Italians Rescued from Nanga Parbat

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Nine days after the death of Karl Unterkircher in a crevasse fall on Nanga Parbat, Unterkircher’s climbing partners, Simon Kehrer and Walter Nones, have been rescued from the mountain by helicopter.

Unterkircher died on July 15 after falling into a crevasse at about 6,400 meters during an attempt on a direct new route on the Rakhiot Face (north face) of the 8,125-meter peak. After an arduous all-night effort to rescue their companion, Kehrer and Nones continued climbing, unable to descend the dangerous face below them. Over the next two days, they climbed to a plateau above the steep face at 7,000 meters.

The ascent route on the Rakhiot Face, with the accident site marked. Courtesy of

On the 19th, Pakistani pilots in a Lama high-altitude helicopter were able to lower supplies to the two men, who then began traversing toward the 1953 first-ascent route on the northeast slopes. However, deterioriating weather limited their progress, and not until July 22 were they able to descend to about 6,600 meters. Although both the summit and base camp were clear, fog and falling snow between 6,000 and 7,000 meters hid the men from observers and prevented them from moving through the heavily crevassed terrain. They stayed at 6,600 meters for two nights, and then, in clear weather on the morning of the 24th, they quickly descended to around 5,700 meters, where a helicopter picked them up around midday.

The late Karl Unterkircher with his wife and three children. Courtesy of

Date: July 2008,,

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