American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Himalaya, Nanga Parbat Range, Nanga Parbat, Attempted First Winter Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007

Nanga Parbat, attempted first winter ascent. A strong, primarily Polish expedition failed to make the first winter ascent of any 8,000m peak in Pakistan, when fierce winds forced it to abandon an attempt on Nanga Parbat (8,125m) in January 2007. Led by the world’s most accomplished high-altitude winter mountaineer, Krzysztof Wielicki, the expedition attempted the southeast (Rupal) side of the mountain via the Schell Route, which broadly follows the spur forming the left edge of the Rupal Face till it reaches the vicinity of the Mazeno Col at 6,940m, below the final section of Nanga Parbats west-southwest ridge.

The team established base camp on December 9 at 3,500m and Camp 1 a few days later at 5,100m. There was far more snow than expected, and the climbers planned a traditional approach, fixing 3,000m of rope and placing well-stocked camps. They established Camp 2 on December 23 at 6,100m in temperatures below -30°C. Wielicki, who turned 57 during the expedition, pushed out ropes to 6,800m in early January, and Przemyslaw Lozinski and Robert Szymczak later established Camp 3 there. However, severe winds prevented further progress, and on January 17 the decision was made to abandon the mountain.

There have been several genuine (i.e. calendar) winter attempts on Nanga Parbat, the best to date by another Polish expedition on the Damir Face. On February 11, 1997, Krzysztof Pankiewiez and Zbigniew Trzmiel retreated just 250m below the summit with severe frostbite.

Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, CLIMB Magazine

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