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December Solstice 2015: What are you doing?

Victron people using Victron Energy products do extraordinary things, be that traversing deserts, rowing or sailing oceans – and on this solstice day that remains the case, but this time it is the start of climbing a mountain. This is no ordinary mountain.

Today, December 22 at 04:48 UT (that’s Universal Time not Coordinated Universal Time) is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere you may well be on a beach celebrating the beginning of summer, but today in our half of the world it is the beginning of the astronomical winter – and for Victron installer Marek Klonowski (pictured above) that means the start of his fourth attempt at climbing Nanga Parbat.

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat, along with K2, has never been climbed in winter. It is one of the eight-thousanders, with a summit elevation of 8,126 metres (26,660 ft). Literally it means Naked Mountain, an immense, dramatic peak rising far above its surrounding terrain. It is also a notoriously difficult climb with numerous mountaineering deaths in the mid and early 20th century, which lent it the nickname “killer mountain”.

The climb

Back in September I received an email from Leo Yntema who is the Victron Energy Sales Manager for Eastern Europe. In that email was a forwarded email requesting ‘climb sponsorship’ from Victron installer Marek Klonowski of Energy Freedom in Ireland and Mikrogeneracja in Poland.

We’ve featured Marek’s installations in a previous Victron blog, but this time the installation was to be on Nanga Parbet, to ensure an electricity supply to charge radios, satellite phones, send video and other media to the world via a satellite modem.

Here’s a short 4 minute video, from the winter of 2012/13, to give you a flavour of the challenge.

As you can see this climb is extraordinary, so naturally Victron Energy are delighted to help with the sponsorship to assist the current climb and team, who besides Marek consist of:

The team have over 10,000 followers on Facebook, where you can keep an eye on the climb’s progress. Use the translation tool in the page if you don’t speak Polish:

The blog, in English, is here:

Victron equipment

Below you can see a list of the Victron Energy equipment being used. The first image is one taken during the team’s two week acclimatisation on Rakaposhi mountain.

Victron Energy solar panel

Victron equipment list with quantities and item codes:

The second and third images below were sent in an email to us via satellite phone and modem on the 10th December, showing the inside of the base camp hut.

Victron equipment

As Marek said to me in that email, “the satellite modem costs four dollars a megabyte and even if the photo quality is not great because of that, we wanted to show you some of the Victron toys at base camp, gracing this magical part of the universe as we ready for the winter climb.”

Victron Xmas Tree


Well I don’t know what you are doing on this solstice celebration day, but this attempt to be the first to summit Nanga Parbat in winter has to rank as one of the most exciting.

We wish Marek and the rest of the team all the very best, and in a future blog we’ll let you know how they got on. In the meantime why not support them by giving them a ‘Like’:

Or post your words of encouragement in the Disqus comments below.

Keep calm and climb Nanga dream team!

John Rushworth.


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