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TIME FOR K2'S SKI DEFEAT? - Katie Bamber, Senior News Reporter
Thursday July 13, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

World-class goal: Polish ski mountaineer, Andrzej Bargiel, is trying to make history summiting & skiing the infamous K2. UPDATED

If all goes to plan, in a few days’ time Andrzej Bargiel will stand on top of K2, having conquered one of the hardest mountains in the world.

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

All being well, his real challenge willl begin - the ski down.

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


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.

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