Home > Expeditions & Adventures > Joao Garcia’s Nanga Parbat debrief: “the fixed rope where Miss Go fell was removed”

Joao Garcia’s Nanga Parbat debrief: “the fixed rope where Miss Go fell was removed”

“It’s outrageous. Had it happened in Europe, someone would have been held responsible. But in a Pakistan base camp, everybody try to conceal it.”

When it comes to fellow climbers, usually Joao Garcia tries to be a diplomat. Not so in the following debrief from Nanga Parbat, which Joao has asked ExplorersWeb to publish. Here goes.

Nanga Parbat debrief
By Joao Garcia

The International-Austrian team tried to play smart with everyone else right from the start. At first, they refused to cooperate on the rope-fixing, alleging their cargo (including the tents) was delayed – it was not true.

We fixed the route to C2. After that their porters carried up some 500 meters of line. I brought up and fixed 100 meters above C2, as I had already slept two nights there. I then asked the Austrians for more rope to fix. They gave me a 120 meter coil.

I placed it right above the one I had fixed before. This rope was later removed – from the very section where Miss Go fell!

A tense expeditions’ meeting

If every climber had fixed 100 meters each; at the 50 of us, divided between 4 expeditions, the about 5000 meters that needed to be done should have been a fast and easy task.

But on an 18 member team the Austrians had only 6 HAP’s: five of which were personal porters having to perform double duty and carrying rope when they could. By comparison, the Koreans fixed 2000 meters.

Five days into the expedition the Austrian team asked for a meeting; aggressively commanding the Iranians to fix more rope. I tried to explain that the Iranians were not actually climbing – only Pakistani Muhamed Ali was to attempt the summit on their behalf, and then there was Amin and I (sharing their permit).

I told them I had already fixed my 100 meters, plus the 120 meters they had given me. They still insisted, so I accepted to carry another 350 meters from BC to C3, for the Korean’s Sherpas to fix where they deemed needed.

“I can´t understand how it could have been removed”

While we had accepted all the terms: the Austrian’s contribution became to remove rope from sections they considered overly fixed, and bring it up with them.

One of the sections was where the Korean girl died. The line secured a rocky outcrop, and I can´t understand how it could have been removed; while a rope was left on a completely flat ridge before C3.

During this time, on our summit push, Amin, Ali and I labored to transport ropes from C2 to C3. We had to climb down to C2 for the night, in order to get some rest before climbing back up all the way to C4 on the following day, hoping to reach the summit a few hours later – we had no choice, as weather is same for everyone.

A sad end

The bottom line is that the Austrians fixed a total of 44 meters per person, while the three of us carried 140 meters each, as did the Koreans. It’s shameful, it’s unfair – and in my opinion the consequence of an outfitter selling a “fully-supplied” Nanga Parbat expedition with an unacceptable HAP/clients ratio.

I believe that the Austrian team leader; the local agent Ali; and the manager of the local porters are all accomplices for financial reasons – while the clients are foolish to think that anyone could make an omelette without breaking eggs. It’s impossible to offer a reliable service with a mere 6 porters on 18 clients.

The story ended sadly: a team member was lost while his mates had no clue about when, where and how it happened. An exhausted young Korean girl had her support withdrawn.

I am getting sick and tired of this ‘high-altitude tourism’ – I can’t wait to get done with this 14x8000er project; and to begin different, less crowded expeditions.

(Ed note: ExlorersWeb has offered the Austrian-International expedition leader, currently in transit to K2, to comment Joao’s report.)

Bagging his 13th 8000er (all without supplementary oxygen), Portuguese Joao Garcia summited Nanga Parbat on noon July 10. Annapurna is the last on his list – a climb he plans for spring, 2010.

Korean Mi Sun Go and Austrian Wolfgang Köblinger also topped out on July 10, but later in the day at 6:00 pm. Wolfgang fell to his death shortly after on descent. Another fall, on an unroped section between C3 and C2 took Miss Go’s life the following day.

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