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Climbers resume efforts to scale K2, Nanga Parbat as weather improves

GILGIT: Three foreign expedition teams, which are attempting to scale the world’s second highest peak K2 and the ‘killer mountain’ Nanga Parbat, resumed their journey as the weather started to clear on Saturday.

For the last five days, weather conditions at high altitudes had worsened with blowing winds and continuous snowfall creating hindrances for the climbers.

However, the climbers are now optimistic about scaling K2 and Nanga Parbat before the winter season ends.

Elena Laletina, official secretary of the one of the teams — Russian K2 expedition 2019 — told Dawn that the team was at 5,800 metres altitude close to Camp 1.

The seven-member K2 expedition team is led by Vassiliy Pivtsov from Kazakhstan. Its other members are Artem, Roman Abildaev and Konstantin Shepelin from Russia, Michael Danichkin from Kyrgyzstan, Tursunali Aubakirov and Dmitry Muraviov from Kazakhstan.

“The weather’s fine. They’re going to transfer Camp 1 to 6,200 metres altitude and are fixing ropes to establish Camp 2 at 6,700m altitude,” she said.

Tour operator Asghar Ali Porik told Dawn that the expedition was in progress now. The team was expected to establish Camp 4 till the end of this month, and if weather conditions allowed, they would aim for the summit in February.

According to the Russian winter K2 expedition 2019 official Facebook page, the team was climbing through the Abruzzi route. It said 16 climbers were now at the advanced base camp which is at the beginning of the Abruzzi route.

The other team, headed by Alex Txikon from Spain, comprises Felix Criado from Spain, Marek Klonowski and Pawel Dunaj from Poland and five Nepalese Sherpas. They began to climb K2 through the Abruzzi route from the advanced base camp on Saturday.

In a Twitter post, team leader Alex wrote: “I love Pakistan. I have been coming here since I was in my twenties and I feel it like my home. Is a different culture, but very special. I would love to come back all my life.”

The two teams had arrived at K2 base camp last Saturday.

The Nanga Parbat expedition team is led by Daniele Nardi from Italy. Its other members are Thomas Ballard from the United Kingdom and Rehmatullah Baig and Karim Hayat from Pakistan. They resumed their journey on Saturday as well through the new route of Mummery Spur.

The team was at Camp 3 last week but weather conditions at Nanga Parbat were not favourable for climbing. Intermittent heavy snowfall and winds at high altitudes were creating difficulties for the team.

Rahmatullah Baig told Dawn through satellite communications early on Saturday that they were at the base camp where it had been snowing heavily for the past five days. However, now the conditions are improving and they are waiting for the weather to get better to continue their mission.

Their tour operator Muhammad Ali Saltoro told Dawn that the climbers at Nanga Parbat had approached Camp 2 once again.

There are communication facilities with the expedition members, who have been provided with solar generators to charge electronic devices, including cell phones and satellite internet.

Last year on this day, Polish climber Tomek Mackiewicz and French Elisabeth Revol had jointly summited the Nanga Parbat (8,125 metres).

However, soon after the summit, the two climbers faced frostbite and snow blindness. Elisabeth Revol was rescued but Tomek was presumed dead. It was his fifth attempt to climb Nanga Parbat in winter.

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