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    Nanga Parbat


    Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 metres (26,660 ft) above sea level. It is the western anchor of the Himalayas around which the Indus river skirts into the plains of Pakistan. It is in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan and is locally known as Diamir or Deo Mir (deo meaning "huge" and mir meaning "mountain").
    Nanga Parbat is one of the eight-thousanders, with a summit elevation of 8,126 metres (26,660 ft). An immense, dramatic peak rising far above its surrounding terrain, Nanga Parbat is also a notoriously difficult climb. Numerous mountaineering deaths in the mid and early-20th century lent it the nickname "killer mountain".

    Nanga Parbat forms the western anchor of the Himalayan Range and is the westernmost eight-thousander. It lies just south of the Indus River in the Diamer District of Gilgit–Baltistan in Pakistan. Not far to the north is the western end of the Karakoram range.

    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 4,600 m (15,090 ft) above its base. To the north, the complex, somewhat more gently sloped Rakhiot Flank rises 7,000 m (22,966 ft) from the Indus River valley to the summit in just 25 km (16 mi), one of the 10 greatest elevation gains in so short a distance on earth.


    Nanga Parbat is one of only two peaks on earth that rank in the top twenty of both the highest mountains in the world, and the most prominent peaks in the world, ranking ninth and fourteenth respectively. The other is Mount Everest, which is first on both lists. It is also the second most prominent peak of the Himalayas, after Mount Everest. The key col for Nanga Parbat is Zoji La in Kashmir, which connects it to higher peaks in the remaining Himalaya-Karakoram range.

    Nanga Parbat along with Namcha Barwa on the Tibetan Plateau mark the west and east ends of the Himalayas.

    The core of Nanga Parbat is a long ridge trending southwest–northeast. The ridge is an enormous bulk of ice and rock. It has three faces, Diamir face, Rakhiot, and Rupal. The southwestern portion of this main ridge is known as the Mazeno Wall, and has a number of subsidiary peaks. In the other direction, the main ridge arcs northeast at Rakhiot Peak (7,070 m / 23,196 ft).

    The south/southeast side of the mountain is dominated by the Rupal Face. The north/northwest side of the mountain, leading to the Indus, is more complex. It is split into the Diamir (west) face and the Rakhiot (north) face by a long ridge. There are a number of subsidiary summits, including North Peak (7,816 m / 25,643 ft) some 3 km north of the main summit. Near the base of the Rupal Face is a glacial lake called Latbo, above a seasonal shepherds' village of the same name.

    Because of its accessibility, attempts to summit Nanga Parbat began very soon after it was discovered by Europeans. In 1895 Albert F. Mummery led an expedition to the peak, and reached almost 6,100 m (20,000 ft) on the Diamir (West) Face, but Mummery and two Gurkha companions later died reconnoitering the Rakhiot Face.
    In the 1930s, Nanga Parbat became the focus of German interest in the Himalayas. The German mountaineers were unable to attempt Mount Everest, as only the British had access to Tibet. Initially German efforts focused on Kanchenjunga, to which Paul Bauer led two expeditions in 1930 and 1931, but with its long ridges and steep faces Kanchenjunga was more difficult than Everest and neither expedition made much progress. K2 was known to be harder still, and its remoteness meant that even reaching its base would be a major undertaking. Nanga Parbat was therefore the highest mountain accessible to Germans and also deemed reasonably possible by climbers at the time.

    The first German expedition to Nanga Parbat was led by Willy Merkl in 1932. It is sometimes referred to as a German-American expedition, as the eight climbers included Rand Herron, an American, and Fritz Wiessner, who would become an American citizen the following year. While the team were all strong climbers, none had Himalayan experience, and poor planning (particularly an inadequate number of porters), coupled with bad weather, prevented the team progressing far beyond the Rakhiot Peak northeast of the Nanga Parbat summit, reached by Peter Aschenbrenner and Herbert Kunigk, but they did establish the feasibility of a route via Rakhiot Peak and the main ridge.

    Merkl led another expedition in 1934, which was better prepared and financed with the full backing of the new Nazi government. Early in the expedition Alfred Drexel died, probably of high altitude pulmonary edema. The Tyrolean climbers Peter Aschenbrenner and Erwin Schneider reached an estimated height of (7,895 m / 25,900 ft) on July 6, but were forced to return because of worsening weather. On July 7 they and 14 others were trapped by a storm at 7,480 m (24,540 ft).

    During the desperate retreat that followed, three famous German mountaineers, Uli Wieland, Willo Welzenbach and Merkl himself, and six Sherpas died of exhaustion, exposure and altitude sickness, and several more suffered severe frostbite. The last survivor to reach safety, Ang Tsering, did so having spent seven days battling through the storm. It has been said that the disaster, "for sheer protracted agony, has no parallel in climbing annals."

    In 1937, Karl Wien led another expedition to the mountain, following the same route as Merkl's expeditions had done. Progress was made, but more slowly than before due to heavy snowfall. About 14 June seven Germans and nine Sherpas, almost the entire team, were at Camp IV below Rakhiot Peak when it was overrun by an avalanche. All sixteen men died.

    The Germans returned in 1938 led by Paul Bauer, but the expedition was plagued by bad weather, and Bauer, mindful of the previous disasters, ordered the party down before the Silver Saddle, halfway between Rakhiot Peak and Nanga Parbat summit, was reached.

    The following year a small four man expedition, including Peter Aufschnaiter and Heinrich Harrer, explored the Diamir Face with the aim of finding an easier route. They concluded that the face was a viable route, but the Second World War intervened and the four men were interned by the British in Dehradun, India .Harrer's escape and subsequent wanderings across the Tibetan Plateau became the subject of his book Seven Years in Tibet.

    Nanga Parbat was first climbed, via the Rakhiot Flank (East Ridge), on July 3, 1953 by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl, a member of a German-Austrian team. The expedition was organized by the half-brother of Willy Merkl, Karl Herrligkoffer from Munich, while the expedition leader was Peter Aschenbrenner from Kufstein, who had participated in the 1932 and 1934 attempts. By the time of this expedition, 31 people had already died on the mountain.

    The final push for the summit was dramatic: Buhl continued alone for the final 1300 meters, after his companions had turned back. Under the influence of the drugs pervitin (based on the stimulant methamphetamine used by soldiers during World War II), padutin, and tea from coca leaves, he reached the summit dangerously late, at 7 pm, the climbing harder and more time-consuming than he had anticipated. His descent was slowed when he lost a crampon. Caught by darkness, he was forced to bivouac standing upright on a narrow ledge, holding a small handhold with one hand. Exhausted, he dozed occasionally, but managed to maintain his balance. He was also very fortunate to have a calm night, so he was not subjected to wind chill. He finally reached his high camp at 7 pm the next day, 40 hours after setting out. The ascent was made without oxygen, and Buhl is the only man to have made the first ascent of an 8000 m peak alone.










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