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Canadian Nancy Hansen Heading to Karakoram in 2021

Along with top climber Ralf Dujmovits, one of Germany's most experienced mountaineers

Canadian Nancy Hansen and German alpinist Ralf Dujmovits will be going on an expedition this summer to attempt a first ascent of Biarchedi I peak in Pakistan’s Karakorum region. The pair received a grant from the Grit and Rock Award for $2,000. Biarchedi Peak is on the south end of the Baltoro Glacier.

Hansen has been mountain, rock and ice climbing for more than 20 years. She has climbed extensively in Alaska, Canada, Nepal, Pakistan, Bolivia, Peru, Antarctica, and many European countries. She has completed 46 routes from the 1978 cult-classic guidebook Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. In 2003, after summiting the 3,612-metre Mount Forbes, she became the first woman, and only sixth person to climb all 54 of the Canadian Rockies’ peaks above 3,353 metres (11,000 feet). Dujmovits is one of Germany’s most accomplished mountaineers and the only German to climb all 8,000 m peaks.

Dujmovits and Hansen met at the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival. In 2015, the two attempted Everest when a fatal earthquake struck Nepal. It was his seventh try on Everest without bottled oxygen, and her first. “I had always had a secret desire to climb Everest but thought the chances were about the same as going to the moon,” Hansen said. “I felt in awe of it, scared and really, really excited all at once.”

The following year, they attempted Gasherbrum VI in Pakistan. They turned around at an altitude of 6,400 metres. “We did our best,” Dujmovits said after. “Nancy fought in the slabs like a bear. It just was not meant to be. Finally we don’t want to commit suicide.”

Hansen is one of many Canadians going on big expeditions this summer.