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  Polish International Winter Nanga Parbat Expedition: Two New Updates


HiMountain Nanga Parbat Winter Expedition 2006/2007

Two New Updates

It’s time of Young Wolves from Tricity


Finally, the leader decided: “Tomorrow Robert and Przemek will go up” and so it happened, we formed a team – a swift two-person team from Tricity. We prepared in a modern style for the climbing action which was probable to last for a few days. Instead of tea in a vacuum flask we took isotonic drinks in two bottles, traditional Polish sweets and chocolate bars were replaced by energising jellies and power bars, on our wrists we had computerised watches counting time, altitude, heart rate, burnt calories. Everybody knows that “in the mountains it is not a power bar but the man that counts” (quote from the leader), but just in case... The only traditional element of our nutrition was frozen tripe.

We left the Base on 2nd December and after five boring hours of continuous effort (we had already done this part of the route three times) in full sun shine, we reached Camp 1. In Camp 1, we spent 2 days waiting for nice weather.

Radio news from our mates in Camp 2 (Artur Hajzer, Darek Załuski, Jacek Jawień) were not very promising – strong wind made any action above Camp 2 impossible, stable temperature in the ice cave of Camp 2 was minus 25°C, fingers without feeling were not good for motivation.
On 4th December, we set off in the direction of Camp 2. The plan was simple: the boys will leave Camp 2, set up Camp 3 and spend the night there and we will take the vacant place in Camp 2. Unfortunately, the plan failed. Somehow, wind was not familiar with the weather forecast and eventually it was the wind which was active above Camp 2, not the boys.
Our combat task was to collect all ropes and snow stakes left on the section between Camp 1 and Camp 2. We carried out this task with a smile on our lips and froth at our mouth.

On the traverse bypassing the already historic Wielicki Spur, we met Jacek, Darek and Artur who were returning to the Base Camp after spending three nights in C2. They were exhausted and unsatisfied with the bad weather which made their progress on Nanga impossible. After seven hours we reached Camp 2. We did not fancy a night inside the cave which was likely to collapse so we dug out a platform at the entrance to the cave and put up our tent on it. We spent the rest of the evening cooking, drinking and tasting delectable tripe.

The situation seemed to be a deadlock – there was no Camp 3, we were stuck in C2 waiting for a radio message from the leader, who on the same day reached Camp 1 together with Jacek Berbeka and Krzysztof Tarasiewicz. Being aware that we were not yet Himalayan Tigers, we were wondering what tasks could we perform. The leader decided that we were to carry ropes to the depot above Camp 2, then fix ropes on two pitches and return to Camp 1 or the Base Camp.

On 5th December, we came out of our tent, no feeling in our fingers indicated low temperature of air but sun rays were encouraging us to start climbing up, moreover the wind was co-operative this time. After two hours we had already passed the depot and we were busy fixing ropes. Finally, we could struggle on a section of the mountain which had not been climbed before by our friends. The new 200-meter-long section of the route done by our Tricity team is just a tiny episode in the whole Nanga Parbat battle but nevertheless it is a reason for our satisfaction and pride.

At 1 pm we started descending from the altitude of 6300m to the Base Camp – a height difference of 3000m. Unfortunately, we could not stay in Camp 2 for another night because the Wielicki-Berbera-Tarasewicz team took all the tent/sleeping bag places. Today (6th December), they are fighting to establish Camp 3. Our descend to the Base, after dusk, with strong wind obliterating all traces became a real epic, a story worth a novel. It is enough to mention that it was goat and sheep dung left on snow which saved our lives.

Summarising: during these 4 days of effort we burnt 5150 kcal, ascended 3093m, descended 3093m. We wish we had done more but the leader’s plans combined with bad weather decided our fate. There is still about 1500m of Nanga left to climb. The time of Young Tricity Wolves has only begun!!!

01/08/2007: Today a two-person team of Robert Szymczak i Przemysław Łoziński went up the mountain. They are assisted by a three-person team of porters: professional Ghulam Rasool and local “fast-trained” specialists Rahim and Kalb Ali.

Robert and Przemek were assigned numerous tasks for the next three days:
- to collect 300m ropes from the old variant on the “Wielicki Spur” (the bypass is already functioning)
- to transport the collected ropes to Camp 2,
- to help porters reach Camp 2,
- to move above Camp 2 and collect the bivy left at 6300m (tent, sleeping bags, stove),
- to set up Camp 3 at the end of fixed ropes at the altitude of 6800m (in the middle of the rocky ridge),
- to make a reconnaissance of the terrain above.
 
We keep our fingers crossed for Robert and Przemek. If they succeed to carry out at least 50% of the given tasks that will be great work and a big input into the efforts of the expedition.

Porters’ task is to reach Camp 2 for the first time. They are carrying light loads (11kg) – mainly ropes.

Earlier Update: It was a difficult night for the participants of the expedition in the Base Camp. Temperature fell down to minus 30°C. Despite lit gas lamps inside tents, it was difficult to keep warm in sleeping bags. Tents were covered with ice on the inside, “pillows” got frozen under heads.

At the same time, Krzysztof Wielicki - Jan Szulc and  Krzysztof Tarasewicz - Jacek Berbeka were in Camp 2 at 6150m. Today, Krzysztof wanted to reach the location of the future Camp 3 at c. 7000m. Krzysztof began climbing at 8 am and at 10 am reached the end of fixed ropes at 6400m. Here 400m of ropes (including about 100m of uncoiled ropes) were waiting for Krzysztof. The leader started fixing ropes, Jacek Berbeka was following him with new ropes. Krzysztof Tarasiewicz concentrated on unwinding and recoiling the knotted 100m of ropes. Jan Szulc started descending to the Base. During the day, the climbers managed to fix all the ropes except the knotted one. They reached an outstanding rocky ridge after climbing through difficult and steep snow-ice terrain. From there they descended to Camp 2 and on the 7th December they are planning their return to the Base Camp.

According to radio report from Krzysztof Wielicki, the rocky ridge is not steep and on the nearest section it will not require fixing ropes. The weather and conditions on the 6th December were very good as for the winter – and what was most important there was no wind. Krzysztof expressed an opinion that he was not entirely satisfied with the effects of the day and the progress achieved. He still believes that it will be a very long way before we reach Camp 3. Probably he will reveal more details after he returns to the Base.

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