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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Winter Climbs 2018: K2 Progress, Everest Dancing.

Polish Winter K2 on Abruzzi

The Polish K2 team continues to fight the weather, but now over on the Abruzzi route. On Everest, they are dancing at base camp! Both teams are eying February 20th as a potential summit date.

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

Is climbing a team sport, or a team of individuals? In the old days of true National Teams, members were selected for their skills and experience. They didn’t know if they would have a chance to summit as that was decided by the leader after they had worked together to get camps set up and perhaps fixed rope on the route. Every leader had their own selection criteria but mostly it came down to who was strongest to make the summit. Remember in the “old days”, if one member summited, the entire expedition was called a success.

This winter season we have seen many examples of how teamwork goes in modern times. On K2, there is a clear split between Denis Urubko and the rest of the team. He is even going so far as to taunt them in the media. On Everest, Txikon and crew seem to be working well together even posting videos of them dancing and having fun. And on Nanga Parbat, it was the worse of all worlds with a close partnership to make the summit, then death and now an ugly time of finger pointing.

To be clear, climbing these high peaks – in winter – is an almost impossible task – just look at the success rate. It takes a strong team of climbers, complete with strong egos, to break trail in deep snow, put in fixed ropes, establish camps, fight the wind and stay focused and motived during long periods of downtime. But the real test comes when they go for the summit. That is when they need to be working as a closely knit team supporting each other with a shared purpose and understanding of the risk profile. If one member wants to be more aggressive than the others, they will waste precise energy arguing over continuing or turning back.

With summits window emerging for next week, now is the time to gel as a team.

Winter K2 – Fixing the Abruzzi

The Polish team has completed a few reconnaissance climbs to inspect the condition of the Abruzzi and determined they will need fixed ropes. They found some old ropes that are encased in ice, but will need to bring more up. Keep in mind, they are already familiar with the route as many of the team was on it this summer for training and knowledge with no attempt to summit K2.

K2 CampsPolish climbers, Piotr Tomala and Marcin Kaczkan wanted to fix the route to Camp 1 around 20,000’/6100m yesterday but the weather tuned bad so they left a cache of supplies just below C1. The plan for today, 14 February was to send  the High Altitude Porters (HAP), Saddik and Jalal, to complete the route at least to C1.

Denis Urubko continues to criticize the team and methods on his blog. This time he does a “told you so” series of rants saying they should have climbed from the east side of K2 and they never should have attempted the Česen or be on the Abruzzi now. And today he does interview with RussianClimb showing him hoping to reach Camp 3 on the Abruzzi but stopped by weather. He did reach 6500-meters, alone, with more rope. But once again, he criticizes his teammates and leader but obeys orders to return to a lower camp when weather moves in. Its makes for an interesting read (link). He ends his post with a hint that 20 February might be a good weather day and then adds “opps”. He is certainly focusing the attention on himself.

K2 Routes courtesy of exweb

K2 Routes courtesy of exweb

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

.. 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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National Polish Winter K2 Expedition.

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.

When started climbing in winter Poles began with a great success which was reaching the top of the Everest. It happened on 17th February 1980 as Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki reached the top of the highest mountain of the World.

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.

In later years, Poles also reached three other peaks inwinter times, whereas two of them were reached only by Poles and the third one was reached by a Polish – Italian team (Piotr Morawski Simone Maro).

K2 is the only mountain that wasn’t reached duringwinter season and that is why the Polish expedition is so important and the top would be a beautiful coronation of Polish successes of winter climbing.


K2 winter Polish expedition 2018 – Polish Ice Warrios Team

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Himalaya Spring 2017: Kilian Jornet Moves Up Speed Record Attempt as Chinese Play Politics with Permits.

Autor : Kraig Becker

As expected, the spring 2017 Himalayan climbing season is delivering all kinds of interesting stories and plot lines to follow. In addition to a record number of climbers on Everest, there are plenty of other expeditions to follow throughout the region. But just as many teams are getting settled into their respective base camps in the mountains, the Chinese have begun imposing permit restrictions that are causing some climbers to rethink their plans and make last minute adjustments to their schedules.

ExWeb has posted more details on the latest move by the Chinese government to impose restrictions on climbing permits in Tibet. In a nutshell, the authorities on that side of the Himalaya have announced that there will be no post-monsoon permits issued for Everest or Shishpangma this year, and only a limited number for Cho Oyu. In addition, the government is also refusing permits to any climber who has visited Pakistan in the past three years as well, causing a number of teams to alter their intended plans for this spring.

We already knew that Kilian Jornet has moved his speed record attempt to this spring, where he’ll have to contend with more crowds, and now we know why. Last year, Jornet went to Everest in the late-summer/early-fall, but ended up being turned back due to poor weather conditions. It was expected that he would probably do the same this year, as the mountain is all but deserted during those months. But, since the Chinese won’t be issuing permits for that timeframe, the mountain runner is now forced to attempt his speed record in the spring instead.

ExWeb is reporting that the change in permitting has also had an impact on climbers Adam Bielecki and Felix Berg, who were planning to attempt a new route on Cho Oyu. Both men visited Pakistan last year however, so neither is allowed to enter Tibet. Instead, they’ll now go to Annapurna in Nepal and attempt a seldom climbed route on that mountain with partners Louis Rousseau and Rick Allen.

All across the Himalaya other teams are now arriving in BC. In addition to large numbers trickling into Base Camp on Everest, others are now getting settled on Annapurna, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, and Kangchenjunga. Most have been acclimatizing in the Khumbu Valley or on smaller peaks already, and thus are arriving in good shape to start their first rotations. It won’t be long now and we’ll start to receive word of teams moving up as they begin building their high camps, fixing ropes, and generally becoming accustomed to the altitude.

Weather is already playing a part early in the season. Reports indicate that high winds have been common so far, particularly on Everest, Lhotse, and Annapurna. But, that is not unusual for this time of year, and things tend to calm down a lot as the season progresses. Right now, we’re about a month away from major summit bids, give or take a week. The plan moving forward will be to slowly acclimate to the conditions and begin preparing for the challenges ahead.

More to report soon.

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: Kilian Jornet Moves Up Speed Record Attempt as Chinese Play Politics with Permits

** see also: – Adam Bielecki planuje wytyczyć nową drogę na Cho Oyu.

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Himalaya Spring 2017: New Routes on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma .

Autor : Kraig Becker

Not all of the action will take place on Everest this spring. While the tallest peak on the planet always takes center stage at this time of the year, there are plenty of expeditions to other mountains to keep our eyes on in the days ahead as well, including two attempts to open new routes on Cho You and Shishapangma.

ExWeb is reporting that the four man team of Louis Rousseau, Adam Bielecki, Rick Allen, and Felix Berg have announced that they will attempt a new line along the North Face of Cho Oyu. Their plan is to start at the base of the North Wall and climb directly up to a completely untouched section of the mountain. Much of this route is reportedly unexplored and the team isn’t sure what to expect when they get there, other than that it will be extremely technical.

The 8201 meter (26,906 ft) mountain is the sixth highest mountain in the world and is often described as the “easiest” of the 8000-meter peaks. But this team will be attacking its most difficult section, as the big wall they hope to ascend is roughly 2000 meters (6561 ft) in height and requires excellent rock climbing skills to go along with the demands of high altitude mountaineering. They’ll likely have to climb in alpine style and it could potentially be quite cold there. The North Face sees very little sunshine and even in the spring it can see temperatures well below freezing.

Meanwhile, Stefan Nestler has the scoop on another major expedition that has just left for the Himalaya. David Goettler is joining forces with Hervé Barmasse to attempt a new route along the South Face of Shishapangma in Tibet. Goettler attempted this same route last year with Ueli Steck, but the two were turned back in their attempt. This season, he is feeling much more confident about their chances.

The two climbers joined Steck in the Khumbu Valley for acclimatization training in February and will return to that region to tune up for the expedition again. They’ll spend another two weeks there prior to crossing over to Tibet to begin the climb. They’ll trek throughout the area and even warm up on Island Peak (6180 m/20,275 ft) before jumping across the border to begin.

Last year, Goettler and Steck were turned back on the 8027 meter (26,335 ft) Shishpangma due to bad weather. This year, the team is hoping for improved fortunes with better all around conditions. They should have already arrived in Kathmandu as I write this, and will be preparing to head out on their acclimatization treks soon.

Add both of these expeditions to your lists of ones to follow this spring. It is shaping up to be an interesting time in the Himalaya for sure.

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: New Routes on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma

** see also –

Adam Bielecki planuje wytyczyć nową drogę na Cho Oyu.

Za kilka dni Adam Bielecki wraz Rickiem Allenem, Felixem Bergiem i Louisem Rousseau wyruszy w Himalaje, gdzie zamierza zdobyć nową drogą Cho Oyu (8201 m n.p.m.).

Swój nowy projekt opisuje w wywiadzie dla Gazety Wyborczej:

Celem Polsped Cho Oyu Expedition 2017 jest wytyczenie nowej drogi na szóstej co do wysokości górze świata, czyli Czo Oju [8201 m n.p.m.]. Wybraliśmy ponaddwukilometrową północną ścianę. Wiedzie przez nią jedna droga, wytyczona po prawej stronie przez Słoweńców w 1988 r. Wszystko na lewo to dziewiczy teren.

Dodaje dalek w rozmowie:

To 2000 m terenu nachylonego średnio pod kątem 45-50 stopni. Momentami będzie jednak o wiele stromiej. Na dole więcej jest lodu i śniegu, w górnej części zaczynają się skały. To najbardziej wymagający odcinek. Nie ujawniamy naszych dwóch pomysłów na nową drogę, bo linii nie wytycza się w domu. Staniemy pod ścianą, zobaczymy, gdzie wiszą seraki [ważące setki tysięcy ton bryły lodu często wielkości dużych bloków]. Wtedy spróbujemy znaleźć bezpieczne przejście. Nie wiemy, co nas czeka. To ekscytujące.

Cho Oyu od północy (fot. Steve Hicks/Wikipedia)

Bielecki zdradza także dalsze plany, czyli dołączenia do polskiej wyprawy, której celem jest pierwsze zimowe zdobycie K2:

Jeśli wszystko dobrze pójdzie, w zimie pojadę z polską wyprawą na niezdobyte o tej porze roku K2, ale nie żyję tym planem na co dzień. W zimie już sporo osiągnąłem, a nowej drogi na ośmiotysięczniku nie poprowadziłem. Chcę to zrobić w małym, szybkim zespole i w dobrym stylu. Opętała mnie ta myśl.

Trzymamy kciuki i czekamy na kolejne wieści!

* source: – http://outdoormagazyn.pl/2017/04/adam-bielecki-planuje-wytyczyc-nowa-droge-na-cho-oyu/

** see also – Himalaya Spring 2017: New Routes on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma .

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