K2 Winter 2017: Final Preparations by alanarnette.com.

Autor: Alan Arnette

K2

After multiple attempts to summit K2 in winter, a Polish team is finalizing their plans to attempt the last 8000er not summited in winter. They will arrive in Pakistan after Christmas this year, 2017.

K2 is the world’s 2th highest mountain at 28,251’/8611m. It is located in northwest Pakistan about 30 miles from the border with India. K2 is called the Mountaineer Mountain and the Savage Mountain for its deadly and difficult reputation.

Additional Member

The expedition has been in the planning stages for years but perhaps one of the biggest last minute changes is that elite Kazakstan alpinist Denis Urubko will join the team. He has held Polish citizenship since February 2015. See this recent interview with Urubko in Alpinsimonline. 

The entire expedition is being lead by 67 year-old Krzysztof Wielicki who lead the last Polish K2 attempt in 2003. Wielicki has summited all of the 8000ers without supplemental oxygen.

This report from PPA revealed a tremendous amount of gear being transported to base camp: 600 kg (1322 lbs) of cargo in addition to 400 kg (881 lbs) they will travel with as they move to base camp. This includes thousands of meters of rope, anchors, pitons, snow bars, tents, food, stove, fuel and a lot more that’s part of modern expeditions.

The Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism has funded the expedition to the tune of $275,000. Jasmine Tours in Pakistan is the ground agent for the team and will provide 6 high altitude climbers from Pakistan for the expedition support.

The team is composed of Adam Bielecki, Marek Chmielarski, Rafał Fronia, Janusz Gołąb, Marcin Kaczkan, Artur Małek, Piotr Tomala, Jarosław Botor and Dariusz Załuski in addiiton to Urubko and Wielicki.

K2 routes

K2 Routes: Abruzzi and Česen

It is planned that they will take the Česen aka Basque Route but may evaluate the Abruzzi as well.

The most significant obstacle the Poles will encounter is the weather. Even in the summer it is unpredictable, harsh and deadly. High winds have blown climbers off the summit, avalanches have killed climbers in their tents at high camps and some have simply disappeared. But the weather is the wild card. They will need winds under 60 kph/40mph for a safe ascent.

It appears the team will do the standard siege style climb establishing four camps as they set the route with a fixed rope and stock camps with food and fuel. They will not be using supplemental oxygen while climbing.

… more –  K2 Winter 2017: Final Preparations

Autor : Alan Arnette

* source: –  http://www.alanarnette.com/blog

** see also: – Everest and K2 in the Winter by alanarnette.com.

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Everest and K2 in the Winter by alanarnette.com.

Recommended by us…. amazing website …

Everest and K2 in the Winter.

Will there be a winter summit of Everest and finally on K2 this winter? This is always a question as we approach winter. And teams usually keep their plans quiet. The recent suspects include Alex Txikon on Everest and the Poles on K2.

To claim a true winter ascent of a northern hemisphere peak, the summit must be reached during the calendar winter of the northern hemisphere. For 2017/18 this begins with the winter solstice on December 21, 2017 at 11:28 am EST and ends with the spring equinox on March 201, 2018 at 12:15 pm EDT.

Also to be fully certified as a winter ascent, not only the summit has to be reached within the winter calendar, but the start of the expedition cannot be before winter solstice either. Practically this means that the Base Camp must be reached after the winter solstice.

8000ers in Winter

As this table shows, Polish climbers have dominated first winter ascents of the 8000 meter peaks.

K2 This Winter?

Of course, K2 remains the only 8000er not summited in winter. Last year, Nanga Parbat succumbed to the team of Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger. It took 31 winter attempts before summiting Nanga in winter.

Now on K2, Krzysztof Wielicki, 67, who was in the first team to scale Everest in winter in 1980 will lead the Polish K2 attempt this winter.

Funding had been a problem but it appears they have received $275,000 from the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism according to this article.

They will be a team of 10 but only four will be on the “summit team.” They will climb in traditional siege style establishing several camps along the route. Of course weather is the primary concern as K2 is always hit with high winds but in winter the jet stream tends to sit on top of it with 200 mph winds and experience heavy snowfall.

The team is scheduled to include: Janusz Goląb, 50, with a Gasherbum I ascent, Artur Małek, who made the first winter ascent of Broad Peak, Marcin Kaczkan, K2 in the winter of 2002/03 to 7,600m and summited K2 and Nanga Parbat in the summer, plus Marek Chmielarski, summits of Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak.

Other team members include Rafał Fronia (Lhotse and Gasherbrum II), Piotr Tomala (Broad Peak and Cho Oyu), Dariusz Załuski (filmmaker / climbed five 8,000-metre peaks) and doctor Krzysztof Wranicz.

They are not sure which route they will take but it most likely will be either the Abruzzi or the Česen.

See this post for a nice overview of K2 winter attempts. But these are the highlights from Gripped:

  • 1980 Reconnaissance: Pol Andrzej Zawada and Canadian-resident Polish national Jaques Olek
  • 1987/88 Attempt: 13 Poles, 7 Canadians and 4 Brits / made to Camp 3
  • 2002/03 Attempt: 14 climbers from Poland, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia / made Camp 4
  • 2011/12 Attempt: 9 climbers from Russia / made Camp 2
  • 2014/15 Near Attempt: Denis Urubko and team lost permit

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

* source: – Everest and K2 in the Winter

** see also – Polish Team Prepares for Winter Ascent of K2.

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Video: Krzsztof Wielicki Shares Thoughts on Polish Winter Expedition to K2.

We’ve previewed the Polish winter expedition to K2 a couple of times already and we’re still several weeks away from the team actually arriving on the mountain. But, this is certainly a climb that will draw a lot of attention in the weeks ahead, and this video gives us some insights into that adventure courtesy of Krzsztof Wielicki himself. The 67-year old climber is the leader of the expedition and has considerable experience on major mountains all over the world. This clip is an interview with the Polish alpinist who offers insightful thoughts on the challenge ahead.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –  Video: Krzsztof Wielicki Shares Thoughts on Polish Winter Expedition to K2

** see also: – https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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Polish Team Prepares for Winter Ascent of K2.

A few weeks back I took a look at some of the upcoming mountaineering expeditions scheduled to take place this coming winter. Chief amongst them was the Polish team that is targeting K2 this year, which as you know is the only 8000-meter peak that remains unclimbed during the winter season. Now, we’re starting to get more details on this attempt, and it is safe to say that this team is incredibly serious about reaching the summit of the “Savage Mountain.”

Alan Arnette has posted a story about the expedition, sharing some interesting insights into their approach to the climb. He notes that the squad will consist of Adam Bielecki, Marek Chmielarski, Rafał Fronia, Janusz Gołąb, Marcin Kaczkan, Artur Małek, Piotr Tomala, Jarosław Botor, Dariusz Załuski, and Denis Urubko. The team leader for the expedition famed Polish alpinist Krzysztof Wielicki, who is 67 years-old but comes with a wealth of experience. Wielicki lead the last Polish K2 attempt in 2003 and has summited all of the 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen.

Unlike teams in the past who have arrived on the mountain on December 21 – the first day of winter – the Poles are planning on reaching Base Camp sometime after Christmas. They’ll apparently be bringing a lot of gear and supplies with them, as the team reportedly has 600 kg (1322 pounds) of cargo that is being carried by porters, while they’ll bring another 400 kg (881 pounds) themselves. Alan also reports that the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism is backing the winter attempt on K2 with $275,000 in funds as well.

The current plan is to make the attempt up the Česen Route, although the Poles haven’t ruled out scouting the Abruzzi Route either. If conditions prove better on one of those paths as compared to the other, this gives them the flexibility to change course. As Alan points out, their biggest obstacle is likely to be the weather, which is extremely challenging even during the summer months. Cold temperatures, high winds, heavy snow, and unexpected avalanches have all conspired to keep previous winter attempts from reaching the summit, and this season will likely be no different.

At the moment, we’re still several weeks away from the start of the expedition, but the team is now hurriedly putting their last minute plans together, preparing for journey to Pakistan, and the long weeks ahead of them in a cold and inhospitable place. This climb will not be easy and will test them from day 1, and of course we’ll be following it closely in the days ahead. It should be a fascinating adventure to say the least.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –  Polish Team Prepares for Winter Ascent of K2

** see also: –

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Major Winter Expeditions Aiming at Big Mountains in 2018.

With the autumn climbing season in the Himalaya all but over, we’ll now turn our attention to the winter ahead. While there are never a large number of expeditions that take place during that season, the ones that do are usually incredibly interesting to follow. This year looks like it, will be no different as it is already shaping up to be a challenging one.

The big focus for the winter will no doubt be on K2, where the Polish Ice Warrior squad have set their sights on the only 8000-meter peak that remains unclimbed during the toughest, most dangerous season of all.

As we all know, K2 is an incredibly challenging mountain to climb under the best of conditions. But during the winter, it gets considerably more difficult thanks to high winds, heavy snows, potential avalanche conditions, and brutally cold temperatures. To date, it has turned back all attempts, and left a trail of fatalities in its wake.

The Polish team will arrive in K2 Base Camp next month just at the start of winter. They’ll want every day of the season at their disposal, as it could potentially take a full three months to complete their objectives. The ten man squad while be led by 67-year old Krzysztof Wielicki, a veteran of numbers Polish winter expeditions dating back to the 1980’s, including the first successful winter ascent of Mt. Everest. While he won’t be going up the mountain himself, his years of experience and wisdom will help lead the team.

We will of course be following their expedition closely and cheering them on. For many, the winter ascent of K2 is the last major mountaineering objective to be achieved. It remains to be seen if that will happen this year.

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ExWeb Interviews K2 Summiteer Vanessa O’Brien.

It looks like ExWeb is back up and running, at least in some capacity. The site, which had gone dark pending a sale to a new owner, has had a few updates posted in recent days, including an exclusive two part interview with Vanessa O’Brien, who summited K2 this past July. By virtue of her dual citizenship, she became the first American and British woman to climb that mountain, which still ranks amongst the hardest climbs in the world.

In the interview, Vanessa talks about the difficulties she faced on the climb, including a tough 16-hour summit push. This was her third attempt on the mountain, and she touches on the frustration and challenges of coming back to a place that has provided so much difficulty in the past too. She also speaks at length about her role as the leader of the team, often finding herself playing “good cop” and “bad cop” as needed.

Other topics of discussion include what it was like to be in K2 Base Camp this year, why other teams didn’t find the same success that her’s did, and how reaching the top has impacted her after the expedition ended. Vanessa shares what it was like to ‘pass through hell to reach heaven,” an indication of just how difficult the climb was, but the relief that was felt when they actually made it to the top.

For some fantastic insights into what it is like to climb the “Savage Mountain,” you can read part 1 and part 2 of the interview for yourself. For anyone interested in big climbs in the Karakoram, Vanessa has some fascinating insights and information to share.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – ExWeb Interviews K2 Summiteer Vanessa O’Brien

** see also: –

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The New York Times Takes A Look at Climbing K2 in Winter.

It’s not often that mountaineering gets good coverage by the mainstream media, let along the paper of record. But, this past weekend, The New York Times took an in-depth look at what it takes to climb K2, the second highest mountain on the planet, during the winter – something that has yet to be accomplished.

The story in The Times introduces readers to a team of Polish climbers who are preparing to take on “the world’s most lethal mountain” this coming winter. The story does a good job of not only providing readers with a sense of history for Polish winter climbing in the Himalaya, but also the sense of pride and accomplishment that has come along with the impressive feats that those climbers have accomplished in the past. For them, there is only one big challenge yet to be conquered during the coldest months of the year, and that’s K2.

Readers get a sense of what it is like to climb a major Himalayan peak during the winter months, when cold conditions and howling winds can leave alpinists stuck inside their tents for days on end, waiting for a proper weather window just to go out and acclimatize, let alone make a summit push. It is a harsh and unforgiving environment that has crushed the dreams of many climbing teams, and has left far too many men and women dead in its wake. Add that to the fact that K2 is already one of the most difficult and dangerous mountains on the planet, and you begin to understand why it is such a crazy endeavor.

The New York Times story is quite extensive, and an excellent read for those of us who already have a sense of what it takes to climb a big mountain in winter as well as those being introduced to the concept for the very first time. I’m sure more than a few readers were left wondering why anyone would want to do this at all, but if you read this blog with any kind of regularity, chances are you’ve already moved beyond that question.

Winter is still quite a few months off yet, so its hard to think about it too much at the moment. But, it will also be here before we know it, and the Polish team is busy preparing, plotting, and training to get ready. Once they get underway, you can bet we’ll be following their progress closely. Until then, you’ll just have to read the article to get ready for the challenge they face.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – The New York Times Takes A Look at Climbing K2 in Winter

** see also: – Polish famous climbers – The golden decade of Polish Himalayan mountaineering.

 

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