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: 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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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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