Monday, 20 July 2009

Nanga Parbat- Gladness and sadness!

Rick and the Italian mountianeer making their way up to the summit. Guiseppie (spelling) turned back with only about half an hour of ascent to do...... so he was gutted when he found out that Rick and I had kept going and reached our goal.

Sandy on the summit of Nanga Parbat :10th July 2009. The wind was very strong so standing on the summit was not an option.
As I took my last photos I glanced at my wrist watch and it read 1508 hours local time. I pulled on my down glove and Rick and I headed back down to wards camp 4. We were only on the summit for few minutes.With in half an hour we met Miss Go's Korean group and tagged on to that was Wolfgang one of the Austrians. It was obvious to us that they were rather late and were at least an other hour and a half from the summit. We explained this to them and that when we were on the summit it was incredibly windy and cold. It was so obvious that they had no intention of turning back! We advised them as strongly as we could, but our voices fell on ears which chose not to hear us!
That night at Camp 4 after we sent some Local Pakistani HAP porters out to assist the late party! They departed base camp around 10.00 pm and did not come back until about 3.00 am. But they said that they were really cold and could not really help the Korean party very much. ( I had enlisted two HP to assist Ed with his climb of Nanga Parbat, but as Ed had departed Rick and I had no real need for porters as we were very used to climbing Alpine Style. Still we apprecaited their company and help. We all shared teh work of cutting tent platforms and and brewing up. I must admit Rick did much more cooking that I did! Ed had gone home, but we were happy to continued the HAP's employment as they both expressed an interest in summiting and we were happy for them to share our equipment, food, tents and gas and try the summit. At 1.00 am in the morning while we brewd up they also woke up and started melting snow for tea... As Rick and I were getting ready to leave the camp 4 our two HAP's all of a sudden put their head back inside their sleeping bags and went to sleep. They lay as silent as the night as Rick and I pulled on our down clothing and 8000 meter climbing boots. They had obviously decided not to try the summit. Rick and I went on by ourselves. The following day (11th July) Miss Go and her team did arrive back at Camp 4 in the early hours of the morning and were brewing up in their respective tents. Rick and I descended all the way to Base camp clearing our tents and tidying up our camp sites as we went. We shared the loads with our two porters. All our rucksacks were way to heavy but the mountain was left clean and tidy ! On arrival at Base camp I was informed that Wolfgang had gone missing and was suspected of being blown off the summit. This was sad news indeed.
Later that same evening we learned from one of the Miss Go's base camp team that she had fallen off the mountain during her descent and was badly hurt. Next day it was confirmed that she had passed away.
It's all very sad, my heart goes out to all involved. Their lateness on the mountain and their determination to succeed in reaching the summit perhaps clouded their judgment. Rick and I had set ourselves a turn around time of 4.00 pm, no matter how close we were to the summit as we knew that to spend a night in the terrible weather without a tent and sleeping bag would be exhausting and then to expect our human bodies to climb down all the way after such a night would be unimaginable. We had made good decisions but were also very fortunate - Miss Go and Wolfgang were caught out and paid a very high price
Edward Whymper once wrote:
"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are not without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

En route to Nanga Parabt

Camp 4 , 7100 meters
Rick and I arrived at camp 4 and posed for this photograph!The summit Pyramid is behind. If you cick on this photo it enlarges and you will see that Stotes man is hitching a lit in my pocket!

Good boots and well fitting crampons are essential!

Camp 3 Nanga Parbat

Eventually C3 became a small tented village! Behind is the Monzino ridge, attempted by Doug Scott, Voy Kurtica, Andrew Lock, Rick Allen and Sandy Allan from the other side of the mountain many years ago!
Vanga Tents at C3 and alter we moved the Red/Blackthree mantent up to C4.

Looking back at Rick coming up from C2, Nanga Parbat

Images from Naga Parbat

Fun with Miss Oh, on a "Black Yak" photo shoot above base camp! Black Yak manufactures climbing clothing and equipment for the Korean and Chinese market!Miss Oh, is an outstanding experienced Korean Mountaineer who has climbed many of the worlds 8000meter peaks and hopes to get them all climbed soon. She summited Nanga Parabat on the same day as Rick and I with her team of Sherpas.
Rick (in blue) and Gunter at Camp 2 on Nanga Parbat

Climber on the fixed ropes of the Kinshoffer wall!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Third Climber Reaches Summit

It is with great pleasure and much sounding of trumpets that I can confirm that a third member of the 2009 Team Ascent Nanga Parbat Expedition has reached the summit.

Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world at 26,660ft, is renowned for its awe inspiring beauty and dangers. The Press and Journal reporter, Jonny Muir has put this into perspective for low altitude walkers such as myself by stating "it is six times the height of Ben Macdhui, the highest point in the Cairngorms." Imagine it! Next time you fly, think about it!

So, for our hero from Edinburgh this summit must be seen as a pinnacle of achievement and must indeed be a personal best. He learnt new skills, he kept himself warm and dry with the help of gear from Mountain Equipment. By Camp 3 he was responsible for melting ice with the Primus Stoves which helped hydrate and sustain the other climbers. Above all, unlike many other climbers, his conversation never ever mentioned food.

The Climber?...Mr Stoats Man, who has gone where no other porridge oats bar has gone before.

We salute you and look forward to hearing your story.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Summit Photos

Sandy (top) and Rick (bottom) on the top of Nanga Parbat.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Sad News

Nanga Parbat has once more lived-up to its name of "Killer Mountain" and claimed the lives of two more climbers. One member of the Austrian Team, Wolfgang Koblinger disappeared just below the summit and Miss Go from the Korean team fell on her way down from the summit between Camps 2 and 3.

This news came through just after speaking to Sandy yesterday and elation quickly transformed to dismay. Before going too Nanga Parbat Sandy found himself re-visiting the places he ventured as a child, places where we as a family played. Unlike the rest of us, he knew where he was going and the risks he was taking. As for me, about a week into the trip my brain located the file of the "The Naked Mountain" and "Nanga Parbat Pilgrimmage," books I had read many years ago. Since, then I have been a wreck, all the time pretending to be calm. I have sometimes climbed with Sandy, even in the Himalayas, and still I do not know what this game is about. Somehow, I do not think its really about a summit, its perhaps more about self respect and dignity. We are so lucky, it is not our brother, sister, daughter, son, friend or acquaintance that has lost their lives. My sympathy goes out to all of them and I hope that they can find an understanding that will give them peace.

I have heard from him today, all is well. He and Rick are making preparations to leave.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

There and Back Again!

Just had a phone call from Sandy! He and Rick reached the summit of Nanga Parbat (8125 m) yesterday at 3pm. They stayed at C4 last night and are now both back at Base Camp.
He sounded happy but we were cut off so no more information.

It's the climb, yeah!

Some News and more photos

Have heard from one of the Austrian teams wifes that Sandy and Rick were still on their way up yesterday. She has confirmed that three people made the summit yesterday. One member (from the Austrian team led by Gerfried Goschl) and two from, I think, the Korean teams. This includes Miss Go, whom I am told, has now climbed all the peaks over 8000m.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

No News..some photos though!

Some photos, showing the way in...or out! Courtesy of Ed and Sandy. Apologies that they are not in chronological order!

Monday, 6 July 2009


A phone call today. The weather forecast for Nanga Parbat is good...for the next week!!!

This is an opportunity!

Rick and Sandy are going to see how things progress in the hope that they can attempt the summit. They plan to stay a night at each of the Camps (despite the fact that C3 and 4 have still to be established!). All the climbers (Austrian and Korean teams) are going to have a go so they won't be short of company!!

So, now we have to be patient...I was told not to expect any communications until Sunday or Monday!!

PS I will post some photos over the next few days.

Family Celebrations!!

As one person in the family attempts his mountain, his daughter suceeds and celebrates. Here, H communicates with Sandy during her graduation ceremony at Edinburgh University having achieved a BA(Hons) in International Business.

Smiling Sisters! Ace eh! Cool eh! Mega Congratulations!!!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Back at Base Camp

Phone call to say that everyone is back at BC. They went to Camp 2 but after a big snow fall last night it was decided to return. A pretty epic time coming back with over a foot of fresh snow. Some tents damaged at BC but all OK. Forecast is not good but it should clear again by Sunday or Monday when a second attempt will be made to reach Camp 3.

Some vital statistics:
Base Camp 4250m
Camp 1 4860 m
Camp 2 6025 m
Camp 3 6500 or 6750 m
Camp 4 7150 m

And so to the tennis. Film crews here in Dunblane again today, displays of good wishes in shops, banners flying and tennis strips hanging out of windows. An exciting day that ended in a down hearted evening.

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Happy Days

No phone calls today! So, thought I could use this lull in communications to add some recent photos .

Sandy on fixed ropes somewhere between Camp1 and 2 (l00k at that view!).

Mr Stoats Man decided to head down the valley with Ed and ended up having an ace party with none other than the Mango King!!!
He's now said his goodbyes and is back in the snow and ice of BC. Life is great for the high altitude energy bar!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Going Up Again!

Super phone call from Sandy today. He's sounding good! Saying hello to everyone. They have had a huge amount of snow. However, it was clearing last night so Rick and some of the Austrian team decided to go up the mountain. Sandy stayed at BC waiting for the snow to consolidate. Watched a huge avalanche come down the couloir. Everyone OK, but they apparently decided to stay at Camp 1 today!

Sandy was planning to leave BC with two high altitude porters today and meet the others at Camp 1. He would stay the night there. The forecast for the next couple of days is good so they hope to try and establish Camp 3, fixing more ropes as they go. Pleased that the TNT "late" gear has arrived as after borrowing equipment for Camp 2 they now have their own gear for future camps.

A special mention that the Mountain Equipment gear is performing well as are the Primus Stoves, all coming into their elements as things get serious.

Mr Stoats man chilling!