American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat, Winter Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Nanga Parbat, Winter Attempt. The aim of the expedition was to make a small, lightweight ascent of Nanga Parbat (8125 m) in December, 1996. We (Rafael Jensen and Victor Saunders, with Gulam Hassan, liaison officer) chose the Kinshofer route because the technical difficulties are mostly low down. The expedition was in two parts: a reconnaissance in November, and the attempt to climb the mountain in December separated by a visit to Islamabad to complete the bureaucratic formalities, and pick up our L.O., Gulam Hassan. Hassan was an old friend of Rafael’s who had climbed Gasherbrum I on his own account.

We fixed our Base Camp at a group of shepherds’ huts at approximately 3700 meters. The normal summer base at 4300 meters took us a short day’s trail breaking to reach. Rafael and I had heavy trail breaking across the Diamir Glacier, where we hauled three rucksacks each. The triple hauling was necessary because of the constant low temperatures (down to -30°C) and the amount of food we needed to deal with it. It took three days to carry our loads to the bottom of the route, and another three days to establish and occupy a camp at 5000 meters. We found the initial couloir of the Kinshofer slow going. Though there was deep snow on the glacier, the couloir itself was bare and icy. We experienced some stone fall, which may have been caused by the lack of snow at Camp II. It eventually became clear to us that this time we had bitten off more than we could chew, and we retreated from below 6000 meters.

Victor Saunders, United Kingdom

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