3rd update. 12 Jan 2014
Before I start with the report just some additional info - there are some photos uploaded to http://www.portalgorski.pl/wyprawy/nanga-2014/2516-rozpoczela-sie-prawdziwa-akcja-relacja-pawla-dunaja and an extensive expedition report in polish language. All PHOTOS HERE
I will start with some food for thought - What comes to mind when a "typical westerner" hears about Pakistan?
No doubt it would be fear, terrorists, kidnapping, etc. Definitely not a place to go for your holidays as apparently this country's every citizen is a blood thirsty terrorist.
Well...We have spent nearly 50 days in here and we have not encountered anything else but hospitality (in a real sense - long forgotten in a western culture where time=money), friendship, respect, laughter. People here earn less in a month than we in 3 days yet their moral code is far more humane and genuine than the one of a typical westerner.
One could ask a question - why is our perspective of Pakistan so different from reality? Are we being forced to think certain way? Is someone trying to make us afraid because when afraid we are easier to manipulate? I have been travelling to so called 3 world countries for over 10 yrs now and none of these countries were the way I thought they would be. Instead of a place full of thieves and "terrorists" trying to rob you - as pictured by the media left and right I have always met friendly and genuine people - so much more friendly and genuine than their European/American counterparts.
It is just a food for thought - but please think about it and make up your own mind - or even better - go to Pakistan, Iran or any other Evil axis country and have the time of your life - fantastic people, food, landscape - unspoiled by dollar or euro. These places still have moral values worth a lot more than any amount of money.
Ok - lets go back to the Expedition itself after this lengthy introduction. It is the 12th of January 2014 - nearly two weeks since the last update. A lot has happened since.
On the 1st of January Marek, Czapa and myself left BC and headed for ABC. We spend a night in there and early in the morning on the 2nd of January Marek left for C1(5100m). I followed him shortly after and half way to C1 was stopped by a small avalanche (very refreshing experience when boulders weighing 20+kgs are flying around you :) ). Tomek and I finally reached C1 around 6hours later just to find the camp empty - it turned out that Marek had so much energy that he went for C1A (5500) in one go - impressive considering it is 1500meters difference in height and nearly 9hours of climbing. On the same day Jacek, Michal and Pawel left BC and followed our footsteps.
On the 3rd of January we all (apart from Marek who was busy above 5500 meters fixing ropes) met in C1 and spend a day there resting. Temperatures were in its -30's but spirits were high as C1 consists of 2 RAB latok tents joined together - a very comfortable setup considering these were set up at 5100 on a narrow rocky ledge.
4th of January
Tomek leaves for C1A to team up with Marek and rest of us stays in C1 to wait for the bad weather to change for something more acceptable - Tomek in the meantime struggled to reach C1A which is only 400m higher - because of the winds, snow and also because he was fixing the ropes it took him most of the day to meet up with Marek.
On the next day Jacek and myself loaded with supplies for higher camps left C1 and headed for C1A. Because of the rope shortage and difficult terrain above we were told via walkie talkie to collect any rope left by Tomek the day before.
We reached C1A around 3pm - just when Tomek and Marek were coming down from 5800 where they left deposit. Because C1A(5500) is placed on a steep slope (with some breathtaking views) there is only a place for one 2ppl tent - Marek and Tomek left for C1 and Jacek and myslef stayed for a night. It was not a pleasant one as temperatures were in its -30's with a significant wind chill factor. Additionally the sleeping bag I had to sleep in was soaked as there was no Sunshine for the last 36 hours that could dry it up.
On the 6th of January Jacek went up higher to fix some more rope, I stayed in C1A and at around 2pm welcomed Pawel and Michal who left C1 in the morning caring more supplies. At that time Marek and Tomek were already enjoying the "comforts" of BC.
After some much needed hot tea Pawel and Michal left in Jacek's direction - they were caring an additional tent and were hoping to set it up at 5800 - just before a place called Turnia Wielickiego which is a steep, technical part of the route - around 300m high to usual camp2 (6100m). Shortly after Pawel and Michal left, Jacek came down to C1A and we were preparing for another night in C1A. Around 4pm we were called via walkie talkie that because of a difficulties at 5800 with setting up a camp (ice and not enough snow) and an incoming weather change it would be better to come down. Rushing before the dawn and in the snowstorm Jacek and I left for C1 (trust me - there is nothing more engaging and thrilling than a run down steep slopes of Nanga Parbat in a snowstorm).
that night Pawel and Michal slept in C1A, Jacek and myself in C1 and Tomek and Marek in BC.
When Jacek and I reached C1 that evening we were greeted by Simone Morro and his climibng partner David who were also spending the night in our C1 (despite what some people might think there is no unhealthy competition between JFA and Simone Morro's expedition - we share supplies, rope, tents and everything else in a hope of reaching the summit).
The morning of the 7th was January was already cloudy and we could see that it will deteriorate fast. Pawel and Michal came quickly down from C1A and together with Jacek and myself we quickly went down to BC. David and Simone stayed a bit longer but followed shortly after.
8th of January.
The whole JFA team together in BC. Spirits are high, we are all very happy to exchange stories and company after spending 7 days on the mountain. Once again mountain showed us that planning anything has a limited purpose - the mountain and the weather will decide anyway. We were hoping to establish C2(6100), maybe even C3(6600) during this outing - yet we were stopped at 5800m.
Over the next days we were enjoying each others company and resting - eating loads (thanks to Rahmat and Abdul - our cooks), playing bazaar (Pakistani card game) and editing photos and videos. We were also invited by Simone Morro for a lovely dinner during which we talked about life, travelling, helicopters and climbing.
The team spirits were high, everyone was preparing for the next outing and we were all discussing the upcoming days - only Marek seemed distant and withdrawn - it soon became apparent for what reasons. After a satellite phone call that he had with his partner Ida it came out that her pregnancy is fragile - despite being due in 3 weeks time she was not feeling right and had to visit the doctors frequently. It was obvious she needed help and support. Marek dropped the bombshell -
"guys - I have to leave - I am off for home in 2 days".
We knew that something like that might happen but none of us really seen that that actual possibility - maybe after reaching c3. Marek took this as a man would do - few farewell sentences, shiny eyes (6 pairs of these) and he was off to perform his duties as a father and a partner. thank you marek for a fantastic experience, for sharing the time of our lives with us.
We all feel like we lost a friend, leading climber and one of the main engines of the expedition. Take care Marek - get home safe - we miss you and we will try to accomplish our main goal - reaching the summit of Nanga Parbat.
|Marek ready to leave ... from left Pawel, house owner, cook Rahmat, Marek, cook helper Abdul, Jacek... Tomek, Dziku, Michal|
11th of January.
Tomek leaves for C1 and Jacek, Michal and Pawel are waiting for his signal to follow. As for myself - I have to leave too - my work holidays are nearly over and I have to be back in Ireland in the next week or so.
Together with Marek we will be in a permanent contact with the expedition and we will keep you posted. Right now my fingers are numb - despite being in BC we still endure temperatures in its -20's. Michal is reading a book, Pawel and Jacek in their sleeping bags.
We are sending massive, warm greetings from the foot of Nanga Parbat - in the heart of northern area of Pakistan - a beautiful and friendly country - despite what media are saying about it.