News Headlines     |     


K2 SKI MISSION ABANDONED - Katie Bamber, Senior News Reporter
Thursday July 13, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

'Sometimes you gotta lose the battle to win the war': K2 remains an undefeated ski mountain as Andrzej Bargiel & his team turn back. UPDATED

The challenge is to stand on top of K2, having conquered one of the hardest mountains in the world.

The statistics are scary - for every four climbers who attempt to reach the top of K2, one perishes.

And then for the real challenge - the ski down.

No person has ever managed a full descent, from top to bottom.

Skiers have managed sections, but to be the first to ski it completely is still the aim.

Within the climbing world, K2 is known as the 'savage mountain'.



It wasn't their turn...

After days of waiting for the weather to lift at Base Camp and planning for a summit attack on 1st August, Andrej Bargiel and his team have dropped the K2 summit and ski mission.

Team member Janusz Gołąb had to turn back for base early in the day Sunday 30th July, due to an infection he could not kick.

Bargiel continued with Kuba Poburka and at last the bad weather had improved.

However the warmer temperature increased the risk of avalanches.

He wrote this on his Facebook page:

Boulders and stones were falling down on our head. Kuba got hit by a small one, but he's all right.

We've decided there is no sense to risk it.

Safety first.

Unfortunatelly it looks like I won't ski down from K2 this year...

Well sometimes you gotta lose the battle to win the war.

It's very likely we'll come back.

A plaque for Wojciech Wróż, who died in 1986 during his descentA plaque for Wojciech Wróż, who died in 1986 during his descent

Saturday 29th JulySaturday 29th July

  The challenge is still there to make history summiting & skiing the infamous K2.



Patiently waiting...

"After a couple days with bad weather, snowfalls and no visibility, the sun has finally came out today," Bargiel wrote on his blog about the progress of summiting K2. 

"There's a little 'window' but according to various forecasts, the weather will change again in the evening. 

There is simply not enough time to think about a summit attack. We have to patiently wait for conditions to improve."


Keep tuned in...


The K2 dare-devil is "Ready to Rumble" but the weather is still holding him up.

Unfortunately the weather won't let us leave the base camp today...

We'll give it another try tomorrow in the morning.

Let's hope we'll be able to make a couple turns soon!

We wait with trepidation for news of Andrzej on his penultimate stage of the challenge...


On Saturday 22nd the K2 team watched this - from a safe distance:

The message? 'Always remember to have big respect for the mountains'

On Sunday, Bargiel wasn't able to do his final acclimatisation hike before he takes on the summit attack.

Back at base camp yesterday the team are waiting for weather to clear - looks to be Wednesday 26th July.

What do they get up to?

Punching and dodging before the next battle with K2...

"Let's get ready to RUMBLE!" he posted on Facebook.

Can you feel it too?


K2's summit and ski attempter Bargiel is on the move again.

He is, some time around now - no updates for nearly 24 hours - completing his final acclimatisation hike before trying for the top.

Today's goal - 7500m

K2 Progress:

K2 progress



The team set up for Camp III on Saturday at an altitude of 7,100m.

Just today there has been another report from the team, following the success of establishing high camp.

Reported (and here translated) on the blog:

Today before noon local time we got back to base.

Action setting up camp III was a success.

Before me and the rest of the team a few days of rest.

We are constantly looking at the weather in order to attack the peak.

Various forecasts say different things...
















14th July - Facebook post14th July















14th July - Facebook update14th July ascending
















The mountaineer and his team reported the following on their journey less than 24 hours ago:

After some long discussions we've decided to abandon the initial plan to reach the summit through the Polish route due to bad snow conditions.

We stopped our actions here after setting up camp I, still we were able to get valuable information about the potential ski descent.

Now we're back on Cesen route, which has been already secured up to camp II at 6300.

Tomorrow I'm out again and together with Janusz we want to set up camp III at 7000.

We'll spend two nights there and then we'll hike up on 7500 meters, which should give us good enough acclimatization ahead of the summit attack.

Image taken from Facebook post 14th JulyImage 14th July















THE QUEST - to climb and ski down K2

The mountain has one of the best known ski manufacturers named after it, yet remains unskied.

It is an ultimate ski feat.

A handful before have attempted to conquer it with a complete descent of K2 on skis.

Standing at 8,611m, is capped only by the 8,848-metre Mount Everest.

Yet K2 is a more difficult and dangerous climb.

It is reported that one in four die attempting to reach the summit; Less than 400 climbers have peaked K2.

K2      image - exlporersweb.com0K2  image -















Footage from a current ascent of K2: Here's more...

The mountain attracts fearless skiers who want to be its first; That is, from peak to bottom.

Previously there's been the fatal attempt of Frederik Ericsson in 2010, and the year before saw the death of Michele Fait.

Some have managed parts - Dave Watson and Luis Stitzinger from K2's bottleneck and shoulder, respectively.

Undeterred, now it is the time of 29-year-old Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel.

Currently on his ascent of K2 - footage above - Bargiel is determined to descend the monstrous mountain on skis from its peak.

Marcin Kin Photography Andrzej Bargiel: Marcin Kin Photography














Andrzej Bargiel on the K2 ski challenge: 'Time to Play'Andrzej Bargiel on the K2 ski challenge: 'Time to Play'














Marcin Kin Photography10th July K2 Basecamp














Read More:

54-year-old Davo Karnicar started the K2 ski challenge, though not with Bargiel's team.

The Slovenian mountaineer is the only man to make a complete ski descent of Mount Everest, which he did in 2000.

Unfortunately, just days ago on 9th July Karnicar had to pull out of the quest due to injury.

Just watch from 3:17mins to see footage of Davo descending Everest on skis in 2000:

Bargiel last reported 24 hours ago from the mountain, having already reached Camp II.

Some doubt that the ski descent is even possible.

Luis Stitzinger, who skied from 7,900 in 2011 is convinced there's a way.

On his descent he had to remove skis on the Kukuczka Route to travel over a snow-less rock ridge of 200m. Under the right weather conditions (and on a different descending route) he believes it possible.

Karnicar, before he had to retire, described the commitment and resolve for so dangerous an expedition:

"Each try to ski, each experience on the mountain, because of them I'm much closer," he said.

"We don't know each other, but we are like one group with the same wish."

Facebook  Andrzej BargielAndrzej Bargiel




















Bargiel spoke to The Times:

"Previous attempts prove that the descent is possible, provided you had carried out excellent preparation, were at the peak of sporting fitness and had experience of skiing at such high altitudes.

"A quick descent on skis could be seen as an even more difficult step on my Himalayan and skiing career. But it would also be a feat recorded in the history of Himalayan mountaineering and skiing.

"Of course you had to have a bit of luck with the weather and snow quality," the Polish mountaineer added.

K2's previous skiers:

Italy's Hans Kammerlander in 2001 reported to ski off the summit. He claims, however, that on witnessing a Korean climber's fatal fall he took off his skis to climb the route down.

In 2009 American ski patroller Dave Watson came close. He is the only person to ski K2's Bottleneck - just ~200m below summit.

German Luis Stitzinger in 2011 skied from the shoulder at 7,900m down both the Cesen and Kukuczka Route.

Bargiel's Facebook pageK2 7th July Marcin Kin Photography




















Referring to it as his 'K2 ski challenge' (rather an understatement) - Bargiel is attempting a double whammy of a feat in climbing and skiing the peak.

He told Polish publication RMF that he plans to reach K2's summit between 20th -30th July.

As he continues on one of the planet's deadliest mountains, check back for news of Bargiel's progress.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

Related Articles

FRESH AVALANCHE WARNINGS (Saturday April 21, 2018)
FRESH AVALANCHE WARNINGS (Tuesday April 17, 2018)
SHERPAS IN VERBIER (Monday April 16, 2018)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners