Winter Everest and K2 – Progress on K2.

Shattered tents at Camp 2 on K2

With good weather, the Polish K2 team established their highest point yet this season while the Everest team is forced to sit at base camp waiting for lower winds.

See this post for full background on the K2 and Everest expeditions and the history of winter attempts on the highest two mountains on Earth. Both expeditions need to summit no later than the spring equinox on March 20, 2018, at 0:15 PKT for K2 and 18:00 NPT for Everest to meet a winter summit definition.

Winter K2 – Pushing Hard

The Polish team are enjoying low winds for a change but expect high winds to return on 25 February according to this interview with expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki. He noted that the temperatures are higher, approx. -13 ° C in the shade, before it was below -20 ° C. They must be feeling great with all the team climbing, the route getting set, camps established. Their patience is paying off.

Today, Sunday 18 February 2018, Adam Bielecki and Denis Urubko were reported to have climbed House’s Chimney to Camp 2 near 22,110’/6700m. They used the ropes that were placed last summer. They will spend the night just below the Chimney as it is at the base of a large wall (hence the Chimney) and blocks the strong winds that usually shatter Camp 2 (see image at top of post from 2014). Tomorrow, they will climb the Black Pyramid in hopes of establishing  Camp 3 at 23,760’/7200m on this rotation. The other climbers, Marek Chmielarski, and Janusz Golab are either at Camp 1 or 2 with the intention of climbing higher and Artur Malek and Maciej Bedrejczuk returning to base camp.

K2 routes

K2 Routes: Abruzzi and Česen

Meanwhile in an excellent demonstration of respecting the mountain, Wielicki sent the Pakistani High Altitude Porters back up the Česen ridge to remove ropes and tents. Well done!

You can follow them directly on their website, Facebook, and SPOT tracker

.. more on : – http://www.alanarnette.com/blog

Autor : Alan Arnette

* source: –   Progress on K2

** see also: – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition.

Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong.

Tomek Mackiewicz Perhises on Nanga Parbat Following Heroic Rescue Attempt.

Krzysztof Wielicki : Wyścig ze śmiercią – akcja ratunkowa na K2, Netia K2 Polish Winter Expedition (2003/2004).

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Winter Everest and K2 – Can They Summit?

K2 Winter base camp 2018

With about one month to go before the end of winter, it may be time to wonder if either team will make their winter summit. There was talk of a 20 February summit push but the winds seem still too high, however the forecast is improving.

See this post for full background on the K2 and Everest expeditions and the history of winter attempts on the highest two mountains on Earth. Both expeditions need to summit no later than the spring equinox on March 20, 2018, at 0:15 PKT for K2 and 18:00 NPT for Everest to meet a winter summit definition.

The Big Picture

Climbing these peaks in the winter is all about weather, specifically cold and wind, wind, wind. Both the K2 and Everest teams are coping with the cold but when the wind gusts over 40mph/65kph it gets virtually impossible. All the climbers have the skills, are strong and experienced so their capabilities are not in question. But even the strongest person cannot withstand 100mph wind gusts.

On Everest the Jet-stream sits on the summit for most of the year only relenting in late May and again in early October. Most summit pushes require a minimum of four days from base camp. On Everest, an extremely aggressive schedule would breakout like this:

  1. EBC – C2 at 21,000’/6400m
  2. C2 – C3 at 23,500’/7162m  or South Col at 26,300’/8016m
  3. Summit Bid at 29,035′ / 8850m
  4. Back to C2
  5. Back to EBC

They could climb in high winds through the Icefall but probably not above C3 around 23,500’/7162m. They did have fixed ropes almost to the South Col, but that was a couple of weeks ago and they could be buried under new snow or frozen in since then.

On K2, it is a similar schedule. They have reached C2 at 22,110’/6700m but have no ropes through the Black Pyramid or above. With the icy conditions, I would assume they want to put the ropes in before or during a summit push. They have found old ropes but it is exhausting and time consuming to chop them out of the ice. Their schedule might be:

  1. K2BC – C2 at 22,110’/6700m
  2. C2 – C4 at 25,080’/7600m
  3. Summit Bid at 28,251’/8611m
  4. Back to C2
  5. Back to K2BC

Winter K2 – Pushing Hard

The Polish team continues to push, even in high winds knowing the clock is ticking. Marek Chmielarski and Artur Małek reached Camp 1 and Saturday, 17 February 2018,  Janusz Gołąb, Maciej Bedrejczuk, Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki (who was injured by rockfall, is returning to the climb) will leave K2BC. This is the most climbers they have had on K2 this season suggesting they are pushing hard to acclimatize in anticipation of a summit window. There does appear to be reasonable winds up to the 8,000-meter level for the next week.

Denis Urubko chopping out old rope on K2 courtesy of russianClimb.com

Denis Urubko chopping out old rope on K2 courtesy of russianClimb.com

Rafał Fronia, who had his arm broken by rockfall, is back home in Poland and did a radio interview. The money quote was :

If people are acclimatized and will weather window, the chance is one hundred percent. In contrast, if you run any factor, because we do not know what will happen, well, the chances are zero. This is a good team of good people who can climb and they will come up on this, but under some circumstances.

Thanks to Altitude Pakistan, this is a brief summary of the previous attempts:

During the first winter attempt in 1987/88,  the team noted that they only had 10 days of good weather during their three months expedition. Krzysztof Wielicki, the leader today, was a climber on that expedition. They didn’t reach C3 on the Abruzzi until March 6th and then harsh winds stopped them almost killing two of the climbers with severe frostbite.

The next attempt in 2002/3 was lead by Wielicki and attempted the North Pillar. It was a team of climbers from Poland, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Georgia – they didn’t get along. Denis Urubko was also on this effort and stayed with the team after others left. Marcin Kaczkan and Urubko were the only climbers to attempt the summit on 25 February but Kaczkan developed HACE and they abandoned the attempt and the expedition.

In 2010/11 a Russian team reached 7,000-meters at the end of January by the Abruzzi but again high winds forced a retreat, then one member died at base camp and the effort was called-off.

So, as you can see these winter attempts are a huge gamble, complete with deaths. They rush to establish the route during brief periods of suitable weather but spend most of their time waiting at base camp. When they do go for the summit, it has been the winds and illness that have stopped them. Of course both Urubko and Wielicki know this well as they were there.

You can follow them directly on their website, Facebook, and SPOT tracker.

.. more on : – http://www.alanarnette.com/blog

Autor : Alan Arnette

* source: –  Winter Everest and K2 – Can They Summit?

** see also: – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition.

Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong.

Tomek Mackiewicz Perhises on Nanga Parbat Following Heroic Rescue Attempt.

Krzysztof Wielicki : Wyścig ze śmiercią – akcja ratunkowa na K2, Netia K2 Polish Winter Expedition (2003/2004).

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38th anniversary of the first Everest winter ascent.

February 17, 1980 – First winter ascent by Andrzej Zawada’s team from Poland: Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki.

This was also the first winter summit of any of the world’s fourteen 8000 metre peaks.

Completed in 1980 by a team of phenomenally rugged Polish climbers, this ascent was led by … Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki reached the summit on February 17.

wielicki-cichy
Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy celebrate winning Mount Everest in Winter.

One might say that winter expeditions into the Himalayas were invented by Polish people, mainly by Andrzej Zawada, becouse he is considered as the originator of the idea.

It’s important to remind that first 7 of all eight-thousanders mountains were reached by Poles who became famous and British mountaineers called them “ICE WARRIORS”.

These first 7 peaks were reached by Polish climbers between the years of 1980 – 1988. That is why those times are also called “The Golden Decade” of Polish Himalaism.

You can see..

Krzysztof Wielicki – detailed diary of First winter ascent of Mount Everest, Please click the links below :

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 1

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 2

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 3

Polish winter expedition 1980: Everest – part 4

* more on –   37th anniversary of the first Everest winter ascent.

** I invite you to relationships with expeditions Polish mountaineers.

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38 rocznica zimowego wejścia na Mt. Everest: droga do sukcesu.

February 17, 1980 – First winter ascent by Andrzej Zawada’s team from Poland: Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki.

This was also the first winter summit of any of the world’s fourteen 8000 metre peaks.

wielicki-cichy
Completed in 1980 by a team of phenomenally rugged Polish climbers, this ascent was led by … Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki reached the summit on February 17.

Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy celebrate winning Mount Everest in Winter.

You can see ..  – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition 2017/18.
–  Krzysztof Wielicki: Historia zdobycia K-2.

38 rocznica zimowego wejścia na Mt. Everest: droga do sukcesu.

38 lat temu 17 lutego 1980 r na szczycie Mount Everest stanęli pierwsi ludzie w zimieKrzysztof Wielicki i Leszek Cichy. Obydwaj Polacy staneli na wierzchołku najwyższej góry świata o godzinie 14.30

Należy przypomnieć iż na drodze do tego sukcesu były takie wydarzenia jak wyprawa zimowa z 1973r, która dokonała pierwszego wejścia zimowego na Noszak (7492 m) – najwyższy szczyt Hindukuszu Afgańskiego. Szczyt zdobyli wtedy : Tadeusz Piotrowski i Andrzej Zawada.

Zawada był pomysłodawcą i głównym orędownikiem wypraw zimowych i to za jego sprawą udało się zorganizować m.in wyprawę na Everest. Nie zraziły go pierwsze niepowodzenia w zdobyciu ośmiotysięcznika zimą co miało miejsce podczas nieudanej wyprawy na Lhotse (8501 m) w 1974r. Osiągnął wtedy wraz z Zygmuntem A. Hainrichem wysokość 8250m, a to skłoniło go do pozytywnego myślenia, że zdobycie ośmiotysięcznika w zimie jest możliwe. Wyprawa mimo , że nieudana miała też inne walory, zdobyto nowe doświadczenia i rozpoznawano teren, co miło zaowocować w przyszłości.

Zawada przez dłuższy czas nie mógł przekonać do swego pomysłu władz Nepalu, które uznawały jedynie dwa sezony: wiosenny i jesienny. Dlatego gdy władze wydały pozwolenie na organizowanie polskiej wyprawy narodowej, która miała zdobywać Everest drogą przez południowy filar na wiosnę 1980r to nie spowodowało to zaniechania przez Zawadę starań o wyprawę zimową. Długotrwałe starania (ich początki to 1977r) oraz wsparcie ze strony polskiej dyplomacji w Kathmanu nie od razu dały pozytywny skutek, Nepalczycy długo zwlekali, aż wreszcie w listopadzie 1979r wydali zgodę i polska wyprawa narodowa dostała jako pierwsza zezwolenie na zdobywanie Everestu w sezonie zimowym.

Mount Everest od południowego zachodu (fot. Krzysztof Wielicki)

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Winter Climbs 2018: Is it Almost Go Time on Everest?

Since our last update on the winter climbs there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress, but the future schedule is starting to become a bit clearer. Meanwhile, over on K2, things remain contentious, with one member of the team clearly unhappy with the current situation.

We’ll start in Nepal, where Alex Txikon and his team have been relaxing and waiting in Base Camp. Everyone seems to be in good spirits while they watch the weather forecasts for an opportunity to make a summit push. Currently there is a projected weather window that could come next week on February 20, which means that everyone could be on the move as early as tomorrow to get themselves into position for a dash to the summit. The weather models predict that the wind speeds will die down at last, granting access to the top.

Of course, Alex, Ali Sadpara, and the rest of the squad will carefully pour over the data to ensure that it is safe to make the ascent, otherwise they’ll just end up wasting energy. But, if there is a chance that they could complete the climb, it seems like they are poised to do so. Remember, the Basque climber will be going up without the use of supplemental oxygen, so this winter climb is far from a sure thing.

Over on K2, the Polish Ice Warriors continue their work on the Abruzzi Route. According to reports, Denis Urubko has now been as high as 6500 meters (21,325 ft) before being forced back down due to poor weather. The team has shuttled gear up to their new campsites but are now forced to stay in Base Camp while they wait for their next opportunity, which coincidentally could come on February 20 as well.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Poles at the moment is team unity. Urubko continues to criticize his teammates, the group’s leadership, and even their selection of a climbing route. As usual, he seems like the strongest climber in the group, and has been shouldering much of the work up high, but he also hasn’t held back in his critique of how things are going either, taking shots at the other climbers for things like not properly hydrating or assisting with the fixing of ropes. This discord can’t be good for morale and could eventually lead to issues between the men. On the other hand, Urubko might be the team’s best chance for getting to the summit, so it is a fine line to walk for sure.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on things to see how they develop. Right now, the weather is keeping everyone in place, but it seems we’re on the verge of summit bids on Everest, and possibly K2 as well. There are still four more weeks of winter to go however, so there is time for both teams to be patient and wait for the right opportunity.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –  Winter Climbs 2018: Is it Almost Go Time on Everest?

** see also: – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition 2017/18.

Polish famous climbers – The golden decade of Polish Himalayan mountaineering.

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Pakistani Officials Weigh in on Nanga Parbat Rescue Controversy.

The rescue operation that took place on Nanga Parbat a few weeks back continues to be a source of frustration and controversy. While climbers from K2 were able to rescue Elisabeth Revol, they weren’t able to climb higher to save Tomek Mackiewicz, which has created a contentious environment to say the least. Revol has expressed her anger over how slowly the operation came together, saying more than once that Tomek could have been saved had search and rescue teams responded more expediently. She has even said the company operating the helicopter raised the price of the flight in an effort to make more money off of the situation. While that remains under investigation, Pakistani officials have responded to criticism not just from Revol but the media as well, providing some insights into their side of the story.

In a post made to the Pakistan Mountain News page on Facebook officials made four points that they thought were important enough to share. Those points were as follows:

1. First, Pakistan is a developing economy and ‘Tourism’ sector receives much less attention. Despite, it has world’s best wonders. Neither there are institutions for high-demanding-skills rescue operation on mountain nor has it modern resource and equipment.
2. Second, these mountaineers go on Nanga Parbat at very economical package. Such economical packages do not cover many essentials. It is only their bravery and audacity that make them to summit in the winter.
3. Third, Askari Aviation does not have high-tech helicopters that can hover around in inclement weather condition. As it was coordinated rescue operation, nobody could help Tomek and Elisabeth in private capacity.
4. Lastly, Poland or French official authorities did not contact State of Pakistan officially after this rescue. However, Eisabeth was given utmost care and attention. The Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan enquired after her in hospital. She did not utter a word.

While some will probably look at this list and see a set of excuses, these are all very important things to keep in mind. Pakistan is indeed a developing country that doesn’t have the resources of some other nations when it comes fountaining these kinds of operations. It is also true that Tomek and Elisabeth’s expedition was a low-budget affair, leaving little room for error and not much in the way of a safety net if things went wrong. Unfortunately, things went very wrong, and they also didn’t have the resources for a rescue.

Askari Aviation is the company that has received a lot of venom for not reacting quicker and potentially trying to bilk more money out of the operation. But it is also probably true that they don’t have very sophisticated helicopter designed for use in the high mountains.

In other words, there are always multiple sides to a story and it is clear that we understand all of the variables at play. Clearly this is a complicated situation with a lot to think about. Sadly, Tomek lost his life, and because of that this will likely be a divisive topic for a long time to come.
Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Pakistani Officials Weigh in on Nanga Parbat Rescue Controversy

** see also: – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition 2017/18.

Polish famous climbers – The golden decade of Polish Himalayan mountaineering.

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Nanga Parbat: Appreciation, Finger Pointing and Lost Hope.

The echo of Tomek Mackiewicz’s death and Elisabeth Revol’s rescue continues to haunt Nanga Parbat, and in some ways the Pakistani mountaineering community.


Denis Urubko -Elisabeth Revol -Adam Bielecki

Mackiewicz’s wife, Anna Antoinette Solska, posted on his Facebook page a classy and emotional thank you to all involved in the search for her husband. It began:

I would like to express my profound gratitude to Elisabeth Revol for staying with Tom as long as possible, for bringing him as low as possible, for taking immediately a fight to save him, for words of comfort for me, which in such a dramatic situation both for Tom and her alone was able to direct me to tell me that he was doing everything he could to help him. She did everything in her power to that moment where she had to continue to fight to save her life too. We are unable to imagine the dramatic situation in which she found herself or the moral tragic choice she had to make. We have no right to judge. I’m with her all my heart to get better. Thank you for her love giving tomek to children, for her willingness to support children and Tom’s family. Eli, thank you.

Please read her entire post.

After Elisabeth Revol’s angry press conference where she lashed out at the Pakistanis, Polish and French embassies claiming their delays cost  Tomek Mackiewicz his life, she is now blaming the press for getting her story wrong. However, the French media BFMTV quoted the French climber, Revol, “I have a lot of anger in me, she continues. We could have saved Tomek had there been real relief made on time and organized.”

Her Facebook post starts:

Started by Messner, this path was to be the culmination of our physical and mental preparations, with tomek, we knew that the summit would not be easy.

Fifteen days we separate from this epic story widely reported by the press… reported, but also distorted, words extirpées, out of context.. I don’t want to report the facts, but rather tell you what, today , count to my eyes…

Please read her entire post.

Finally Pakistan Mountaineering News defended Pakistan on their Facebook with a series of four points (highlights only, please read entire post):

  1. First, Pakistan is a developing economy and ‘Tourism’ sector receives much less attention. Despite, it has world’s best wonders. Neither there are institutions for high-demanding-skills rescue operation on mountain nor has it modern resource and equipment.
  2. Second, these mountaineers go on Nanga Parbat at very economical package. Such economical packages do not cover many essentials. It is only their bravery and audacity that make them to summit in the winter.
  3. Third, Askari Avidiation does not have high-tech helicopters that can hover around in inclement weather condition. As it was coordinated rescue operation, nobody could help Tomek and Elisabeth in private capacity.
  4. Lastly, Poland or French official authorities did not contact State of Pakistan officially after this rescue. However, Eisabeth was given utmost care and attention. The Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan enquired after her in hospital. She did not utter a word.

Mackiewicz’s father was desperate to put together a team to retrieve his body. He found the money and the climbers, but the Pakistani Government said no – too much risk. I suspect they are weary of the criticism.

With Nanga over, time to focus on K2 and Everest. My best to all the climbers on all these teams.

.. more on : – http://www.alanarnette.com/blog

Autor : Alan Arnette

* source: – K2 Progress, Everest Dancing, Tomek’s Wife Thanks Everyone

** see also: – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition.

Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong.

Tomek Mackiewicz Perhises on Nanga Parbat Following Heroic Rescue Attempt.

Krzysztof Wielicki : Wyścig ze śmiercią – akcja ratunkowa na K2, Netia K2 Polish Winter Expedition (2003/2004).

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