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Nanga Dream Justice for All

/ Mountain News

Nanga Dream Justice for All is an expedition to Pakistan involving six Polish climbers. Towards the end of November, 2013, Marek Klonowski, Paweł Dunaj, Jacek Teler, Tomasz Mackiewicz, Michał Obrycki and Michał Dzikowski set off for Pakistan to scale Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, which till that time was unclimbed in winter conditions.

For a few months all we did was observe how they struggled against the mountain. All we could do was keep our fingers crossed. The inclement weather conditions they were experiencing made it very difficult for them to achieve all their goals. Actually, from the very beginning of the journey it was clear that the weather would not necessarily be in our favour, that it would dictate the pace of the expedition – said Marek Klonowski during an interview with Portal Górski.

We present what the struggles at the Lattabo base camp under Nanga Parbat were like.

At 6000 m above sea level, portalgorski.pl

At 6000 m above sea level, portalgorski.pl

On the way to the base camp

All the participants in the Nanga Deram Justice for All expedition started their journey on the 29th of November, 2013. The first part of the journey included a road trip through Germany to Calais. Then they boarded a ferry to England and got to Manchester from which they finally reached Rawalpindi. After taking care of all the formalities, on the 10th of December, they took a minibus to Astore where they changed to jeeps. In such a way the Polish finally got to Tarashing, a village from which they continued their travel towards a base on foot.

On the 12th of December, 2013, a caravan carrying supplies and equipment set off. On the same day the expedition made it to Lattabo (3500 m above sea level), a shepherds’ village which is occupied only during warmer seasons and abandoned in the wintertime. That’s where a base camp was established for the party. Two days later Konowski, Mackiewicz and Dzikowski set up a forward base camp. It wasn’t until a few days later that all the supplies reached the climbers. Also, several acclimatization outings were conducted during that time.

As Marek Klonowski reported on the expedition’s blog, http://nangadream.blogspot.com: Hello from Lattabo! The six of us would not make it that far without your help!!! Everyone can be a climber, as it turns out! Camp ABC has been pitched and supplied. Weather permitting, we will make our first attempt at climbing on December 21...

The base, portalgorski.pl

The base, portalgorski.pl

It’s Christmas time!

During the next several days Camp I (5100 m) and Camp IA (5500 m) were established. While Klonowski, Mackiewicz, Dunaj and Obrycki celebrated Christmas Eve in C1, Dzikowski and Teler celebrated in the forward base.

We spent the last night in C1A at the altitude of 5500 m above sea level. Marek and Michał returned to C1 and set off for Lattabo. Tomek and Paweł went 200 meters up and left, left their stuff and came back to Lattabo as well. As for Jacek, he is resting in C1. The work is in full swing, everything is going well for us, informed Paweł Dunaj on the 23rd of December, 2013.

Marek Klonowski, fot: portalgorski.plMarek Klonowski, portalgorski.pl

Simone Moro at Lattabo

On the 31th of December, 2013, a German-Italian expedition consisting of Simone Moro and his climbing partners – David Göttler and Emilio Previtali – made it to the Polish base. On the 2nd of January, Simone Moro wrote on his website that his expedition climbed another 600 meters as part of the acclimatization process for the Nanga summit.

As for the Polish, On January 1, they took a decision to split into two three-person teams. They intended setting up another base camp. The first team to set off was the trio of Tomasz Mackiewicz, Marek Klonowski and Michał Dzikowski. The other party – consisting of Jacek Teler, Paweł Dunaj and Michał Obrycki – set out on the following day. However, since there was bad weather, they could not progress any further and the expedition was halted.
The situation in the evening was as follows: while Mackiewicz and Dzikowski were waiting for the weather to turn in their favor at C1 (5100 m), Marek Klonowski was staying at C2 (5500 m). The remaining threesome were staying at the so-called puszkownia, at the altitude of 4530 meters above sea level.

Camp 1, portalgorski.pl

Camp 1, portalgorski.pl

Stop putting a spoke in our wheel, weather!

A dozen or so days later, when weather finally started to improve, Simon Moro along with David Göttler moved their gear to Camp II (6100 m) and spent some time acclimatizing at even higher altitude, at 6400 meters above sea level. They hoped to reach 7000 meters but they did not make it.

After 45 days since the start of the expedition, Polish climbers got rid of an excess of snow that gathered in an ice cave at the altitude of 6100 meters. Thanks to that, the cave was fit to be used as Camp II. These were mainly the Polish who were leading the expedition at that time.

Above Camp II

Since bad weather conditions – annoyingly enough – were incessantly accompanying the expedition, Polish climbers were making rather slow progress at that time.

Towards the end of January, after overcoming his health issues, Tomek Mackiewicz finally joined Paweł Dunak and Michał Obrycki at Camp II (6100 m). The three of them climbed 100 meters more and pitched a Camp II tent at the altitude of 6200 meters where they spent the night. In the meantime, Jacek Teler also made it to Camp II.

In an interview for forumextremum.pl, Tomek Mackiewicz described what he was going to do after pitching the tent. Currently we’re in a small tent at the altitude of 6200 meters. We decided to put it up on some sort of a ledge. The plan is to climb to a height of 7000 meters above sea level. Then we would make it to the other side of the ridge and see what the slope on Diamir side is like. And then we could slowly head towards the summit. Now it is just a matter of waiting for the situation to unfold.

In the end, Tomek’s plan turned out to be impossible to execute and everyone was forced to turn back to the base.

Paszka, portalgorski.pl

Paszka, portalgorski.pl

Decisive moments?

On the 6th of February, 2014, it was reported in the outdoor-related press that the next couple of days will make or break the expedition. The following entry was posted by Simone Moro on his blog at that time:
It seems to me like the weather is improving. Looks like snow is about to end soon – today there’s just really light snow falling. It is so light it can hardly be called snow. It appears to me that at the beginning of the next week, on Monday, maybe on Tuesday, the weather will clear up. Seems like it will finally be possible to attack the summit. And it’s very likely it won’t be that cold on Monday and Tuesday. Seems like a spell of horrible weather that was making things so tough is about to come to an end. A time of fun in warmer temperatures is about to enter the game… At least so it seems. Is it just me or are there too many speculations? 

Good forecast made it possible for Tomek Mackiewicz and Paweł Dunaj to go to Camp I. Upon arrival at the base it turned out that heavy snowfalls caused some damage in the camp and it needed repair. Fortunately, the climbers managed to save the situation and soon the camp was functioning efficiently and all seemed well. Michał Obrycki and Jacek Teler soon joined Tomek and Paweł.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until less than two days later that it was clear that weather was still rather poor. On the 8th of February, 2014, Tomek Mackiewicz sent a message over a radio that in the area of Camp II the wind was blowing much harder than 50 km/h. What he did was try to approach Camp III but the wind and the cold made him turn back. He then decided to make it to Camp II, wait for Simone and David and decide together with them about further plans. 

Paszka at C1, portalgorski.pl

Paszka at C1, portalgorski.pl

The weather window?

At the beginning of January Marek Klonowski left Pakistan because of family matters – his partner gave birth to their child earlier than expected. During an interview with Portal Górski Klonowski made the following statement: My second son was about to be born and obviously what I had to do was come back to my family and take care of my 6-year-old son. There had to be someone for him while his mum was unable to take care of him. It was a blend of sadness and joy. I did what I could not to think about it. I simply got back home and that’s it.
The ones who stayed at the camp of Lattabo were: Tomek Mackiewicz, Jacek Teler, Paweł Dunaj, Michał Dzikowski and Michał Obrycki.

On the 11th of February, 2014, an unexpected weather-window opened up. According to Simone Moro’s entry that was posted on that day: Today it’s the first day of nice weather. There’s wind blowing on the ridge and light avalanches that should clear the Shell route.

Except for the summit of Nanga Parbat hiding behind clouds, the sky was clear. At lesser altitudes than 6500 m there was moderate wind blowing up to 50 km/h.  Both expeditions decided to make use of this favourable situation. Both Simone Moro and David Göttler and the party of Tomek Mackiewicz and Paweł Dunaj moved to the base at Camp 1 (5100 m). In the end, however, both parties didn’t manage to realize what they planned.
It is worth mentioning that both parties were motivated to wait until the 21st of March, that is to say, until the last day of winter.

Towards the end of February, 2014, Michał Dzikowski left the party. Michał Mackiewicz, on the other hand, left his base and made it to Camp II where he was waiting for the weather to clear up all by himself.

Both expeditions at the camp, portalgorski.pl

Both expeditions at the camp, portalgorski.pl

Yet another attempt?

On the 25th of February, 2014, Paweł Dunaj and Jacek Teler set out for Nanga’s summit. They decided to go apart. Paweł left at sunrise and Jacek about 11 am. They both slept at Camp I. Early in the morning on the following day Paweł resumed his march but Jacek was forced to turn back because of the risk of frostbite. Weather seemed good at that time and wind was blowing only at 15 km/h.

It was then when Emilio Previtali posted these tweets:
26.02 (in the evening): Tomasz Mackiewicz is at Camp III. He says that it was unusually windy in the afternoon, which made it quite difficult to climb. It seems to have subsided by now, however.

27.02 (in the morning): About 5-10 cm of fresh snow fell overnight and it is still snowing. I have just talked to Simone Moro on the phone. He and David Göttler are between Camps I & II. They still have an hour of walking ahead of them before they reach Camp II.

27.02 (10.20): Paweł Dunaj is at Camp II. He is going to start climbing. Tomasz is at Camp III. He’s got bad visibility so what he does is wait. Jacek Teler set out for Camp II. Luckily he can make use of Simone and David’s tracks.

27.02 (before noon): Simone and David are still at Camp II. It’s very cold and strong wind is gusting. The climbers and Paweł are waiting out in an icy cave.

27.02 (early in the afternoon): David Göttler is trying to reach Camp IIa (there are few sleeping bags and foam mattresses at Camp II). Simone and Paweł are at Camp II, Tomek at Camp III. 

27.02 (in the afternoon): Jacek Teler made it to Camp II. He said there’s lots of fresh snow in the coloir.

27.02 (around 5 pm): David Göttler safely reached Camp IIa and is warming himself in a tent. The wind is easing and clouds have dispersed.

The situation changed from one hour to the next. The most surprising was, however, the way in which the climbers were moving from one camp to another. David Göttler who slept in Camp IIa made it to Camp III where he came across Tomek Mackiewicz who has been there for two days. On the following day in the morning David and Tomek resumed the ascent with a view to reaching Camp IV. At that time Simone Moro was at 6600 m above sea level.

In the meantime Moro decided not to attack the summit. In the ensuring situation, there was only a Polish-German team left. What is worse, the weather was bad yet again. Soon Tomasz and David also decided to give up further attempts to reach the summit. On the 3rd of March, 2014, Simone Moro, David Göttler and Emilio Previtali left the base under Nanga Parbat. The Polish decided to stay and make another summit attempt.

View from Nanga Parbat, portalgorski.pl

View from Nanga Parbat, portalgorski.pl


On the 9th of March, Michał Obrycki and Paweł Dunaj were surprised by an avalanche. It could be read on Facebook that they were avalanached below C1. They were dragged down the mountain and landed not far away from puszkownia.

Fortunately Obrycki and Dunaj were not buried deep and they were still able to call for help. Jacek Teler and Tomek Mackiewicz set off for rescue immediately and soon made it to the their colleagues. Around 4 am everyone reached the base. Later on, Obrycki and Dunaj were taken to hospital on stretchers.

And this is how the expedition ended. All the participants came back to Poland towards the end of March.




Portal Górski


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