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Introduction

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat (also known as Nanga parbat Peak or Diamar) is the ninth highest mountain on Earth and the second highest in Pakistan.Nanga Parbat is the western anchor of the Himalayas, and is the westernmost eight-thousander. It lies just south of the Indus River, in the Diamar District of the Northern Areas of Pakistan.

Nanga Parbat means “Naked Mountain”. Nanga Parbat was one of the deadliest of the eight-thousanders in the first half of the twentieth century; since that time it has been less so, though still an extremely serious climb. It is also an immense, dramatic peak, with great local relief.Nanga Parbat has tremendous vertical relief over local terrain in all directions. To the south, Nanga Parbat boasts what is often referred to as the highest mountain face in the world: the Rupal Face rises an incredible 4600 m (15,000 feet) above its base. To the north, the complex, somewhat more gently sloped Rakhiot Flank rises 7000 m (22,966 feet) from the Indus River valley to the summit in just 27 km, one of the 10 greatest elevation gains in so short a distance on Earth.The core of Nanga Parbat is a long ridge trending southwest-northeast. The southwestern portion of this main ridge is known as the Mazeno Ridge, and has a number of subsidiary peaks. In the other direction, the main ridge starts as the East Ridge before turning northeast at Rakhiot Peak (7070m). The south/southeast side of the mountain is dominated by the Rupal Face, noted above. The north/northwest side of the mountain, leading to the Indus, is more complex. It is split into the Diamar (west) face and the Rakhiot (north) face by a long ridge. There are a number of subsidiary summits, including the North Peak (7816m) some 3km north of the main summit.

Nanga Parbat Climbing History

Climbing attempts started very early on Nanga Parbat. In 1895 Albert F. Mummery led an expedition to the peak, and reached almost 7000 m on the Diamar (West) Face, but Mummery and two Gurkha companions later died reconnoitering the Raikot Face.
Six German expeditions attempted the peak in the 1930s, but none succeeded, and dozens of climbers died in storms and avalanches. However, an altitude of about 7700 m was reached on the East Ridge, attained via the Rakhiot Face.
Nanga Parbat was first climbed on July 3, 1953 by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl, a member of a German-Austrian team. By the time of this expedition, 31 people had already died trying to make the first ascent. The final push for the summit was dramatic: Buhl continued alone, after his companions had turned back, and spent a night standing up on the descent. Buhl is the only mountaineer to have made the first ascent of an eight-thousander solo (at least at the summit) and without oxygen.
The second ascent of Nanga Parbat was via the Diamar Face, in 1962, by Germans Toni Kinshofer, S. Löw, and A. Mannhardt. This route is now the “standard route” on the mountain. The Kinshofer route does not ascend the middle of the Diamar Face, which is threatened by avalanches from massive hanging glaciers. Instead it climbs a buttress on the left side of the face.
In 1970 Reinhold and Günther Messner reached the summit via a direct route on the huge, difficult Rupal Face; this was the third ascent of the mountain. Their descent was epic: they were unable to descend their ascent route, and instead made the first traverse of the mountain, going down the Diamar Face. Unfortunately Günther was killed in an avalanche on the Diamar. (Messner’s account of this incident was disputed, and cast a further shadow over this achievement. However, in 2005 Günther’s remains were found on the Diamar Face, corroborating Reinhold’s story.)
In 1978 Reinhold Messner returned to the Diamar Face and achieved the first completely solo ascent (i.e. always solo above Base Camp) of an 8000m peak.
In 1984 the French climber Lilliane Barrard became the first woman to climb Nanga Parbat, along with her husband Maurice Barrard.
Among other ascents of the peak, the 1985 ascent by Jerzy Kukuczka et al stands out. They climbed a bold line up the Southeast Pillar (or Polish Spur) on the right-hand side of the Rupal Face.
Recently some well-known climbers have been attempting very quick ascents of the Rupal Face. In particular, late summer of 2005 was a busy time on the face. In August, Pakistani military helicopters rescued renowned Slovenian mountaineer Tomaž Humar, who was stuck under a narrow ice ledge at 5900 metres for six days. It is believed to be one of the few successful rescues carried out at such high altitude. In September, Vince Anderson and noted alpinist Steve House did an extremely lightweight, fast ascent of a new, direct route on the face, earning high praise from the climbing community.
On the 17th or 18th of July 2006, José Antonio Delgado Sucre, an elite high altitude climber from Venezuela, died a few days after making the summit, where he was caught by bad weather for 6 straight days and was not able to make his way down. He was the only Venezuelan climber, and one of the few Latin Americans, to have summitted five eight-thousanders.

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