On day 10 of the climb we tackled what we knew was supposed to be the crux of the ridge, the pinnacles. This is the last section before the Mazeno Gap, the col between the ridge and the main massif of Nanga Parbat. We knew from the report of the two Americans who first climbed all the way along the ridge that they took 12 hrs to get across the pinnacles and it was this section that led them to grade the climb VI M4 A13. In the end our team of six would take 11 hours and we would give it a considerably lower grade, perhaps we may have had much more snow than the Americans did.
DAY 10 – 11 JULY
The start of the pinnacles, with Nuru and Zarok visible on the ridge as tiny figures.
Snow sections through the pinnacles. Cathy in front of the photo with Sandy and Rick behind.
The ridge begins to narrow, with drops down to the Rupal glacier on one side and the Diamir glacier on the other. Cathy in the front.
The ridge gets increasingly complicated, now mixed rock and snow. Nuru and Zarok are visible in the middle of the photo if you look carefully.
Climbing up sugar snow that simply gave way under the boots.
Abseiling down the pinnacles.
The complexity continues to increase. The climber is Cathy.
The ridge gets ever narrower. The climber is Cathy. (The preponderance of photos of Cathy is because my climbing partner, Lhakpa Rangduk was now the only one taking many photos, other than myself and of course my camera would come to a bad end a few days later.)
The ridge gets yet more complex as we descend towards the Mazeno Gap. Rick and Sandy can be seen in the middle of the photo if you look carefully.
Rick and Sandy on the final pinnacle before the Mazeno Gap, in the light of sunset, after 11 hours of climbing. We got the camp up just as it got dark. (Click for bigger.)
Our campsite for the night of 10 July, at the Mazeno Gap. We had now come as far as any Mazeno Ridge team had ever managed. Ahead of us lay the main massif of Nanga Parbat.