Poland’s climber aim to become first to summit K2 - highest mountain unclimbed in Winter.

  • July 14, 2017

As per Guinness World Record Ltd. K2 (8,611m / 28,251 ft.) is only the remaining 8000er peak among all 14 to be climbed in winter, both calendar (20 Dec to 20 March) and metrological (1 Dec to 28 Feb). Digging the past there are only 3 attempt on Mt. K2 in winter unfortunately, all unsuccessful. 

Only 375 people have conquered K2 since it was first climbed in 1954 by an Italian expedition and among 375 ascents 52 ascents goes to 45 different Nepalese climbers. Till the date 86 people (11 on single day) have died trying, that’s one on four rate of death.

K2, second highest peak in the world is the last remaining 8,000er peak that has not been climbed in winter, but that might be about to change by Polish climbers via K2’s perilous slopes this winter. The team including 8 to 10 members will set out for K2 in the late of Autumn this year. Even getting permit to climb K2 in winter is a great challenge but it comes with no surprise in Polish climber committee where 10 winter first ascents above 8000m were made by the nation. Janusz Majer, head of the Polish Winter Himalayism project, proudly describes the 10 ascents of 8,000-metre peaks in winter as belonging to the Poles. “Winter high-altitude climbing was a myth and an impossible thought before the Polish mountaineers summitted several Himalayan peaks in the 1980s,” Majer said to SCMP.  Majer added “Sudden winds, freezing cold temperatures, very short weather windows for the summit push and key climbing difficulties over 7,800 metres make a winter climb on K2 one of the most challenging mountaineering expeditions in the history of climbing.” But before they even face the elements, there is the task of fundraising.

                                                                                                                                                                      Krzysztof Wielicki
"It’s waiting for us. I hope that we will set out this year in late autumn," Krzysztof Wielicki, a mountaineering veteran who is leading and co-ordination to the team planning the winter ascent. Wielicki was in the first team to scale Everest in winter in 1980. All the experience in the world cannot take the risk out of K2, he warned. “You need luck,” he said. “Everyone makes mistakes.” This time life time Wielicki experiences will play significant role for his younger companions. The team have hired renowned mountaineer Janusz Golab, who was part of the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum-I in 2012, as the sports manager to develop training programmes. He is 49, still in his prime for a great climber, and he will be one of those charged with making it to the summit of K2 next winter.

According to the Mingma Sherpa, youngest person to complete all 8000ers mountains, who scaled the K2 in 2004 said “ I do not say its impossible to conquest K2 in winter, of course hard work, experiences and luck does matter.”

The mountain, which lies on the Pakistani-Chinese border, is regarded as the most challenging of all the so-called eight-thousanders – peaks over 8,000 metres.