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Nanga Parbat Climbed in Winter for the First Time

Simone Moro, Alex Txikon and Muhammad Ali Sadpara have made the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat in the Karakorum, Pakistan.

A fourth climber, Tamara Lunger, waited below the summit during the ascent and returned with the team to Camp 4.

“Ali Sadpara (Pakistan), Alex Txikon (Spain), and Simone Moro (Italy) have reached the top of Nanga Parbat,” Karrar Haidri, a spokesperson of the Alpine Club of Pakistan announced on Friday.

For a full account of the historical climb, see Vinicio Stefanello’s write-up on PlanetMountain.com here.

Nanga Parbat is the world’s ninth highest mountain at 8,125 metres. It earned the nickname “Killer Mountain” after more than 30 climbers died trying to climb it before the first ascent in 1953.

It took more than 30 attempts since the winter of 1988/89 to climb it in winter and most couldn’t climb past 7,000 metres. Many say that Txikon’s approach was the key to success. They did not climb alpine style, they fixed ropes between well-supplied camps along the normal route. Their goal was to play it safe and take calculated risks. They climbed the lower part of the mountain in poor weather to save the difficult climbing at altitude for good weather windows.

Sadpara had climbed Nanga Parbat twice before and is now the first Pakistani to climb an 8,000-metre peak in winter. Txikon called him the “real leader of the expedition” on their 2014/15 attempt. Moro has four winter ascents of 8,000-metre peaks, including Shisha Pangma, GII and Makalu, and is tied with the legendary Polish climber Jerzy Kukuzka. It was Moro’s ninth 8,000er overall.

K2 is the only 8,000-metre peak that has not been climbed in winter. Denis Urubko has shown interest in an attempt next year. Time will tell if Moro changes his mind about at K2 winter attempt. It has only been attempted three times in winter and no team came within 1,000 metres of the summit.

Watch a short clip about the 2014/15 attempt on Nanga Parbat: