NANGA PARBAT 2014
28 February - "I've just got back to Base Camp a few hours ago. You already know some of the things that have happened today, but the most important is that David and Tomek are at roughly 7000 meters. They have two days at their disposal of good wind conditions to give the summit an attempt, even if the itinerary to climb is unfortunately still very long.
Yesterday David and I planned to go from C1 to C3. The previous night though it had snowed forcing us to make tracks once again, to do this we regularly took turns making tracks. Once we reached C2 the conditions had deteriorated and by radio Tomek (the Polish alpinist) who was at C3 warned us that the wind and cold blowing on his tent was extremely strong. We had nothing at C2 and all we could expect was an overnight bivouac. In that moment I decided to tell David to climb up on his own 200 meters above and to slip into the little tent which the Poles had set up, inside he would find all the necessary gear for one person. Sleeping mat, sleeping bag, camping stove and food. I said to David that at least one of us had to eat and rest well. I would then bivvy in the ice cave where there were other Polish alpinists, Pawel and Jacek. I had no bivvy gear so I threw my backpack to the ground and I lay on that. Jacek offered me his sleeping bag but it was more for summer camping than for a night at altitude during winter. The bivouac was very hard on me, and was made worse by stomach problems which made me vomit 3 times. The reason was simple. The Poles kindly offered me tea, milk and food, but they haven't washed their pot for 90 days and the taste of their drinks is a mixture between rice, cheese, salami, freeze dried food, porridge, milk etc. Added to that there was a strong smell of kerosene and drinking that stuff just crushed me. I woke up this morning feeling really bad, but nonetheless I wanted to keep on climbing as I had planned. When David set off he was already half way up and we had agreed on climbing up to C3, take our tent and move it further up. David had the walkie talkie I had given him and I had the Thuraya satellite phone. We didn't speak directly but through Emilio who acted as our middle man. My legs felt weak but after only 2 hours I reached the tent where David had slept the previous night. In the meantime he had almost reached C3 and told Emilio that he would take the camp moving it up higher setting Camp 4. At that point I realised that I could have reached C3 but not C4 and I did not want to force David to wait for me. There are only 2 good days left to reach the summit and I did not want to be the reason of any possible unsuccessful summit attempt. That's why I told David to continue as high up as possible, he did this together with Tomek who was not keeping up with him, consequently forcing David to make tracks on his own. Obviously this was a very hard decision for me to take, I was finally regaining energy again after having had something to eat and drink, but this is what team spirit is all about, and when it comes down to it, it is important to prove that one has team spirit and to experience it to the bitter end. That is why I chose to go back down from 6500 meters to base camp's 3580, bringing down as much gear as I could. Now all I can do is keep my fingers crossed for David and Tomek. The route which leads to the summit is still terribly long and the weather forecast only allows for another 48 hours of weak wind with clouds and sleet..."