Simone Moro and Denis Urubko of The North Face-sponsored expedition to attempt the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat in Pakistan, have reached their basecamp. At 4230m above sea level, even at basecamp the temperatures drop to -15°C, and temperatures will drop further as the team begins climbing the world’s ninth highest peak (8126m), and Pakistan’s second highest (after K2).
The team’s blog is an interesting insight into mounting expeditions in this part of the world, and how climbing teams organise and interact with their porters:
“We finally reached base camp, now we won’t have to move all our equipment anymore, which we did up to now in a caravan of 61 porters. Today the fastest porters arrived in 2 hours, the last in 3. We paid them, and tipped them because they worked really well. Some of them were not the same porters as the first days because porters “sub-let” their work during the way up. So each day some men gave their cargo to other men, usually from the villages we crossed. Today I noticed some porters weren’t wearing the shoes I gave them on the first day.. they were walking with their feet wrapped in cloths.. in the snow!
“After getting their pay all the porters left except two of them, who decided they wanted to stay so they could get a warm meal and extra money. Tomorrow and the day after we will stay in base camp so we will finish setting it. The generator and the modem work, and we now have light in the tent we use as kitchen. In october I paid some porters asking them to come here and build four walls with rocks within which we could mount our tent. The walls were here today, and they were built greatly. These people are amazing.”