After a difficult expedition lasting over a month, Sandy Allan and Rick Allen with Lhakpa Rangdu and Lakpa Zarok have made the first ascent of Nanga Parbat’s (8126 meters) Mazeno Ridge. The Mazeno Ridge, at ten kilometers, is the longest known ridge on any 8,000 meter peak, and with an estimated elevation gain of 6,500 meters. The difficulty of Mazeno lies in the eight subpeaks that lie along the back of the ridge; rising and falling like a camel’s humps. First attempted in 1979 by a French expedition, the ridge has since seen many attempts with varying degrees of success. In 1992 Doug Scott climbed the first three peaks on the ridge, but was forced to turn back shortly thereafter. Steve Swenson and Doug Chabot climbed four of the peaks along the ridge, reaching the junction of the Schell Route, but left without reaching the summit of Nanga Parbat after Swenson suffered a respiratory infection.
The expedition originally began with another member, Cathy O’Dowd, but after high winds, food shortages and poor conditions, the team split up, and O’Dowd returned to base camp. While O’Dowd descended, Sandy Allan and Rick Allen, along with Sherpa Lhakpa Rangdu and Sherpa Lakpa Zarok continued climbing, but were forced to stop around at 7950 meters at the base of the summit pyramid due to poor conditions. Three days later, the group made another push for the summit, and became the first to climb Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno Ridge. On Thursday, they returned safely to base camp.