As mentioned yesterday, Pakistan is about to enjoy the most exciting winter climbing season ever. Besides Gerfried, Louis and Alex on G1, the most seasoned Himalayan winter climbers of the current international panorama are joining the games for a first season’s ascent on a Karakoram 8000er:
Simone Moro and Denis Urubko are attempting G2, while Artur Hajzer will lead a team of fellow Polish climbers on Broad Peak.
Italian Simone bagged the first winter ascent on Shisha Pangma together with the late Piotr Morawski (from Poland) back in 2005. In February 2009 he repeated the feat on Makalu, together with his current mate Denis Urubko. Kazakh Denis completed the 14x8000er climb (no O2) in 2009, including some new routes and light ascents in the achievement.
Makalu winter champions for a G2 encore
“It’ll be a very light expedition. Hopefully efficient and
fast like the way we did it in our winter Makalu expedition,” Simone explained. “Anyway, we also will need luck with the weather.”
“I’ve been in touch with Gerfried (G1 winter team leader) for a while, hoping we could perhaps share BC logistics,” Moro added. “However, it seems that they are starting a bit later than us, so the choice is out.”
Simone Moro, with Pakistani climbers Shaheen Baig and Quadrat Ali, who attempted BP in winter of 2007 and 2008, and both times was thrown back by bad conditions. In 2009, while Simone and Denis turned to Makalu, their winter watch was taken by veteran Artur Hajzer (first Annapurna winter summit, achieved with Kukuzcka), fellow Robert Szymczak and Canadian Don Bowie.
Conditions gave them no break either. “You just have to have much bigger balls in winter,” Artur stated back then. Still in shape, he is now back for another shot.
Polish BP winter expedition
“We’ll be a group of eight Polish climbers plus two HAPs,” Artur told ExplorersWeb. “After climbing Nanga Parbat in summer, we’ve got to know each other better and thus built a team.”
“We actually have a permit for K2 as well, but the real goal is Broad Peak.”
Sponsored by Poland’s Ministry of Sport and Tourism,
Polish Alpine Association and Kukuczka Foundation, the team is focused on a five-year-long project consisting of climbing one 8000er in summer and one in winter each year. “I am hoping to train young climbers in the team as best as possible, in case they have to go on if I get too old to climb,” Artur stated. The local outfitter is Jasmine Tours .
In an eight-year marathon during the 1980s; Polish climbers had grabbed all the seven winter firsts and revolutionized Himalayan climbing. A void followed until 2005 when two men bagged number eight, Shisha Pangma, on January 14. They were Pole Piotr Morawski and Simone Moro who became the first non-Polish climber to bag a virgin winter climb in Himalaya.
Following two straight years of winter attempts on Broad Peak, Simone rerouted in winter 2008/09 for Makalu with Denis Urubko, who had attempted the peak the previous winter together with Serguey Samoilov. This time, victory arrived with the last Himalaya giant summited in winter by Italian Simone Moro thus breaking the Polish spell for the second time and old friend Kazakh Denis Urubko by his side.
Up until today, nine out of all 14 8000ers have been winter-climbed. The remaining are all in Pakistan, where all five 8000er summits are yet untouched by man in the coldest season.
North Face athlete Simone Moro, 41, has done over 40 expeditions during the last 17 years. Some of his high altitude achievements include the first winter ascent of Shisha Pangma (8,027m); a south-to-north traverse of Everest (8,848m) with summit at 3:15AM and descent to BC in only five hours; a first ascent of Pakistan’s Beka Brakai Chhok (6,940m) last summer, in pure alpine style and a 43-hour round trip; a number of new lines such as on the north face of Baruntse; a number of winter ascents and speed climbs on major mountaineering peaks.
A difficult attempt on an Everest-Lhotse traverse together with Kazakh Denis Urubko ended with the successful rescue of a young climber that gained Simone a number of awards for a true climbing spirit.
February 9, 2009, Simone made history with Denis Urubko from the summit of Makalu in winter .
Urubko’s climbs are legendary. Over only the past few years Denis and twice-divorced, ever-loyal climbing buddy Serguey planted new routes on Manaslu and an unclimbed face of Broad Peak. In 2007 the two made the latest K2 summit ever in the first K2 north side ascent in 11 years.
Denis Urubko is considered one of the top climbers today. He has summited all 14 8000ers and many other major peaks in the Himalayas and Central Asia. He has also sacrificed summits to help climbers in trouble, some of whom he had never met before.
Artur Hajzer has summited five 8000ers–three of them via new routes. He also achieved the first winter climb on Annapurna.
Dr. Robert Szymczak has been in expeditions to Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Pakistan. He is a medical doctor specializing in high altitude medicine. He is also a member of the International Society for Mountain Medicine. Robert attempted winter Nanga Parbat in 2006/07, summited Dhaulagiri last spring with Artur and volunteered as member of the international team who tried to rescue Iñaki Ochoa de Olza on Annapurna’s south face.
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Filed under: Artur Hajzer, Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Travel Tagged: | Artur Hajzer, Climbers, Expedition, Gasherbrum, Karakoram, Marcin Kaczkan, Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, polski himalaizm zimowy, PZA, Travel, winter expedition