Lack of resources is one of the crucial constraints that the duo might be facing during their dangerous summit push for the Nanga winter summit. They have been atop the Messner-2000 route and have reportedly pushed Camp-3 a little further up to facilitate a quick charge to the summit whenever possible.
There are no confirmed reports of their location or status as both are not on the GPS of any sort, making it impossible to ascertain their status.
This was the post on Tomek’s Facebook page on January 21st , 2200 PST possibly from the page administrators;
“Dear Tomek's friends. I am unable to communicate with him at the moment. I do not know their current position and altitude. They operate up on the mountain. According to the recent information that I have they plan the summit push around Wednesday, which corresponds with the forecasts. The wind will significantly decrease these days. We'll get some information probably at the end of the week. Please be patient. Full of trust and hope waiting. They are fine. 💚 Fingers crossed.”
In the early hours of 19th, the duo launched of what was affirmed as the ‘first and final” summit push that they will ever launch in this expedition. They later had to retreat from higher altitude due to fatigue and high winds. There are no GPS location or trackers and most of the chroniclers who are monitoring their forward march have been relying on weather reports to tally their possible summit attempt.
If these conflicting reports are to be relied on, both climbers are currently risking everything for this expedition. Camped somewhere close 7300m just below the summit dome can be fatal in the next two days as the wind speed is likely to gain strength in wake of the deteriorating weather.
Both climbers have no arrangements for backup support in terms of SAR operations and possibly do not have a security deposit for heli rescue. The closest Professional rescuers available are currently stationed in Concordia, fixing ropes on K2. Shuttling back to Skardu and rushing all the way to Diamir can easily take more than a week.
These are bad times to be at the top. We hope and pray for their safe even if not a successful return!
Tomek Mackiewicz and Elizabeth Rivol the stubborn duo is back in Diamir to scale the ninth highest and arguably one of the most difficult 8000ers. Nanga was successfully scaled in winters for the first time in 2016 by Alex Txikon, Simone Moro and Ali Sadpara when Tomek and Rivol had already failed after repeated attempts from Messner 2000 route.
They had left the base camp outlasting all their resources. Both Tomek and Rivol have known the Diamir side like the back of their hands, having been here for six consecutive years.
For Tomek, however, this is more like a year-end holiday. He works tirelessly throughout the year to gather resources only to be in Pakistan by the year end. With little or no physical preparations to counter the Killer, Tomek relies mostly on mental strength and whatever little acclimatization he acquires while at the Base Camp.
Funded by Grivel again, the French Gear manufacturer, Rivol and Tomek are hoping to complete the Messner-2000 route to the top of the summit. There is also a chance that the team would split at the top where Tomek likely to follow the Buhl 1953 route to the top while Rivol likely to continue the standard route to the summit. Facing the North-west side of the Nanga, the team is considerably shielded by the wind gusts pounding the south-ended Rupal side of the mountain.
Messner-2000 is a relatively easier route to the top of Kinshofer, with a gradual but a longer incline. Tomek and Eli have been insisting for quite a while to complete this route to the top and argue that it is the only possible route in winters. Messner-2000 is not taken up in summers for its higher vulnerability to avalanche.
As per the last reports, the team established high camp on 6700m, making a dump for Camp-2 and have returned to Base Camp because of unsettling weather. They are likely to resume their climb by Friday 19th.
Both teams have almost two months before the official deadline of a winter climb ends on March 23rd.
Winter Alpinism is back in full swing as two of the most difficult Pakistani 8000ers are under attack yet again. Two strong international expeditions are currently at the Base Camps of Nanga Parbat and K2 and gearing up to pitch their attempts to the top.
Nanga, nick-named “The Killer”, has already been summited in winters of 2016, while K2, the second highest in the world has never had a man standing on top in winters. Both expeditions have been relaying interesting news and jaw-dropping photos from the respective base camps.
K2 remains as the most sought after challenge in the mountaineering world being the only 8000er in the world never scaled in winters. A late start-up on K2 may have repercussions as the climbers are likely to hit the deadly Jet Stream above 7600m.
The 13-member Polish expedition has already reached the Base Camp after an unprecedented warm welcome in Pakistan amid sputters of camera clicks and selfies.
The expedition is the fourth inline to have ever pitched an attempt for the formidable K2.
K2 has only seen three strongmen expeditions so far, all of which ended up biting dust. Poles, for all the obvious reasons, are more than eager to bag the coveted trophy as they are rightfully remarked as the pioneers of winter Alpinism. Poles were also the first ones to attempt the mindboggling K2 in winters in 1987-88 under the leadership of Andrzej Zawada.
So far, more than 190 porters have shuttled the big PVC drums of food and gear to Concordia, while the Poles have successfully established their fully operational and well-connected Base Camp.
The team had to biouvac while on their way to the Base Camp. Led by the little monster Krzysztof Wielicki, the attack is likely to be conducted by Adam Bielecki, Janusz Gołąb and Denis Urubko, all of whom have at least one winter summit under their belt. Rest of the climbing team will work as soldier ants, shuttling food and rations to high camps, fixing ropes and trail breaking.
Establishing camp-4 on the shoulder, right on top of Abruzzi Spur, the attack team will wait for the weather window to launch the summit push.
The team completed their in-house acclimatization drills back in Poland where they were subjected to inclined walk in limited oxygen, in attempts to increase the red blood cells. This technique has been used before but has yielded little or no result on actual high altitudes.
The last Russian expedition to attempt a winter ascent on K2 was also well-funded by the government where they had airlifted most of the cargo to the Base Camp. The expedition retreated after the death of high climber Vitali Gorelick who died of Pneumonia and could not be rescued due to bad weather.
The “Karakorum Anamoly” of increasingly intense and late winters has been a matter of concern for scientists and mountaineers all over the world. The Karakorum and Himalayas experience intense winters by the end of January, when the deadly Jet stream pounds the high altitudes making it largely impossible to penetrate.
For the moment, the poles have already established Camp-1 on the Abruzzi spur reaching up to 5600m.
Led by the legendary Krzysztof Wielicki, The Polish Ice warriors are returning with full might to tame the notorious K2 which has eluded no fewer than three winter attempts on it. Wielicki, who was not able to gather enough funding last year has now revealed that he is all set to attempt the last 8000er with his team of winter specialists.
Poles are known for their expertise as the winter specialists of 8000ers. They are known for their understanding of the Karakorum with two of the five winter 8000ers on their belt including G-1 and Broad Peak.
The expedition has been funded by the Ministry of Sports and Tourism Poland, pooling in a humble 1 million Polish Zlotys (300,000USD), credits of which lies with the experienced Wielicki. If successful, Poles will rightfully acclaim the title of “Ice Warriors”- a fight their pioneers started some 40 years ago. Wielicki is eager to grab the last coveted trophy, installing the last gemstone to the magnificent history of Polish Winter Himaliaism.
“We have to finish what we started” Wielicki had said last year referring to the pioneering Polish Winter specialists Jerzy Kukuczka, Andrzej Zawada, Leszek Chichi, Artur Hajzer and himself.
With the summit success at Nanga Parbat in February 2016, K2 now stands as the single most coveted trophy in Winter Alpinism and inarguably one of the toughest. With just three attempts on K2 compared to more than 30 attempts on Nanga, amply describes the magnitude of this challenge.
The Russian Expedition to K2 in 2012, also financed by the Russian Government was abandoned after the demise of a sturdy climber Vitali Gorelik. This expedition was considered as one of the best contenders for the first winter ascent of K2.
"If ever there had been a team that could pull K2 winter off, it was this Russian team of Giants," said the renowned Dutch climber Bob A. Schelfhout Aubertijn.
Gorelik caught pneumonia after making a deposit at 7000m in the middle of a Jet Stream and passed away at the base camp.
The current Polish Team is a star studded combination of some of the best known winter climbers in the world including Janusz Golab, Adam Bielecki, Denis Urubko, Artur Malek, Marcin Kaczkan, Marek Chmielarski, Rafal Fronia, Piotr Tomala, Filmmaker Dariusz Zaluski and Expedition doctor Krzysztof Wranicz.
On July 28th, at 3.30 PM local time, 52-year-old Vanessa O’Brien made history as she became the first American female to stand on top of the Savage Mountain, “The K2”. Vanessa was accompanied by eleven other mountaineers including Icelander John Snorri Sigurjónsson, Chinese - Zhang Liang and Miss Jing Xue and a sturdy team of eight sherpas led by legendary Mingma Gyalje.
This summit marks the culmination of the three-year deadlock on the second highest and arguably one of the most difficult mountains on earth.
The ever more difficult conditions have thwarted previous attempts in the season, successfully confining the neighboring Polish Ski Team to the Base Camp. The poles have been waiting on their toes for a weather window.
K2 not only stands as the only 8000er in the world which has never been climbed in the winters but climbing it even in summers has become increasingly difficult.
Vanessa, has been attempting to climb K2 for the consecutive three years, moving higher on the high camps with each proceeding attempt.
Talking to reporters at the start of the expedition, Vanessa said: "I am sure that the ending of this adventure will be very fruitful and happy."
Earlier, after her failed attempt in 2016, Vanessa said, "We made it to camp 2 in 2015 and camp 3 in 2016. So I believe that it might be camp 4 and summit in 2017,"
Keeping it simple and to the book, the team chose the Cessen Route for the climb. An early Monsoon in Pakistan and stupendous snow conditions beyond 7000metres has posed a serious challenge for the team of sherpas who are leading this expedition.
Moving from camp-3 to camp-4 on the shoulder alone consumed an exhausting 12 hours. It is still not clear if the team has been using bottled Oxygen, which in all probability they might be.
The team is now heading down from the 8611m Granite rock and as per the record, K2 is known to be the toughest to climb down.
Causalities which occurred in the 100-years long climbing history of the mountain, most of them have happened during descent from the mountain and continues to be so to this date.
Vanessa has been an active social worker and a peace ambassador for Pakistan and has spoken in favor of Pakistan on many fronts.
"Who in this room would have guessed that Pakistan will be Asia's best performing stock market in 2016? It continues to be a country with a low cost of borrowing, stable currency and high growth rates," she said in a presser earlier in the US.
“The flags of the UK, US and Pakistan are all equally important to show friendship, peace and solidarity”.
Meanwhile, the Polish Ski team, comprising of Andrzej Bargiel , Janusz Gołąb and Jakub Poburka have stayed in the Base Camp following unpredictable weather and heavy snow.
The team had earlier chosen the difficult and least attempted Kukuczka-Piotrowski route but have now chosen Cessen (Basque) route for their expedition.
This summit success comes after multiple summits back in 2014 by a Pakistani Expedition and other international climbers. K2 since, had denied access to the top.
Search and Rescue operation had to be suspended as the Pakistan Army Aviation Helicopter could not carry on the search for more than three hours in wake of bad weather. Spaniard Alberto Zerain and Argentinian Mariano Galvan, known to be one of the best High Altitude Alpinists in the world, were attempting Nanga from Half way through the Mazeno Ridge in Alpine Style.
Zerain and Galvan reached the Diamir Base Camp on June 15th and very well acclimatized returning from their bids on Lhotse and Annapurna this season.
The duo was not allowed to camp before the Diamir Base Camp due to security reasons and they had to haul their baggage for 10 hours to the forward Base Camp from where they were to start their climb. Starting off on June 19th, they quickly gained 5600m but were forced to stop due to worsening weather conditions.
On June 17th Galvan wrote on his blog, “Tomorrow we will begin to climb and calculate a week to complete the ridge and two extra days for bad weather and rest. We will be heavily loaded, since we have not made any pre-arrangements.”
From June 19th to their last contact to Base, Galvan and Zerain were forging their way ahead despite bad weather conditions. They launched their summit push on June 19th but were again stalled for another three days. Weather updates predicted good conditions for a summit push but things changed quickly on ground.
Alberto’s last contact to the Base complained of bad weather and wet conditions. “It’s snowing continuously, its snowy snow, because it’s not really cold, so it gets wet. It’s a very uncomfortable wait”.
The duo was making gradual progress till 23rd when they crossed 6000m mark. On 24th, the tracker gave a location of 6270m but an hour later it relayed an altitude of 6110m and stopped working presumably on Auto-off mode. It was not turned on after that moment.
Search and Rescue operation was launched traversing the last location marked by the tracker. Romanian climber Alex Gavan who has been working on the Kinshofer Route on Diamir side has volunteered to carry out the rescue mission. Pakistani Himalayas and Karakorum are likely to experience an early Monsoon which in normally starts by the end of July. There are several teams working on K2, G1 and Nanga and their climbing bids will be severely affected by present weather conditions.
American climbers Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson missing on notorious Ogre- ıı in Northern PakistanRead Now
Monstrous Ogre- ıı also known as Latok-2, famous for being one of the most difficult massifs in the world to climb has yet again swallowed two of the world renowned high altitude alpinists. Utah based Kyle Dempster 33 and Scott Adamson 34 have been reported missing for the last more than one week and Search and Rescue Operations (SAR) in the notoriously difficult realm of Panmah Muztagh- a subrange of Karakorums in northern Pakistan have been delayed due to weather parleys.
The duo missed the peak last year when they suffered a near-death injury, falling from a mind-boggling 400ft while descending due to bad weather. Dempster broke his leg during descend.
This year, the duo returned to attempt the same route North Face for the first ascent of 7108m Latok-ıı aka Ogre- ıı at an otherwise unconventional climbing time of the year. Given his experience of the Baintha Brakk Massif, and having scaled the 7284m Ogre-1 in 2012 South Face adjacent to the Latok massif, Dempster was confident to climb the notorious giant in the wild north of Pakistan.
“Kyle and Scott have not been seen since Monday, August 22”, reported the climbers crew from Base Camp. “No surprise given the complexity and scale of the terrain and the vagaries of the weather. On Sunday, August 28, family and friends initiated a search and rescue effort, assisted by local authorities and another climbing team on the Chaktoi”.
The four peaks of the Latok massif are a cluster of dramatic granite peaks in the Panmah Muztagh range and are known for their notoriety for climbers. Latok massif is pitched between Baitha Brakk Glacier on the south and Choktoi Glacier on the north in the central region of Karakorum mountain range.
Latok- ıı did not see a successful attempt after the first ascent in 1977 when an Italian group led by Arturo Bergameschi reached the top.
Second successful attempt came in the year 1997 when Alexander Huber, Thomas Huber, Toni Gutsch, and Conrad Anker climbed the sheer West Face of the peak.
Kyle and Scott are also the joint winners of Piolets d`Or 2013. Friends and family of both climbers have started fund raising to support the search and rescue operations.
Meanwhile a German Expedition at the Base Camp is also taking part in SARs and Pakistani Military Helicopters have also started scouring the North Face in wake of suitable weather.
Rains and Flash floods: Shangla, Ghizer, Kohistan, Dir among worst affected as death toll rises to 188Read Now
Northern areas, Khyber Paktunkhwah and various other parts of Pakistan have been badly hit by recent rains and flashfloods claiming around 188 lives yet the local administration has failed to declare emergency in the affected areas which would have boosted the relief efforts. Karakorum Highway, the only road link of the country with the northern areas has been severed from no fewer than 19 places stranding hordes of travellers and commuters. The calamity has caused impending shortage of food supplies and medicines in the region.
Severely affected areas include Ghizer district, Chipursan Valley, Kohistan, Dir, Shangla, Berseen and other parts of Gilgit Baltistan and KP. As per the data provided by PDMA the death toll currently stands at 104 in KP, 31 in FATA and 14 in GB. Rescue efforts are underway to save the 25 people who were buried in a landslide in Othar Nala, Kandiyan district Kohistan. Lack of earth moving machinery and paramedics, the death toll is likely to reach with the passage of time.
There have also been reports of lack of food supplies as most of the shops and bazaars have been emptied by mass purchasing by the locals and visitors in the prevalent scenario. Tourists and travelers stranded at various points on KKH also decided to walk their way back, citing an instance where three men managed to reach Besham from Samar Nala in three days.
“We are fully prepared to reach out to people of the affected area – two helicopters are stationed in Abbottabad to fly to Kohistan but inclement weather is the main obstacle,” Hazara Division Commissioner Akbar Khan told press reporters on Tuesday
Pakistan Meteorological Department has predicted a new system likely to bring in heavier rains from Friday, April 8th. This new system of rains will severely affect the relief efforts which are still to be executed under the auspices of PDMA and NDMA.
Meanwhile ISPR also issued a handout regarding the relief efforts underway by the Army and FWO in order to reconnect the damaged sections of KKH and clearing off communication lines.
This year’s spring has brought along a breath of fresh air for the people of Gilgit Baltistan as Pakistan International Airlines, on the directives of Supreme Appellate Court of GB, dispatched its first flight from Gilgit to Skardu. Chief Minister of GB Hafeez ur Rehman along with other dignitaries saw off the Air Bus take off for its maiden flight to Skardu amid cheers and uproar of the local crowd. The SAC took Suo Moto notice of Shaheen International Airlines apparent refusal to the previous orders of the court to conduct flights from Gilgit to Skardu to facilitate the commuters within the administrative boundaries of GB.
This comes as the fulfillment of an age-old demand of the people of GB who have continuously suffered the hazardous and unpredictable conditions of the treacherous patch of Karakorum Highway leading to Skardu. The 300km KKH portion that leads to Skardu from the administrative and political capital of GB, is constantly challenged by nature involving severe landslides and road blockades.
This new communication route will not only facilitate the tourism which is the major source of income for the region but will also help the government machinery to function smoothly through the two major cities. Chief Minister Hafeez ur Rehman also announced that PIA will soon be conducting four international flights in a week direct from Skardu to further the tourist activities in the area.
“Flights will be started to Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Nepal and Sri Lanka,” CM Rehman said.
Gilgit being the hub of political and social activities in the region is also home to the “Mother of Mist” Rakaposhi, the 17th highest mountain on earth and the picturesque Hunza often coined as the living Shangrila. Meanwhile Skardu is the gateway to Baltoro and Biafo Glaciers, some of the longest glaciers on earth and home to the mighty peaks of Karakorum of the likes of K2 and Gasherbrum massif. This air journey, if promoted intelligently, can also become one of the most sought-after air safaris with jaw-dropping views of the giants like Nanga Parbat, K2 and other 8000m peaks in the region.
Chief Minister also thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his keen interest in the initiative and hoped that this will invigorate a new era of tourism in the region.
As per the reports coming from the Base Camp, the Killer Giant has been taken down by three of the resilient mountaineers, all of whom have at least tried twice in the past to conquer the mighty 8,126m peak in the rugged Western Himalayas of Pakistan. The news arrived in the evening of February 26, that the three of the four mountaineers Ali Sadpara (Pakistan), Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger (Italy) and Alex Txikon (Spain) have successfully reached the summit of the Killer Mountain thoroughly supported by ideal weather conditions during the ascent.
This also concludes the three decade long struggle of numerous mountaineers who tried to scale Nanga for the first winter ascent.
Kicked off by ambitious Polish climbers led by the legendary Andre Zawada, it also marks the sad reality that this ascent did not have any Polish climber in it. There has been at least one Polish climber in most of the 8000ers scaled in winters.
No fewer than four international teams launched their bid from the Diamir side simultaneously to scale the peak which has never been climbed in winters. Leading Polish climber Adam Bielecki met an accident while fixing ropes and had to disengage. Tomek and Elizabeth followed later after waiting in Camp 3 for three days hoping to barge into a weather window which would allow them to launch a summit push. They called it a night after bracing high winds and extreme low temperatures. Italian Daniele Nardi-part of Alex Txikon team, also gave in after disagreements with team mates.
Simone and Tamara with relatively strong financial backings stayed back waiting to launch their summit bid at their own convenience. The base camp received heavy snowfall and blizzards at the start of February, forcing the only two teams to join hands, giving rise to one of the most experienced and resilient climbing teams for the summit bid.
Simone and Tamara after long discussions gave up the Messner-2000 route and decided to join Alex on the much explored Kinshofer route taking up the now outdated Classic style of climbing. The only hiccup that will have researchers thoroughly examine the credibility of the summit claim is the fact that Alex’s GPS tracker that was reportedly held by Ali Sadpara stopped giving real time location just a few meters short of the main summit.
As per the tracker, the climbers returned to Camp 4 from a point which is almost 100 m on the south east of the summit. The photographs and other evidences will eventually prove the authenticity of the summit claim although both teams have officially declared the bid to be a success.