Nanga Parbat - Mazeno Ridge - 2012

First Ascent of the Mazeno Ridge of Nanga Parbat by Sandy Allan and Rick Allen, July 2012

Nanga Parbat ( 8126m )

First ascent of Mazeno Ridge

Himalaya, Pakistan

15 July 2012

Climbed by Sandy Allan, Rick Allen

Other members of the expedition: Cathy O’Dowd, Lhakpa Rangdu Sherpa, Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, Lhakpa Zarok Sherpa

Joint winner of the Piolets d'Or 2013

The Mazeno ridge of Nanga Parbat separates the Diamir (west) from the Rupal (southeast) faces of the mountain. It is 9km long, includes seven 7000m peaks and repelled all attempts until this year.

The team established camps to ferry loads to the start of the ridge, and then continued in alpine style. On the 9th day of climbing they reached the Mazeno Gap, where the ridge abuts against the main peak of Nanga Parbat. Two previous expeditions had reached the Gap, but had not continued beyond it. The team climbed camped at the Gap and then climbed on, establishing a camp at 7200m. They set out at 1am the following day, hoping to reach the summit. It was their 11th day on the ridge.

At 7am Cathy O’Dowd and Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa turned back, exhausted and fearful of making mistakes. The others continued, with Lhakpa Rangdu and Lhakpa Zarok in the lead. In the end the three climbers turned back, believing it to be too late to reach the summit and return safely. During the descent Lhakpa Zarok slipped. Rangu, unable to hold him, was pulled off as well. They fell about 300m before coming to a halt. They then continued the descent to the camp at 7200m.

The team was by now exhausted and supplies were running low. Cathy O’Dowd, Lhakpa Rangdu,Lhakpa Nuru and Lhakpa Zarok decided to decided to descend. Sandy Allan and Rick Allen chose to make a final attempt on the summit, this time avoiding the direct finish to the ridge and instead joining the Diamir face route.

They headed upwards again, leaving the tent behind and just taking sleeping bags. It was their 13th day on the ridge. By evening they were still far from the summit. They dug a snow cave and ate some biscuits - the last of their food.

We can move and so we move

At 2pm on 15th July - the 14 day of climbing - they reached the summit ridge. But Nanga Parbat has multiple summits and visibility was poor. It wasn't until 6.12pm that they finally stood on the summit. They then returned to their snow cave. They had no food left and their lighter stopped working, so they were unable to melt water to drink.

They continued the descent the next day, digging a new snow cave in the evening.

"Day 16 - I have never climbed without gas for days at altitude before and I wonder what is going to happen. We can move and so we move" - Rick Allen (Scottish Mountaineer, November 2012)

At dusk on the 16th day they found themselves on a ridge above the site of the usual Camp 2 on the Diamir Face. They cut a ledge, tied on, and passed the night there.

Descending again, they encountered two Czech climbers - Marek Holecek and Djenek Hruby - who shared a flask of tea and energy bars with them. At 11pm they came upon a tent and three high altitude porters, despatched by their own expedition.

"Day 18: We Descend the glacier to the Diamir base camp. We have climbed the route of our lives and lived to drink a Czech beer in the sunshine" - Rick Allen (Scottish Mountaineer, November 2012)

  • The Pinnacles, Mazeno Ridge, Nanga Parbat
    The Pinnacles, Mazeno Ridge, Nanga Parbat
    British Nanga Parbat 2012 Expedition
  • Mazeno Ridge from the north
    Mazeno Ridge from the north, showing the approx position of the camps
    British Nanga Parbat 2012 Expedition
  • Nanga Parbat (Rupal face)
    Nanga Parbat (Rupal face) - upper part of Manzeno ridge on the skyline)
  • Nanga Parbat - Mazeno Ridge
    Nanga Parbat - Mazeno Ridge
    Piolet d'Or
  • Sandy Allan and Rick Allen on the summit of Nanga Parbat
    Sandy Allan and Rick Allen on the summit of Nanga Parbat
    British Nanga Parbat 2012 Expedition

More about this ascent

External references for this climb.

Nanga Parbat in the Ascent Book

Other climbs on Nanga Parbat in the Himalayan Climbs mountaineering database

Mountain Facts

Nanga Parbat, Pakistan

N 35° 14′ 14.5752″ W 74° 35′ 20.6052″

Elevation: 8126m

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