Barmasse: “Paltrinieri’s advice for climbing the Rupal too”

Negative weather conditions and “rotten” rock on Nanga Parbat, but the mountaineer thinks back to the advice of a friendly swimmer: “If one has to win, do it with the cards he has”

Even a sentence by Gregorio Paltrinieri can help if, during an expedition on an 8000er, bad weather becomes the absolute protagonist. “When Greg came to Valtournenche for the high-altitude boarding school, I was struck by one of his words”, says Hervè Barmasse on the satellite phone from the new base camp of Nanga Parbat, that of the Schell Route, where he is preparing the ascent on the Rupal, the largest wall of the world. “More or less he said to me like this:” If one has to win, take advantage of the cards he has and the condition he is in “, that is: even if you don’t have the cards you wanted, you have to try with them anyway”.

The climate doesn’t help

In the case of Barmasse and his companions, the German David Goettler and the American Mike Arnold, the unwanted map, but certainly not unpredictable at very high altitude, is the weather: “In the last few days we have had favorable conditions only twice, when in fact we moved the base camp by moving for 7 kilometers, looking at the wall to the left ”. Once all the “luggage” had been unpacked, obviously thanks to the help of the Sherpas, the three mountaineers immediately continued their explorations: “We started climbing the Schell Route to begin to understand what the conditions were like. When it got dark at an altitude of 4,500 meters, we stopped to sleep. The next day we continued and there we realized that the conditions were not great. At times there was dusty snow on rotten rock and at other times very deep snow. In this first part, especially David (who had already climbed Nanga Parbat together with Simone Moro in 2014; ed) remembered that eight years ago the snow was holding up, his group was able to go very fast, instead we were very slow. We got up to 5,670 meters, then, seeing that the next day it was bad and snow again, we decided to go back to base camp. Under normal conditions, up to an altitude of 6 thousand, even with a backpack, a thousand meters of difference in altitude we cover them easily under two hours, while in this case it took three and a half to make 1,100, there was just something wrong “.

Barmasse does not complain

The snow conditions didn’t seem friendly at all: “They worried us a bit, we felt a bit of avalanches, other situations a bit on the edge. It was at this point that I thought back to Greg’s words. Anyway, so far in two weeks we have been moving for 11 days, and that’s all extra acclimatization. Unless the weather is really impossible, we always try to be very active ”. Barmasse, however, does not complain: “Perhaps the extreme conditions of modern expeditions have always been somewhat mythologized. The current expeditions, with the “comforts” that can be had at the base camp, are certainly different from those of the past. Yes, the nights are long here, you feel the cold especially when you are on the wall inside these curtains. The temperatures they gave when we slept at over 5,000 meters were over 22-25 degrees below zero. It’s not pleasant, but in the end the night passes and that’s okay ”. A “catch” however, as Barmasse says, there is, and how. “We have climbed 2,100 meters and have not yet reached the middle of the Rupal. Well, when David and I were on another 8000m peak five years ago, the Shisha Pangma, after having tackled 2,500 meters in altitude we were practically at the top ”.

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Barmasse: “Paltrinieri’s advice for climbing the Rupal too”