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Mar 182019
Winter K2 Attempt Over - Can It Ever Be Done?

With little fanfare, Alex Txikon and team returned to K2 Base Camp yesterday thus ending the only remaining team aiming for the first winter K2 summit this winter. Not a surprise, big winds stopped the climb as it did for the Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan team earlier this month. To keep this in perspective, the two teams this year marked the fifth and sixth winter attempt on K2 while over on nearby Nanga Parbat, 31 teams made winter attempts before one was successful in 2016; the second to last 8000er to succumb to a winter summit. K2 remains alone. The first continue reading

Mar 142019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: K2 Summit Bid Underway - Update 2

UPDATE 2: 16 March 2019: They established their Camp 3 at 7,050-meters a bit short of traditional C3 at 7,200-meters/24,000-feet. This is just over the crest of the Black Pyramid.  They report the winds are extremely strong but they will continue to climb towards the summit if the weather allows. The next day will be critical as it gets into a fairly open area until they reach the Bottleneck, where a different set of challenges emerge. Tomorrow’s wind chill will be -50C/-50F. They sound optimistic but realistic. UPDATE: 15 March 2019: They are just below House Chimney, slightly lower than traditional continue reading

Mar 132019
Everest 2019: Climbers to Watch

Everest has become what I call a formula climb these days with almost all the expeditions following the same route, same acclimatization formula and using the same ropes. However there are always a few climbers each season that seek to break this mold and do something unique. 2019 is no different. This season we have few interesting characters that I’ll be following closely and reporting on. I’ve already made contact with some of them. Cory Richards and Topo Mena – New Route Attempt While there are about 17 named routes on Everest, it’s rare for a new route to be continue reading

Mar 092019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: Nardi's and Ballard's Bodies Identified on Nanga Parbat

After no contact for 14 days plus hundreds of hours of searching by telescope, on foot, from helicopter and drone, the official search ended today for Italian Daniel Nardi, 42, and British Tom Ballard, 31, on the 8000-meter Pakistan peak, Nanga Parbat. The families authorized the release of a photo taken a few days earlier by Spanish climber Alex Txikon from base camp showing their bodies positioned in a small rock gulley, behind a rocky spur at approximately 5,900-meters/19,356-feet on the Mummery spur. This was a bit higher than their Camp 3 location. It is reported that there will be continue reading

Mar 072019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: 2 "shapes" Spotted on Nanga, K2 Team Near C4

There was a lot of buzz today but followers of the search for Nardi and Ballard on Nanga Parbat were left unsure what the communications means. On K2, the Russian lead K2 team made slow progress and stopped for the night below Camp 4 but are still hopeful they can summit soon. “Objects” Sighted on Nanga The Italian ambassador based in Pakistan, Stefano Pontecorvo, tweeted that Alex Txikon and his team spotted two figures or “silhouettes” low on the Mummery Rib late yesterday. Txikon was using a high-powered telescope from the base camp to make one last visual survey of their continue reading

Mar 062019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: Search Draws Down for Nanga Climbers, K2 Team at C3

Another disappointing day on Nanage Parbat. The Russian lead K2 team made good progress and are hopeful they can summit soon. Search Draws Down on Nanaga Several sites are reporting that the search has officially ended for Nanga Parbat climbers Tom Ballard and Daniel Nardi. But the official page acknowledges today’s search on the Kinshofer route, which is to the climbers left of the Mummery Spur, yielded no positive results but the search continues. It appears the families have asked for another, perhaps last, search Thursday in an area of the spur that is sheltered from avalanches. K2 climbers Alex Txikon continue reading

Mar 052019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: K2 Winds, Nanga Search to 6500M

The search on Nanga Parbat has made progress with searchers on the Mummery Rib using drones, however, no sign of Tom or Daniel at the end of Tuesday, March 5, 21019. The searchers will look on the Kinshofer route on Wednesday. The K2 teams have been stopped near Camp 3 and Camp 1 by high winds, once again. Nanga Search Overview It has now been 9 days since Nanga Parbat climbers Tom Ballard and Daniel Nardi went missing and their last sat phone communication with base camp. By now there have been multiple searches using helicopters with trained mountaineers and continue reading

Mar 042019
Everest 2019: New Route Attempt on Everest

This spring Everest season, something rare will take place – an attempt on a new route. According to Everest historian, Jochen Hemmleb, the last time a new route was successfully completed was the Korean line on the left side of the Southwest Face (Southwest Face to West Ridge) in 2009, 10 years ago. And for the statistics, the following year Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner was the first to climb the North Col from the West and continue all the way to the summit. Two well known and seasoned climbers, Cory Richards and Esteban “Topo” Mena, will join forces to attempt a natural line continue reading

Mar 032019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: K2 Resumes, Nanga Search Update

The search on Nanga Parbat continues to suffer delays, mostly weather related. On K2 one team has left to help on Nanga, similar to last year, while another is climbing towards the summit, weather permitting. This week will close many open questions. Nanga Search Overview It has now been a week since Nanga Parbat climbers Tom Ballard and Daniel Nardi went missing. Repeated attempts to use Pakistan quasi-military helicopters have been thwarted by low clouds, or heavy snow. Bureaucratic issues have taken precious time away from the search due to the helicopter operations requiring cash upfront before launching missions. Ground continue reading

Mar 012019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: No Sign of Nanga Climbers

Update on missing Nanga Parbat climbers Tom Ballard and Daniel Nardi. In spite of two helicopter passes plus a foot search to Camp 1, there is no sign of the climbers. They have now been missing almost 6 days, and last heard from on Sunday, February 24th. The weather has hampered further air searches. A helicopter search on Friday, March 1, was cancelled due to poor weather. Plus, as is normal in Pakistan, payment (perhaps 30% of the total estimated bill) must be made before a helicopter search begins and that created some delays. The Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo had continue reading

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