ISLAMABAD, Nov 20: Undeterred by its reputation of killer mountain and the unfortunate death of climbers in late June, expeditions were returning to capture Nanga Parbat this winter.
All three expeditions from Poland, Italy and Germany had got permission to climb the world’s ninth highest peak from the western end of the Himalayan Range ending in Pakistan.
Simone Moro, a respected name among the mountaineers, is leading the Italian expedition. He is known for his first ever winter ascents of three of the eight thousanders (peak above eight thousand metres), the Shisha Pangma in China in 2005, Makalu, on the border of Nepal and China in 2009 and then the Gasherbrum II in Pakistan in 2011.
German climber Ralf Dujmovits who is also attempting the Nanga Parbat this winter was also arriving into Pakistan with the Italians and the Poles in December.
In 2009, he became the 16th person in the world to have captured the peaks of all the 14 eight thousand plus mountains in the world. His wife Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, an Austrian mountaineer, became the second woman to climb the fourteen eight thousanders in 2011, and the first woman to do so without the use of supplementary oxygen or high altitude porters.
Member Executive Council, Alpine Federation of Pakistan, Karrar Haidri explained how Nanga Parbat was always more attractive for mountaineers than the other four eight thousand plus peaks.
“Since Nanga Parbat is situated in the open zone, far from the border, the climbers cannot hire a liaison officer from the armed forces. This saves the expeditions some $3, 000 to $3, 500,” said the official explaining how accessing the mountain was also the easiest, compared with the other four days hike from the road to its base camp.
Karrar Haidri elaborated on how the government reduced the royalty fees by five per cent in the winter from December to February only against the $7, 000 from a seven-member team in the summers.
Five expeditions attempted to summit the eight thousanders in the last winter December-February 2012-2013.
Although the Poles were successful by becoming the first ever climbers to win Broad Peak in March 2013, only two climbers returned safely to base camp to tell their story. The other two died above the 7, 000 meters death zone. The body of one of the climbers was recovered later in the summer. The other was believed to have fallen in a crevasse.
Nonetheless, the AFP has proposed to the Gilgit-Baltistan Council to wave off fees for all climbers whose attempts to Nanga Parbat were abruptly cancelled after the ten mountaineers were killed at its base camp in June, 2013.
“It is a fair thing to offer to the climbers who had to go through a difficult experience. The AFP will propose this at the GB Council meeting when it meets next week,” said Karrar Haidri.