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Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat, Mazeno Ridge Attempt

Nanga Parbat, Mazeno Ridge Attempt. The 1995 attempt began when all the team assembled in Islamabad on July 17. We were Wojciech Kurtyka (Poland), Andrew Lock (Australia), Rick Allen, Sandy Allan and myself (UK), and also Steven Thomas, who was going to join us on the approach. On July 29 we arrived at the higher Mazeno Base Camp (4850 meters). After a rest day we set off to acclimatize on the route of 1992, reaching the pinnacle at 5630 meters, where we cached our climbing gear and retreated to Base Camp. On August 2 we returned to the pinnacle and climbed to P 5900 meters. I was not a well man, suffering from heat exhaustion and an operation earlier in the year on my knee. On August 5, I made the decision to retire from the expedition. On August 6 I walked out. On August 6 Sandy, Rick, Wojciech and Andy climbed past the previous high point and traversed the pinnacles of the north/south ridge to bivouac at 6000 meters. On August 7, with Sandy having a headache, the other three descended to the previous tent site and ferried up food, gas and gear to the new camp. With heavy snow falling the next day, the team reluctantly descended. On August 11, Sandy decided to leave the expedition. The three remaining members went back up to 5900 meters and the next day they climbed up the steep ice slopes, over the first and second domes, to bivouac in a cwm just below the crest of the ridge at 6700 meters. On August 13, in cold, clear weather, they reached the actual crest of the Mazeno Ridge, then continued along the ridge for one and a half hours, leaving a cache before weather forced them to retreat to their bivouac at 6700 meters. (This was the day of the fatal storm on K2 when Alison Hargreaves and others were tragically killed.) On August 14 the trio descended to Base Camp. They spent the next five days at Base Camp waiting for the weather to improve. On August 20 they climbed up to bivouac at 6400 meters and on August 21 they bivouacked at 6700 meters in heavy snowfall. On August 22 they continued along the ridge on the south side of the first rock pinnacle in white-out conditions. They turned the second rock pinnacle on the north and continued up snow slopes to the crest of the third Mazeno peak. Here they carved out a bivy ledge at 7000 meters in a hollow on the north side of the ridge, overlooking the Diamir Glacier. On August 23 they ascended a knife-edge snow arete onto the summit of Mazeno 3. After an hour and a half they had only gone 50 meters. They had four days’ food left, and maybe five days’ gas, and in front of them was much precarious ground. They decided to retreat for the night to the bivouac at 6700 meters. On August 24 they descended all the way down to Base Camp and the next day began the return trip to Rawalpindi.

Doug Scott, Alpine Climbing Group