The description hints sort of a ‘second best’ rating – but nothingcould be more off. The best are not always the first. In fact, manyconsider Kukuczka the greatest mountaineer of all. In this series, we examine why.
Today, part 1: Elegant style, pure spirit and deep respect for the rules of the game
14, 8000ers in 8 years
Jurek didn’t only climb all the 14, 8000ers; he summited them allin just eight years! It took Messner 16 years to complete the list. Infact, only Korean Young-Seok Park has climbed all 8000ers faster than Kukuczka. The Korean ace broke that particular speed record by somemonths, although we must keep in mind that he used O2 for some of hisclimbs.
New routes, winter, alpine style
Another remarkable fact is that Kukuczka climbed most of his ‘Great14’ through new routes or/and in winter season. To be accurate, at theend of his 8000ers quest he had opened nine new routes – one of themsolo – accomplished five climbs in alpine style and four in the winter.
At each and every new climb, he sought for a twist – a newchallenge to add. He wanted them all, but he also wanted a bigger questwith each. He wanted to test their boundaries rather than to provehimself – could it be done this way, or that way, faster – or inwinter, perhaps. Jerzy’s example is all the more important today, assome proclaim the 8000ers “done”.
Cho Oyu, Shisha, Everest – they all offer plenty of seriouschallenges for the truly courageous, as long as they are approached”Kukuczka-style”.
That style is the reason why Jerzy is considered a reference onelegant climbing, pure spirits and deep respect for the rules of thegame.
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