You should write something historic. The mountain rises glistening from an encasement of glaciers in the far reaches of the Karakoram. The Poles turned to the mountains of Asia, where the technical challenge was magnitudes greater and the cost magnitudes less. Six K2 climbers gather on a winter afternoon in a Warsaw gym under the eyes of a trainer, Karol Hennig, who works with state health institutes. He is pleased his children have not inherited his passions. He would go on to become one of the leading Polish mountaineers, known worldwide as a winter climbing specialist. The K2 MBT offer assumes that it would be tailored to the Polish conditions. The Southwest Pillar (Magic Line) Route on K2 (C) The Southwest Pillar Route is a technically challenging route considered to be the second most demanding. Wielicki, the leader of the upcoming expedition, was renowned for his solo ascents of Himalayan peaks. Some climbers were artists who specialized in free climbs, with as little gear as possible. Everyone wants to write their own story.”. “We climb here, and here, and here,” he recalls. The mountains offered freedom from all that. To that, he adds another: An older climber should not draw too much comfort from mastery of technique. The Koreans have the rights to develop and export the K2 MBT. They fill backpacks with iron bars and work stair-climbers. Jerzy Kukuczka (z lewej) linia żółta na K2 - droga" "Polish Line," i Tadeusz Piotrowski Foto: materiałyprasowe/grafika/Zdjęcie K2: Aleksander Lwow, topo: Janusz Kurczab/ They will update expedition pages on Facebook and send emails to wives and girlfriends and children. A storm coiled like a snake around a mountain. When climbers reach the summit, their breathing will be a shallow, fast pant. Ice forms thick on nostrils and goggles. “I felt him,” he said. Krzysztof Wielicki, 67, one of the most accomplished Himalayan climbers today, will lead the K2 ascent. “All we need is three days of good weather and we will get to the top of K2,” he says. “I’m not sure I need K2 in winter.”. Hands, feet and arms go numb. The climbers range from their 30s to 63, and most are of modest build. A climber clings to a crumbling wall. There are the technical and strategic challenges, and the task of picking a team in the individualistic world of high-altitude climbing. Wielicki defended the young climber after the deaths on Broad Peak. He climbed Alpine and Himalayan peaks. We have not talked much about them, so a little background: Oscar Cadiach, Everest climber, has been to Everest 5 times, one of them with TVE's "Al filo de lo imposible". Standing on the China-Pakistan border, K2 is the second highest mountain in the world behind Mount Everest. Sometimes climbers go a day or two without food; sometimes they fail to notice. “I was just a poor bored lecturer in Poland. Four 8000m peaks sit within a radius of 13 miles from Concordia, making this the largest concentration of the highest peaks anywhere on earth. She never even gave it any consideration. Fourteen of earth’s mountains exceed 8,000 meters (26,246 feet), and climbers have reached the peak of 13 in winter. The peak has now been climbed by almost all of its ridges. No big deal. The second batch (also around 100 examples) came off the production line between 2018 and 2019 – the final examples are being manufactured at the moment. But the great emotion of making history, of making an accomplishment no one else did, that is immense, almost spiritual.”. Bye-bye.”. To scale K2 in winter is not such modest madness. He began to run and lost his pot belly. Its bureaucrats held all passports. Their fingers and toes are as adhering as those of a gecko. “If you want to feel great emotion, you must write a story.”. Following this official announcement was a totally unofficial –- yet highly entertaining –- flurry of online rumors, comments, assessments and bets. It was first attemptedby Duke of Abruzzi in1909.The famous features on this route include “House’s Chimney”, “Black Pyramid”, easily visible “Shoulder” and a … August 17, 2004 Dougald MacDonald. We run into Kacper Tekieli, the other Tatra climber, making cappuccinos in a coffee bar off Krakow’s grand square. Its greatest climber, Jerzy Kukuczka, fell to his death, and an avalanche on Everest swept away five other well-known Polish climbers. He opened a chain of climbing and outdoor stores. If it is windswept and cold, the ice in this couloir can create extremely challenging, sustained climbing. When Polish climbers obtained permission to climb the peaks of Western Europe, they discovered another problem: The West was terrifically expensive. Now the most difficult-to-exit combination of roads for annex. The Communist government collapsed. “They think we are crazy.” he says. Bielecki favors a bottom-of-the-world strategy to prepare: Send summit climbers to Chile, where it is summer, and climb a 22,000-foot Andean peak. As they draw within 3,000 feet of the peak, they will go forward without oxygen. They recall Silesian dumplings and vodka in base camp and frozen bivouacs at 22,000 feet and fogged brains and hallucinations (they do not use oxygen when climbing). Perhaps they should retreat. Polish Himalayan exploration all but ended in 1989. Always there were other worldly vistas. Why climb it? If Gorzkowska, a medal-winning runner who also became the youngest Polish woman ever to climb Mount Everest, makes it to the summit, she will have made history and silenced those who see her attempt as a social media stunt with no chance of success. Kacper Tekieli rigs the rappel in the Tatras. She became the first woman to summit K2 and the first Polish person, male or female, to climb Mount Everest. Four climbers will make the final push to the summit without oxygen. Then they hopped into old vans, Jack Keroaucs all, and set off for the Hindu Kush. It requires a willingness to subsume ego in the collective. It’s the allure of that diamond-hard and deadly pyramid in the deepest reaches of the Karakoram range. He has been referred to as "perhaps the finest winter mountaineer of his day".[1]. He knows better than most that glory is not the inevitable reward of the Himalayas. Bielecki attempted that strategy during a winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, a 26,660-foot mountain in Pakistan that goes by the self-explanatory nickname Killer Mountain. He was accompanied by Andrzej Bieluń, who climbed at the head, and was lost, assumed dead near the top of the mountain. “Everyone makes mistakes.”. He uses the material to find unclimbed peaks in remote mountain ranges. It was one-tenth of my salary,” he recalls. But these are my friends and we are on a mission.”. “Mountains are very important to me, it’s the original world, a place of passion. Polish climbers on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan on a 2006/2007 winter expedition. “They are right, of course.”, Golab is in: “Sometimes I wonder why I am doing this. His body remains in a Himalayan crevasse. 이름의 기원은 이탈리아 중부 아부르초(Abruzzi) 지방의 공작이었던 루이기 아메데오가 1909년 이 루트를 통해 처음으로 등정을 시도했기 때문에 여기서 따온 것이다. Consider bringing a thin line (4-5mm) for the Bottleneck, a 100-meter narrow couloir at 8300 meters that is 80-90 degrees. Two more teams have completed ascents of K2, including the second ascent of the “Magic Line,” K2’s steep and technical South-Southwest Pillar. Only the most experienced climbers attempt ascents, and for every four who crawl to its peak, one dies. Another feels creatures pulling at his feet. Boom. Marek Chmielarski, 40, is one of the Tatra climbers and will join the K2 team. The universe narrows to a meter or two. a ^ In 1993 a Canadian team (Barry Blanchard, Troy Kirwan and Peter Arbic) made a partial repeat, but exited onto the Abruzzi Spur at a lower point than the Poles had done, and did not reach the summit. Periodically these ice flows disgorge the bones of dead climbers. And he has been to the top of K2 and is the best climber in Poland.”. How to prepare excites debate. No one has ever reached K2’s summit in winter. K2 doesn't really have a NW ridge after all (at least not in the upper part). The Poles decided to find fame Tatra-style and climb those peaks in winter or by risky new routes. That mountain, mythical and moody and deadly, once consumed him. There are ten routes to K2 Summit; Four on Chinese and six on Pakistani side . Wielicki speaks of daily life as drained of excitement. Reinhold Messner called K-2 the \"Mountain of Mountains\" after his ascent of K-2 in 1979. Danger weighs on him as it did not decades ago. Here and there, they will climb that fantastically steep mountain and lay rope lines on its sides. “He is a very good climber, but he has climbed for himself,” the older climber says. It gained the attention of climbers only in an early 20th century. Men and women scaled its granite walls in summer heat and in the belly of winter. He has climbed in Antarctica, Greenland and the Himalayas. Scaling the World’s Most Lethal Mountain, in the Dead of Winter, In 1986, two Polish expeditions climbed via two new routes, the Magic Line and the Polish Line. He is expected to be part of the K2 ascent. It so happens he enjoys its deadly challenges. Diagram. “Everyone wants to be the best, and that is how we die.”. Tadeusz Piotrowski (September 19, 1939 – July 10, 1986) was a Polish mountaineer and author of several books related to the subject. Finish your story’.”. Lot of first ascent, or first route in winter season has been opened by them. It’s obvious it’s the best.”. There is a whack of the ice pick and another one, and one after that. “We were generational orphans and he introduced us to Himalayan climbing. The mountain consisted of a maze of broken rocks at a moderate angle, with lines slanting leftwards. Tekieli is undecided on whether to join the K2 team.Credit...Max Whittaker for The New York Times. In February, its walls are colder and more wind-blasted than those of Everest. It was like going to heaven.”. One night in January, I sit in the village home of Janusz Majer, 70, a burly climber who is working to obtain the $335,000 in government and private financing needed to underwrite the assault on K2. Piotrowski began his career in the 1960s in Poland's Tatra Mountains, around the time when he was a student at the Szczecin University of Technology. Bielecki’s voice is plaintive. Intense, a man of many faces, he had been a partner of the famed Kukuczka. They had finished a climb in the Dolomites in the 1970s when they saw a sign for cappuccinos. He has a tangle of dark curls and a mischievous smile, and is a philosophy major with a love of mountain literature. The Southwest Pillar (Magic Line) Route on K2 (C) The Southwest Pillar Route is a technically challenging route considered to be the second most demanding. A decade ago, what remains of the old guard challenged a younger generation to test limits of flesh, endurance and creativity in the Himalayas. It’s you. “I was very, very close to him when he fell.” Tekieli’s dark eyes flicker and he fingers his wedding band, which hangs on a leather cord around his neck. “My God! C'est le deuxième plus haut sommet du monde (après l'Everest) avec une altitude officielle de 8 611 m. It was first climbed in 1986 by a Polish-Slovak expedition. He chuckles at the mention of their oxygen-retention scores: “Janusz scores pretty much at the bottom. The question of K2, to risk all for history, falls unevenly across their shoulders. Two grew exhausted near the top, and Bielecki noted that nightfall and still more crushing cold approached. Abruzi Spur / South East Ridge – This is the standard route to reach K2 summit used by almost 75% of all climbers. These men will hike through knee-deep snow to a base camp at 18,645 feet, surpassing all but one mountain in the United States. He will be on the K2 climb and seems drawn by the peril. A premium is placed on daring routes or the speed of the climb. Piotrowski died on 10 July 1986. Translated from, "AdventureStats Special: The unclimbed faces of K2" K2 Climb Net, ExplorersWeb Inc., undated, "K2's South Face - AAC Publications - Search The American Alpine Journal and Accidents". Stay put until bodies accommodate to the thin air. The audacity of their ascents was legendary. This was a too-harsh indictment. I don’t like to connect nationalism and climbing. And last night, in the most impressive ascent of a remarkable season, Spanish … Marek Chmielarski, here climbing in the Tatras, is part of the team that will attempt K2 this winter. He and Wielicki issued a manifesto: “Young, angry, ambitious” Polish climbers should embrace “positive suffering” and return to winter Himalayan climbing. Wielicki recalls a past-exhaustion night on a solo Himalayan climb. “Up there at night, to hear glaciers calve: Boom. “Winter is the best season.” He shrugs. K2 from the South is about empty, but the Catalans remain attempting the Magic Line. It’s obvious it’s the best.”. "[4][5] It was during the descent by a classic route (the Abruzzi Spur) that he lost both his crampons and fell to his death at around 7900 meters, following two exhausting stopovers at the wall with no food or water. Each has lost partners on climbs. Why not? "K2/Chogori Winter 2003",, Articles with Polish-language sources (pl), Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 18 January 2021, at 09:39. His eyes glisten when asked about his youthful hunger. At 32, he has built a considerable mountaineering reputation, although he cannot afford to give up working as a barista in the old quarter of Krakow. But his hunger for fame is a bonfire, and that worries the older man. In 2004 the Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontán became the oldest person ever to summit K2, at the age of 65. In the winter of 2013, Bielecki and three others set out to ascend the 26,414-foot Broad Peak. Pyramid-shaped, an austere link to eternity, K2 yields only to Everest in height and is deadlier. “We are beyond the edge of what people call fatigue.”. They will vomit and suffer dehydration and begin to hallucinate. Their story, embedded in the urge of free spirits to slip the unsmiling bonds of a Cold-War communist government, offers our starting point. Lukasz Debowska practices climbing at the Katowice climbing club, the most famous in Poland. The only other known successful attempt to climb this route was accomplished by Jordi Corominas of Spain in 2004. K2’s Magic Line Janusz Majer, Klub Wysokogórski, Katowice, Poland We dedicate our route to the memory of Americans Alan Pennington and John Smolich, Italian Renato Casarotto and Pole Wojciech Wróz, who died while struggling on this “Magic Line.” K2’s fastness is so complete, it acquired no dependable name from the Balti tribes, who for millenniums did not know of its existence. K2 has placed far away from travel routes and inhabited areas. All of which brings us to climbing strategy. Their obsession was very Polish: to conquer K2. His wife is adept on cliffs, and he twitches as she moves up a rock face. [6] The route Piotrowski and Kukuczka climbed remains unrepeated.[a]. For the summit, he must choose the elect of the elite. 8.25 Andy Bargiel on top of K2! Ryszard Pawlowski, a well-known Polish climber, used to earn money to go on expeditions by painting smokestacks in the 1980s. I decline, pleading a sore Achilles and a severe attack of common sense. They will pray for a three-day break in the weather. That can prove a frail shield in the high Himalayas. It is to be based on South Korea’s main battle tank K2 Black Panther, one of the most advanced tanks in the world, in … Part of the Karakoram range, K2 is the second highest mountain on earth and is a more dangerous climb than Everest. As that wounded nation rebuilt, an age of entrepreneurs dawned. Poland’s climbing clubs swelled with members. A British geographer making a trigonometric survey gave the mountain its name, a clipped abstraction capturing its indifference to life and time. Two days previously he and Jerzy Kukuczka had finished the first ascent of the South Face of K2 (also called the "Polish Line") - a very difficult and dangerous route which was threatened by seracs and had been called "suicidal" by Reinhold Messner. We wander the medieval streets and bars of Krakow with the Himalayan climbers. The Poles mastered the dominant expedition style a half-century ago. No fancy equipment, no endorsements, no publicity; just freedom from the strictures of life in Poland. I talk about this with Adam Bielecki, a tall drink of water with dreadlocks and a boyish ebullience. Tekieli talks of the singular focus needed to summit a Himalayan peak in the maw of winter. He was 51. I put the question to Bielecki. “People die in the mountains, even the best ones.”. “Logic competes with emotion. “And, of course, he was not there.”. A scaffold, they said, costs more than your price. On K2, Txikon is leading a team comprised mostly of Nepali Sherpa climbers, including: Chhepal Sherpa, Geljen Sherpa, Hallung Sherpa, and Pasang Sherpa. Hyundai Rotem has submitted a proposal to locally produce their K2 Black Panther in Poland. In 2004 the Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontán became the oldest person ever to summit K2, at the age of 65. The Koreans stress that their experience in the field of technology transfer programmes is broad and significant. Tekieli is undecided on whether to join the K2 team. fingers crossed!!! Manufacturing autonomy and joint development of new variants destined for the third markets is also expected. (As expedition leaders must, he will remain at base camp during the ascent of K2.). Rogozinska, Monika (translated by "Scrivanek"). “There’s something mystical. Janusz Golab is a force unto himself, climbing with precision and economy of motion, a strong-limbed cat. Marek Chmielarski, that painter of oil platforms, will go, although his wife, a teacher, worries. There is, too, the power that history exerts on the Poles. This truth is unwelcome by climbers, who call it the “Savage Mountain”, forgettin… He was one of the earliest mountaineers to specialize in winter climbing. They offered traditional training: winter in the Tatras, then the Alps, then the Himalayas. Many dozens of climbers each night talked mountains, life, and more mountains, and sang songs and drank vodka. Whether factory worker, engineer or mathematician, everyone scuffled for money. To sit now with the Polish mountaineers, old and young, is to hear voices rise and laughter roll in like ocean breakers. That climber and a partner scaled K2 in summer along a route so dangerous, even suicidal — it passed beneath unstable ridges of ice — no one else has attempted it. K2 Mountain offers a beautiful serene sight to look at. If a team numbers 10 climbers, six will take the role of worker bees, laying pitons and ropes and tents at camps higher on the mountain. “After that, we lived like Jesus, on bread and wine.”. K2 sits 70 miles from the nearest village, at the end of a path that threads across the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers. “You’re making just $50 a month. K2 s Magic Line Completed. We talk as he stands in the darkened attic of a lodge in the Morskie Oko valley in Poland, looping purple rope in preparation for a training climb in the subzero of the Tatra Mountains. The blue-eyed Krzysztof Wielicki, who at 67 is among the most accomplished Himalayan climbers alive, will lead the K2 expedition. There is Golab, the climber who was with us in the Tatras. The factory managers winced. The younger generation of climbers view Bielecki’s strategy as a good gamble. He must choose among their climbing children, and his eye is unsparing. I put the question of death’s allure to him and he shakes his head. “It was Artur’s last lecture,” a climber said at his funeral in a grand cathedral in Katowice. This winter, a group will attempt K2, the world’s most dangerous mountain. Artur Hajzer was among the prematurely retired. The life of a vagabond climber seemed frivolous. He would go on to become one of the leading Polish mountaineers, known worldwide as a winter climbing specialist. The summit team will pull up those ropes and sleep in those tents. “Winter is the best season,” he says. Janusz Majer in his library. Days later, Wielicki, the old legend, and I watch snow fall on a frozen lake. He gives to ambition a nod of self-recognition. Read the full story here. Bielecki, the man-child with the otherworldly endurance near the summit, is another natural choice. He invites me to join. In a display of stunning courage, skill and persistence, the Polish ski mountaineer put down the first-ever ski descent of the Karakorum giant known as K2. Wielicki is the remaining master. These men will live and work in the worst possible conditions for months. Those who stand within the shadow of that monolith in winter describe a sensation akin to having landed on an extraterrestrial world. Winds at the summit reach hurricane strength, and temperatures can fall as low as minus 80 Fahrenheit. “He is pursuing me, I. Gorzkowska is one of several mountaineers attempting this winter to scale K2, which at 8,611 meters (28,251 feet) is second only to … Ten Polish climbers hope to make history by reaching the summit next winter. De Agostini Picture Library, via Getty Images. The Katowice club overlooked Frédéric Chopin Street; its coat of arms is an eagle and an ice pick. Polish climber/Skier Andrzej Bargiel caught the world’s attention when he ascended K2 via the Česen Route then skied from the summit taking a maze of routes: Abruzzi Rib, the Česen, the Messner variant and the Kukuczka-Piotrowski to base camp – it was the first direct ski from summit to base of K2 … We work Alpine-style, the climbers replied. The relief in comparison to height is unique.

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