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Nanga Parbat Update: Italians Call for Heli Rescue

Two Italian alpinists on Nanga Parbat, Walter Nones and Simon Kerhrer, requested a helicopter rescue after their attempt to descend again came to a standstill. Nones and Kerher are the surviving teammates of Karl Unterkircher, who was lost in a crevasse six days ago on the mountain (read the July 16, 2008 Newswire). This morning, they left their bivouac at around 7000m, but soon faced bad weather and poor visibility. From another bivouac at around 6600m, they called rescue coordinators in base camp. “We don’t see anything. It is to dangerous to continue,” Nones and Kerher said. “We used our skis on some parts of the descent, but the fact that we only have two ice screws and two crampons left makes it difficult to cross the crevasses.”

Silvio Mondinelli, one of the rescuers in base camp, and two Pakistani high-altitude porters went up this morning to check glacier conditions. According to the Italian website, Mondinelli indicated that the glacier looked very dangerous with many crevasses. “I don’t want to be in those places,” the Italian climber, who has summited all fourteen 8000m peaks, said.

Tomorrow, July 23, Kehrer and Nones again will try to descend further via the Buhl Route. A helicopter is on standby in base camp to take off as soon as the climbers reach an altitude of approximately 6000m. Unfortunately, bad weather is forecast for tomorrow, which means when the helicopter will be able to reach them, if at all, is uncertain.

Sources: and