LAHORE (Staff Report) – History has been made, as mountaineers from Pakistan, Spain and Italy have managed to scale the feared Nanga Parbat for the first time in the winter season.
Ali Sadpara has become the first Pakistani to scale Nanga Parbat in winters. He has done this with Alex Txikon (Spain) and Simone Moro (Italy), said Karrar Haidri, a spokesman of the Alpine Club of Pakistan.
A fourth climber, Tamara Lunger of Spain, stopped just short of the summit for reasons which were not immediately known.
At 8,126 metres (26,660 feet) Nanga Parbat is the world’s ninth highest mountain. It earned its grisly nickname of ‘Killer Mountain’ after more than 30 climbers died trying to conquer it before the first successful summit in 1953 in addition to claiming a number of mountaineers since.
Along with K-2, Nanga Parbat was among the last of the 14 eight-thousanders which had not been climbed in winter.
The four climbers camped on the mountain’s Rupal face from at least mid-December, braving extreme weather including a number of snow storms, avalanches, high winds and freezing temperatures.
The Rupal Face, rising more than 4,000m from base to top, presents one of the most difficult – and tantalising – challenges in climbing.
In the weeks leading up to the summit, they had tried multiple times but the weather, including heavy snow and high winds had pushed them back. But they held on hoping another window would present itself soon.
Sadpara, who has climbed Nanga Parbat twice in summer, was leading the Spanish climber and Italian Daniele Nardi over the Kinshofer route but suffered from altitude sickness and took a wrong turn which took them to a dead end and left the climbers with no other choice but to return just a few hundred meters from the summit.
But history fortunately did not repeat itself on Friday as Sadpara, Txikon and Moro managed to reach the summit at a little after half past two in the afternoon.
“We, Simone and Tamara’s team, want to say that we are HAPPY & PROUD of the all 4 athletes!!! And we look for a direct contact to them when they will be at C4,” a statement on Moro’s Facebook page followed.
By Friday evening, Txikon wrote on his Twitter page that all four climbers had managed to return to camp IV, and after resting will continue their descent on Saturday.
— Alex Txikon (@AlexTxikon) February 26, 2016
In 2013 gunmen shot dead nine foreign climbers and their Pakistani guide at the Nanga Parbat base camp – one American with dual Chinese citizenship, two other Chinese, three Ukrainians, two Slovakians, one Lithuanian and one Nepalese.
A Pakistani guide was also killed. However, the attack had failed to dissuade climbers who have returned to attempt the summit for each of the successive seasons.