Shisha Pangma First Winter Summit: It's official|
Jan 21, 2005 23: 29 EST
We didn't hear from the guys in a few days. Now we know why. Simone reports that they almost lost the cook boy, and had one final battle to fight - the return to Nyalam. And then there is a small note at the end of the guys dispatch: The CTMA (China/ Tibetan Mountaineering Assoc) made out a summit certificate for the expedition as usual, but this time with a significant addition - the words “First Winter Summit.” Here goes the teams dispatch:
Battle to the end
"The expedition was hard to the very end... After our summit, Jacek and Darek also made an attempt but had to abort due to the horrible wind and temperatures down to 40 below.
It began to snow and the bad weather didn't stop. We finally decided to try to make it to Nyalam, the first village, from where we started our trek one month ago. From there we would take jeeps to Kathmandu.
Chiring out in the cold
But the day before we left we lost our Kitchen boy Chiring. He had gone to ABC to take down the last things and hadn't returned by the evening. We became very worried and headed out in the darkness and the storm, to look for him. With the extreme cold and heavy snow fall, we feared the worst.
We spent an awful night, until - to our great joy - Chiring showed up in BC the next morning. Realizing the danger, he had made himself a bivouac only 2 hours from BC.
14 hours in a winter storm at 13000 ft
Now another drama was ahead. We left BC (5200 m) at 12:30 pm, to descend to Nyalam at 3750 m, 25 km/15,5 miles away. We could never guess that only a few hours later we would get hit by a storm.
We fought the elements in darkness for 14 hours, in -30 degree cold and snow sometimes reaching up to our waist. We fell in the icy waters of the river several times, as it was covered by thin ice that broke when we passed over it. Other times the snow was so deep and powdery that it was near impossible to go on.
We arrived Nyalam very cold and battered. We could tell from peoples faces that we probably looked like crap. One of my fingers is black and I have partially lost the feeling in the other. The rest of the climbers have some facial frostnip and are very fatigued.
Sauna 3 hour’s straight
The next day we drove by jeep to Zangmu, at the border to Nepal, where we took showers and a sauna for 3 straight hours!
Today we have arrived in Kathmandu. On more shower and now we are preparing to go out from our Hotel. I want to eat a big beef and make a party to celebrate that we are back in civilization at last.
P.S. Today, the 20th of January the CTMA certificated our summit with the sentence “first winter Summit” as the first winter summit for Shisha Pangma, made by Simone Moro ITA and Piotr Morawski POL at the 14th of January."
Simone Moro and Piotr Morawski summited Shisha Pangma Friday January 14 at 1.15 pm (local) after a fast 5 hour climb in very strong winds. They followed the Yugoslavian route on the south face.
Up until now only 8 out of all 14 eight-thousanders have been winter climbed. Before the addition of Italian Simone Moro, all first winter accents were made by Polish climbers in Calendar winter, from Everest in 1980 to Lhotse in 1988 - the last time (before 2005) someone set foot on a virgin summit higher than 8000m during the winter.
Simone Moro, 37, was the driving force behind this current expedition. He has earlier summited Mount Everest, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu and Lhotse. In 1996, Simone reached the N. Summit of Shisha Pangma. Piotr Morawski took part in the 2003 K2 winter expedition, led by Polish Krzysztof Wielicki. Simone Moro, Piotr Morawski, Jacek Jawien, Dariusz Zaluski and Jan Szulc repeated their winter attempt of last year.
Image of the trek out from Shisha to Nyalam, courtesy of Simone Moro.