Overcoming High-Altitude Challenges with Thuraya

At 46, Simone Moro, has more than 50 mountaineering expeditions under his belt, and is on his way to setting another record.

He is now ascending Nanga Parbat — often referred to as the “Killer Mountain” — under the extreme conditions of the Himalayan winter. If he successfully conquers the harsh peak, this would make him the first to accomplish four first winter ascents of eight-thousander mountains. Of the past 16 attempts to climb Nanga Parbat in winter, none have succeeded.

With the world’s largest difference in height between base camp and the summit, Nanga Parbat is fraught with unpredictable assaults of snow storms. When Simone emailed us from Nanga, he had just escaped a storm. “I had made contact with the weather forecast center in Austria, which alerted my partner and I about an incoming storm, so we escaped from the high camps before the storm and snowfall hit the mountain,” he said.

Simone has been using Thuraya mobile satellite communications equipment with support from Intermatica for about 12 years, and he is the first alpinist to conquer Mount Everest with a satellite phone. Since then, Thuraya technology has followed him, every step of the way, on his various expeditions to the Himalayas, Karakorum, Thien Shan-Pamir, Africa and Caucasus.

Moro using a Thuraya SatSleeve for easy access to critical data and familiar apps on his smartphone. Photo credit to D.Gottler

In his current Nanga Parbat winter expedition, Simone is using Thuraya’s IP broadband terminals and satellite handsets to stay connected, as well as the Thuraya SatSleeve to allow him to access his iPhone applications. He relies on the Thuraya satellite equipment for weather forecasts, and communications with rescue teams, media, sponsors and fans.

Empowered with data connectivity in harsh environments, he has been able to keep safe and even save the lives of others. Moro explained: “Using the GPS function, I have helped arrange rescue several times. For instance, in 2005, my partner was injured in Batura Valley, Pakistan. I managed to give my coordinates to a helicopter rescue team, and they saved him in the nick of time.”

Lauding Thuraya satellite communications equipment for its reliability, Moro added: “I have never experienced failure in communications using Thuraya equipment. And though they are often subjected to rugged usage, like being used in temperatures way lower than official technical limits, the equipment have never broken. Also, in terms of network coverage, there is no real competition in the hemisphere covered by the Thuraya satellites.” Moro states that the devices, which are charged using solar panels, have long battery lives.

Moro with his army of voice and data equipment, which includes Thuraya IP, Thuraya IP+, a SatSleeve for iPhone 5, Thuraya XT, XT Dual and SO 2510. Photo credit to D.Gottler

Moro’s ascent up Nanga is hardly the last thing on his to-do list. After this, he will be heading to Nepal in spring to resume his rescue helicopter pilot duties, and to produce a movie about his life as an explorer and a rescue mission helicopter pilot. Thuraya and Intermatica are extremely proud with what Simone has achieved, and we look forward to continue supporting him on his future expeditions!


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