Top Italian Climber Killed on Nanga Parbat


Karl Unterkircher was killed shortly before his 38th birthday in a crevasse fall on Nanga Parbat. Courtesy of

Top Italian Climber Killed on Nanga Parbat

Karl Unterkircher, one of the leading lights of Himalayan climbing in recent years, has been killed in a crevasse fall while attempting a new route on Nanga Parbat. Unterkircher and his partners, Simon Kehrer and Walter Nones, were at about 6,000 meters on the Rakhiot Face of the 8,125-meter peak when a snow bridge collapsed and Unterkircher fell to the bottom of a deep crevasse. His partners worked through the night to extract Unterkircher, but were unsuccessful.

Unable to descend the dangerous face below them, Kehrer and Nones continued upward to around 7,000 meters to escape. They are still making their way down the mountain through dangerous terrain.

Earlier this month, while acclimatizing for Nanga Parbat, the three men completed a new route on the west ridge of Chongra Peak (6,824m), making the mountain’s second ascent.

Unterkircher, who was just about to turn 38, has done numerous new routes in the Dolomites, and he climbed Everest and K2 without supplementary oxygen in 2004, but recently he has focused on new routes in the Himalayan ranges. With various partners, he made the first ascent of the north spur of Mt. Genyen (6,204m) in China in 2006, and the south face of Jasemba (7,350m) in Nepal and the north face of Gasherbrum II in China, both in 2007. Unterkircher worked as a mountain guide from his home below Sella Pass in the Dolomites. He left a wife and three young children.

Karl Unterkircher, Simon Kehrer and Walter Nones completed the west ridge of Chongra Peak (6,824m) on July 3, making the mountain’s second ascent. Karl Unterkircher/Courtesy of

Top Italian Climber Killed on Nanga Parbat

Date of Accident: July 15, 2008,, American Alpine Journal

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