GILGIT: This winter’s first expedition team comprising two Pakistani and two European mountaineers and accompanied by 75 local porters on Sunday started developing a new route to climb the killer Nanga Parbat peak.

Meanwhile, two foreign expeditions will attempt to climb K2 this winter, both starting in early January, 2019.

The first Nanga Parbat expedition team comprises team leader, famous Italian climber Daniele Nardi, British climber Tom Bellard, and Karim Hayat and Rahat Baig, the two Pakistani climbers.

Alpine Adventure Guides Pakistan has organised the first winter expedition of this season, Ali Mohammad Saltoro, the tour operator of the expedition, told Dawn. He said aim of the expedition was to develop new route to climb Nanga Parbat.

The expedition arrived in Chilas on Sunday, and would reach Nanga Parbat base camp on Monday to prepare for the adventure.

Mr Saltoro said completion of the adventure depended on weather forecast.

It takes one month or more to develop new route on the hardest face of Nanga Parbat on Mummery Spur.

Many foreign expedition teams in past attempted to scale Nanga Parbat in winter, however, three out of five members from two different expedition teams, including Ali Sadpara from Pakistan, made the first winter summit on Feb 26, 2016.

This will be the fifth attempt by Daniel Nardi, who in his Facebook post said, ‘the journey has begun, we don’t have plan B to summit Nanga Parbat, main focus is to develop new route on Mummery Spur’.

Ali Saltoro said the expedition would be helpful for promotion of winter tourism in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, two foreign expedition teams are scheduled to arrive in Pakistan in first week of January next year to climb K2, the second highest peak in the world.

According to experts climbing any peak in winter is all about coping with gusts. Any 8,000-meter climb will have to negotiate wind gusts of over 40mph/65kph, which is virtually impossible.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018