. On Day 3, we climbed through a snowstorm on ice as steep as the roof of a church. On Day 4, we made a long curving, sickle-shaped traverse which brought us onto easier ground in the Bazhin Basin. On the evening of Day 5, we had reached the base of the summit trapezoid at 7200 meters. Our previous bivouacs had been at 6150, 6400 and 6800 meters. On July 21, we set out at four A.M. enveloped in cloud. We plodded on endlessly. At noon the clouds parted to reveal the mouth of a narrow snow-filled gully cutting the final rocks and we could continue slow upward progress. Finally, at 4:30 P.M. we were on the summit, six days after crossing the bergschrund. In a little over two hours in the grey twilight we collapsed into our tent at the last bivouac site. We descended during the next days to 6900 meters, then to 6000 meters and arrived at Base Camp on July 24.

Roger Mear, Alpine Climbing Group