The Expedition is Stopped – The Team is Coming Back Home

The Expedition is Stopped – The Team is Coming Back Home

Having received news of further heavy snow in the coming week from Innsbruck-based meteorologist Karl Gabl, alpinists Simone Moro (ITA) and Denis Urubko (KAZ) took the very difficult decision to stop their expedition and return home. The team will wait in the heart of the storm for approximately four days until porters arrive. A two-day fair weather window is forecasted which will allow the descent back. Setting off for the expedition 51 days ago on 26th December 2011, and led by good physical and mental preparation and good weather conditions, the team reached base camp (4,200m) on 3rd January 2012. Within one month, Moro & Urubko had set up three camps to reach 6,600m up the mountain. However, since 27th January 2012, they have been blocked at base camp due to intense and constant snowfall. “Preparation, self-training, logistics and technology are vital supports for alpine projects like this one on Nanga Parbat. They make all the difference, as seen last year on the successful Gasherbrum II expedition. However, in the end, the relationship is between man and mountain; if nature doesn’t offer the perfect conditions to reach the objective, this doesn’t have to be considered as a failure, but as an experience for future projects,” reflected Simone Moro. Denis Urubko cites: “A beautiful mountain and an intense adventure with true friends. Thanks to God we are still here, ready to start new challenges.” Admitting that the winter and the mountain finally won against their patience and willpower, Moro & Urubko pay tribute to two other expeditions taking place at the same time: a Russian team on K2, and a...
Message to Our Fans and Followers

Message to Our Fans and Followers

Nanga parrbat Base Camp, -2C, cloudy, ready to snow. Simone and Denis have been at base camp for over one month in harsh weather conditions, with the bid of getting the right weather window to attempt the summit push. Their motivations and commitments to make the summit remains unshaken, they keep their patience and wait for the right weather window, they send updates to us every day, while we wait with them in moral support. In a message from base camp, they boys acknowledge the prolonged suspense and they send a message to their fans and followers to be patient with them as they remain committed to attempting the ascent this winter. Dear Readers, Followers, Fans To wait, to kill time, to be patient, to keep the will of summiting, to ignore the hundreds of alibis we have to give up, to resist the temptation of being heroic (and stupid). All this is the hardest attempt of the year. Some say we are too technological, that the internet has given us too much visibility. But stop for a minute and try to think of yourself stuck in a tent for 2 months, way below 0 degrees, waiting for the right conditions to summit a mountain. Internet is helping us to resist. We kept in contact with our families, with the world. We wrote 2 books, one Denis and one myself. We went up many times, the best achievement being 6000mt, and all the time being set back by dangerous situations or bad weather. Even just yesterday we tried opening an alternative route but the forecast showed correctly that we...
Nanga Parbat Winter Expedition – Video Dispatch 5

Nanga Parbat Winter Expedition – Video Dispatch 5

In this video dispatch, The North Face Alpinists; Simone Moro and Denis Urubko face bad weather conditions that stalls the planned summit push. The conditions are getting worse and the boys are getting even more anxious after over one month in basecamp. Athletes: Simone Moro/ Denis Urubko Video: Matteo Zanga / The North...
Day 37 at Basecamp – Weather Evaluations Continue

Day 37 at Basecamp – Weather Evaluations Continue

…On a day like this you have to be optimistic.. but unfortunately reality is different. It will start snowing again tomorrow afternoon and it seems like it will go on for a week. The wind on the summit today is very strong.

Moro & Urubko Retrace Tracks as Acclimatization Tracks Are Now Covered by Heavy Snow

Moro & Urubko Retrace Tracks as Acclimatization Tracks Are Now Covered by Heavy Snow

Nanga Parbat Base Camp, 4230mt above sea level, -17°C The persistent snow conditions have left the boys faced with a potential complete restart of the whole process as all the tracks they have made in the acclimatization phase and the entire mountain is now covered by heavy snow. The updates from basecamp today read: ” The landscape all covered in snow, even though today the sun finally came out. Our track towards camp 1 was buried in snow once again, so we lent the Polish team our snowshoes so they could go up there to check out the situation and recover their gear. One of the three Polish, Lukas, wants to bring everything back down. The other two still were not sure if they wanted to try going up a little more from the 5500mt they have reached. Lukas has arrived now as I write, he is closing his adventure on the Nanga Parbat for this year. His friends will come down tomorrow, which should be the last day of good weather. In fact, the forecast is for another week of snowing. If this should be the case then the mountain would be full of snow and we would have to start everything from scratch. Today we tried to keep in exercise by re-tracing the track down towards Kutgully and coming back to Base Camp. Around 4 hours of workout to keep muscles and lungs working. In Kutgully we found fresh tracks of someone (surely a local, maybe a hunter). So the track is open in the entire valley. When we came back we did some maintenance work to...
Anxiety Increases at Basecamp Over Prolonged Bad Weather Conditions

Anxiety Increases at Basecamp Over Prolonged Bad Weather Conditions

Nanga Parbat Base Camp, -16°C, still snowing The weather is still very bad, the boys are still at basecamp and the prolonged bad weather condition is creating a lot of anxiety to make a move or not despite the conditions. This mornings’ update from Simone at basecamp explains some of this further in his words: “If Karl Gabl doesn’t put on the green light, it’s useless to try. I learned this lesson a long time ago but this time it refreshed my memory. Denis after all the bad news yesterday wanted to try a flash attempt, leaving this morning and summiting in 3 days regardless of the bad weather forecast for the days after. I called Gabl and asked him what he thought. The answer was clear: it would not have been a good idea and the forecast was terrible. I told Denis Gabl’s answer, saying I trusted him and that we were not going anywhere. He was awake at 5,30 this morning, because he wanted to wake me up to leave. I heard his tent’s zipper open, then he muttered a few curses. The zipper closed and he went back to his sleeping bag. There’s nothing we can do about it: Gabl is the Messner of Meteorology. Apparently the weather forecast is bad for at least a week, maybe more… and time goes by.. Oh well.. we came a long way to do this, and now we better stick to it. We have 47 days left before going back to Nepal. One day my body is gonna want some payback.” Story: Simone Moro/ Denis Urubko Photos: Matteo...
Moro & Urubko kick off the Summit Push Today But Stop Due to Avalanche Risks

Moro & Urubko kick off the Summit Push Today But Stop Due to Avalanche Risks

This epic journey started over one month ago. For the last 11 days the boys have waited at base camp for a favourable weather window to kick off the summit push. The last few days have seen a lot of snow, but seeing a potential clear weather in the next days, they set off this morning for the Summit push. An email from Karl Garb to the boys yesterday informed their decision to start today.. From Karl Gabl -05/02/2012 : “Ciao Simone, Weather forecast for Nanga Parbat from today: The main axis of the Jetstream is still situated in Southern Pakistan (westerly component) and over Nepal in a South-westerly direction. Wind Situation:   MON Tues WED Thur FRI 6.02. 7.02. 8.02. 9.02. 10.02. 7000m SW90 S90/75 S/NW50 NW50/65/40 NW 30 /50    kph 8000 m SW130 S120/90 S/NW65 NW65 NW 50 /70 Wind from Southwest will change on 7th to South, afterwards to Northwest. Snowfall: From Tomorrow on only a few snowflakes, 9th and 10th should be dry- Temperature: free Atmosphere   MON Tues WED Thur FRI 6.02. 7.02. 8.02. 9.02. 10.02. 7000m -37 -39 -39 -35 -34  °C 8000 m -43 -46 -44 -41 -41   Good Luck Take Care Karl” However, getting to Camp 1, the conditions of the terrain are still not favourable, too much snow and very high avalanche risk, They decide to play it wise and not go further. The boys are now on their way back down to base camp. In a message from Matteo, who is in touch with Simone and Denis by Walkie Talkie from base camp, he said: At 2.34pm local...
Summit Push – Moro &  Urubko Anticipate Departure for Tomorrow

Summit Push – Moro & Urubko Anticipate Departure for Tomorrow

February 4th, Nanga Parbat Base Camp, 4230mt above sea level, -10C, snowing heavily. The boys anticipate to reach the summit on Thursday, hence they would need to leave base camp tomorrow Sunday, even though the conditions are not very good, but as they climb higher they expect to have good weather in the next days. In a regular update from basecamp the boys are keen and ready to go if given the final green light from the weather guru Karl Garl. “Today should be the last day at base camp. It’s snowing as forecasted, and the next 2 days the weather won’t be very nice either and winds will be very strong at high altitude. But wednesday and thursday the wind is supposed to calm down, and especially thursday should be a beautiful day. If we leave tomorrow we should reach the summit exactly by thursday. We are using the same tactics as a year ago for Gasherbrum II: we leave with bad weather and hopefully summit with a blue sky. Today I will call Karl Gabl for the last weather report and if he gives us a green light… then we are really leaving tomorrow morning. Following a little ritual I have had for years, today I washed and shaved thoroughly before setting off for the summit push. It is my way of respecting the spirituality of the mountain. Just like in Nepal, a buddhist country, you are asked to be purified before you enter Buddha’s temple, so do I for every mountain that I start to climb. It is my way of paying my respects to the...
One Year Annivesary of the First Winter Ascent on GII; The Boys Celebrate

One Year Annivesary of the First Winter Ascent on GII; The Boys Celebrate

Nanga Parbat Base camp. -9°C. One year ago Denis, Cory and Simone reached the summit of Gasherbum II… making history; by achieving the first ever winter accent on the Gasherbrum II. Today is a special day for the boys at base camp, on one hand, they await a good weather window to attempt the first winter accent of Nanga Parbat and on the other hand they celebrate their success on GII. Stoked with memories from last year, they share their feeling In their daily update from base camp: “What a moment.. today we celebrate, and even though Cory is not with us this year, Denis and myself are together with our most desired goal, Nanga Parbat. The sky is a bit cloudy and today should be last day of good weather according to the forecast. The Pakistan sherpas arrived today with food and fuel, but bringing also some cigarettes for cooks and the staff. The route we set up yesterday was really useful for their path. We gave them poles to move better on the way back. In fact they are carrying back to the warehouse an out of order generator and some material we won’t use anymore”. Story: Simone/ Denis Photos: Matteo...
Weather Conditions Confirm Forecast; Moro and Urubko Train Instead

Weather Conditions Confirm Forecast; Moro and Urubko Train Instead

Nanga Parbat Base Camp 4230m – -12° C Karl Gabl is always right! The weather today began with sun so we started to train a bit. A 4 hours walk down to Kutgully using snow shoes and setting up a route for the shepas who will come tomorrow bringing food and fuel to sustain us for the next month. We walked pretty well and set a really good path through the valley. On the way back from Kutgully the sky became cloudy but we expect some light snow fall tomorrow as forecasted by our weather guru in Innsbuck. Story: Simone Moro/ Denis Urubko Photos: Matteo/Simone/...
Unfavourable Conditions Stalls Summit Attempt for Moro and Urubko

Unfavourable Conditions Stalls Summit Attempt for Moro and Urubko

Nanga Parbat base camp 4230m -16 C° Today was supposed to be the last day of rest and tomorrow the planned departure for Denis and Simone to begin the planned one week stretch of climb to attempt the summit. But as it is ultimately important to have the right weather conditions, the team must now wait a few more days as the forecast for the next days is not favourable. In a message from base camp, the team said; “Karl Gabl, our weather guru in Innsbruck, should have authorized us to go. Unfortunately the forecast is not good and only two days of good weather is expected, following with snow and wind up to 140km/h at 8000mt altitude. So we will have to wait and it looks like we have to wait for a while.” Story: Simone Moro/ Denis Urubko Photo: Matteo...