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Nanga Parbat Winter 2013/14


My eyes absorb what they see, I try to inhale every detail

I see an ocean, with waves, with silent parts, so deep and without an end at the horizon.

I can’t say where it ends and where it becomes the sky.

Maybe this is the same kind of feeling someone has when they sail around the world,

Being lost at sea, feeling vulnerable and small.

At least I imagine that it must be similar.

The waves are mountains: big ones like Nanda Devi or the Gasherbrums.

In between, there are some patches of low cloud which look like lakes amongst the waves.

And the valleys around us, are the depth of the ocean.

We climb higher, and we are few on this mountain.

On the biggest wave I have ever seen. On Nanga Parbat…in winter.

Simone and myself are high up today, around 6900m. And we are alone. There is nobody.

The sun is shining, it is a clear day. You might even think it was warm.

But the wind and the temperatures are cold. Freezing cold.

We try to keep every bit of warmth we have.

We need to think more than ever before about not loosing that heat.

Our little tent seems so fragile, but it’s strong, and it’s the only place without wind.

Today we went a bit higher to see what the route looked like.

We left our bastion of protection.

After we had put on all we have.

After we had warmed our boots and our feet.

After we had heated our gloves with warm water bottles inside our sleeping bags.

After we had put on a scarf to protect our nose and face

Then, we started to go up a bit more.

The snow was hard and icy, it made a special sound. It was nice to walk, but we had to take care.

The terrain is steep and one mistake would be fatal.

We climbed steadily; concentrating on each step.

We reached a point from where we saw the next section, and it looked promising.

The next time we climb up we will know what to expect.

At least for a few hundred metres, and, if conditions don’t change a lot.

But we never know if we will even get the chance to be up here again.

The weather could be bad for ages…it is the game you play here on 8000m peaks in the winter.

But I have seen this sea, this ocean around me,

so I have nothing to complain about!