Nanga Parbat at 8,126 meters (26,660 ft), is the world's
9th tallest mountain (and the second tallest in Pakistan). Known as the Naked Mountain,
Nanga Parbat first attracted climbers in 1895.
That first expedition claimed the lives of three climbers. A total of 31
climbers died on the mountain before Hermann Buhl made the first ascent (July
3, 1953). During that time the mountain earned its second nick name, "The Killer
By the end of the 2007 climbing season, the mountain had
been climbed 276 times, with 64 climbers having lost their lives. In keeping
with mountaineering's most notorious statistic (the death-to-summit ratio),
Nanga Parbat ranks up there with K2 (both at
Six Americans have made the summit. It is our hope to put
six more on the top, including the first American woman. For Chris Warner, the
expedition leader, this is a dream team. All of us have been friends for years.
Four of us are mountaineering guides, working for Earth Treks . All of us have
climbed together before. The driving force for this trip wasn't a summit, but
an excuse to share an adventure.
We chose Nanga Parbat
because it offers all we need: a great, big, technically challenging mountaineering
objective in an exotic location. We hope to capture the spirit of the climb in
both our dispatches and filming. We hope that this website allows you to feel a
little bit of the cold winds and steep terrain.
We will be climbing the Kinshoffer Route on the mountain's Diamir
Face. Pioneered in 1962, the Kinshoffer ascends a buttress on the left side of
the face. Base camp is located in a grassy meadow (the lowest base camp on any
of the 8000 meter peaks) at 13,800 feet. Camp 1 is at the base of the buttress,
about three hours from base camp. To get to C1 (16,500), we will cross a flat
glacier and climb through a small ice fall.
The route to C2 is brutal. We leave the protection of C1,
rounding a corner and entering a 3000 foot tall couloir. This snow choked gully
system slices through the rocky buttress. The slopes steepen to 50 degrees. Where
the couloir reaches the ridge crest, the route turns left and then heads
straight up. The final 300 feet to the camp is up the Kinshoffer Step, a band
of vertical cliffs. The first ascensionists pounded hundreds of pitons into the
cracks, clipping steel caving ladders in an endless chain. Since then many of
the ladder sections have broken off, but where they still exist, we will dangle
from them. Where there are no ladders, we'll search for tiny holds for our
fingers and crampon points.
Camp 2 (20,000 feet) is placed on a knife-edged ridge. The
view from the tent door is a few thousand feet straight down to the valley
bottom. This ridge twists and rises in an ever steepening and gradually
narrowing line, eventually smashing into a 65 degree wall of ice. At the top of
the ice wall the mountain suddenly flattens. On that flat spot, about as big as
the infield of a baseball field, we'll place Camp 3 (21,500 feet).
The route to C4 takes up 35-45 degree snow slopes, which we
eventually traverse into the Bazhin Gap. Camp is established at 24,000 feet.
The Bazhin Gap is relatively flat, but wide. The traverse to
the summit pyramid is nearly a mile. The summit pyramid is 2000 feet tall, with
an average slope of 40 degrees. The summit itself is a sliver of a ridge, some
13,000 above base camp.