Share: 

Nanga Parbat: the first winter ascent


Simone Moro, Alex Txikon and Alì Sadpara for the first time in winter on the top of Nanga Parbat. Tamara Lunger stops one hundred meters below, but this is how they wrote the history of mountaineering.

Days like these are rare, days that present outstanding events that write a new chapter in the history of climbing, as we know it.
From pen to paper, every word is the result of a victory that has been gained, of a sentiment that is strong enough to encourage man to move another step forward. Today, February 26th, 2016 is one of those days.  Today Nanga Parbat, (8125 metres above sea level), the ninth highest peak in the world and the mountain with the second highest fatality rate among the eight thousand metre peaks, has been conquered for the first time during the toughest season.
The Italian athlete, Simone Moro and his teammates Alex Txikon and Alì Sadpara accomplished this incredible achievement while the Tyrolean climber, Tamara Lunger, also a member of the team, had to settle for seeing the summit from a few metres below. However, it would be incorrect and superficial to speak only about the conquest of the summit. On such occasions, our attention focuses on having reached the much sought after destination and we forget to consider, with the same degree of importance, all those events leading up to and contributing to the final victory.
We should focus for a moment on the many dreams, the long hours spent waiting and all those sacrifices.  We should remember the fears, doubts and failures faced by the climbers. We should recall the acceptance, great courage and support of the athletes.  The new page added to the history of climbing (mentioned above) comprises all of these features. In an interview from Base Camp, Simon Moro said that he would never stop believing in the possibility of reaching the summit.  However, regardless the outcome of the Nanga Parbat expedition, the importance would lie in the making of the event and not in the conquest of the summit alone: "this is an inspirational idea for future generations".
Simone already had many stories like this to tell, but he now has one more. Almost three months have passed since, for the third time, the mountaineer from Bergamo, set of for Islamabad with the intention of going where no one had gone before: to set foot on the summit of Nanga Parbat in winter. He had planned to climb with fellow Italian mountaineer Tamara Lunger, born in 1986 and one of the La Sportiva athletes attempting her second winter climb on an 8000-metre peak.  She had already climbed with Simone Moro, but if she were to succeed in the event, Tamara would become the second woman in the world to be able to write about such an achievement in her resume.
In December 2015, five expeditions set off for Pakistan, but only two had chosen to reach the summit via the Messner- Eisendle route on the North West of Diamir.  The renunciation of the Franco Polish team Revol-Machiewicz was enough to convince the Italian pair that they would have to come to terms with choices imposed by the mountains. Back at base camp, the decision to take seemed obvious.  They would climb up the Kinshofer route, joining forces with the team led by the other Italian, Daniele Nardi, also making his fourth attempt on Nanga.The good weather expected for February hadn’t arrive and the hopes that the Pakistani expedition would succeed started to fade, by now back at base camp only a few mountaineers now remained. At times like this it is crucial to be a team, said Simon at a conference, “If you sulk when you are at -50 C°, then things will probably start to get bad”.  But Simone Moro, Tamara Lunger, Alex Txikon and Ali Sadpara are indeed a team.  Or rather, they became one.  They learnt to wait patiently without becoming disheartened because as the saying goes “a kindness is never wasted”. And for the four climbers the wait was definitely worth the effort.
At 3.37pm local time exactly one week ago, their patience, determination and strength allowed them to reach the summit.
Let's remeber that every summit has its own story.  And this one belongs to Simone,Tamara, Alex and Alì.
A story that today, belongs even to us.