Polish team to attempt first winter ascent of K2

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Legendary mountaineer Krzysztof Wielicki this week sets off to lead a Polish expedition to attempt the first ever winter summit of K2.

In a few days Wielicki flies out to Pakistan with a group of 10 Polish climbers hoping to pull off one of the most-sought after feats in mountaineering, on the only remaining 8000m peak not to have been climbed in winter. K2 is nicknamed the Savage Mountain due to the high fatality rates as tragically one in four die attempting to climb it.

K2, the second highest mountain in the world, is situated in in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas and is 8,611 metres above sea level. Janusz Majer, 70, a veteran Himalayas climber who is jointly organising the government-funded expedition says; “the winds need to be below 50-60 km per hour, though even that is strong”. 

If anyone can succeed on this steep, icy and notorious mountain it’s likely to be this group led by 67 year old Wielicki, who was the first man to do a winter ascent of Everest. He’s spent nearly 14 months on K2 and managed a summer ascent on his fourth go. He tried it in winter over a decade ago but was unsuccessful, however since then equipment has improved and as he explains; “We now have heated gloves and shoes, and one other change is revolutionary: satellite communications and satellite weather forecasts”.

The Polish team will spend the next 10 to 12 weeks preparing for the summit bid. They will be painstakingly setting up food storage, equipment, ropes and camps in readiness for a window in the weather to make a bid for the top.

Wielicki, who has climbed all 14 of the world’s peaks over 8,000 metres, feels it is the end of an era for big Himalayan quests and warns that; “We are moving now from risk to recklessness”.

The other team members on this Polish expedition are Adam Bielecki, Marek Chmielarski, Rafał Fronia, Janusz Gołąb, Marcin Kaczkan, Artur Małek, Piotr Tomala, Krzysztof Wranicz and Dariusz Załuski, in addition to Denis Urubko, a Russian-born climber who has held Polish citizenship since February 2015.

Trek and Mountain wishes the team the best of luck and we’ll keep you posted on their progress over the coming weeks.


  1. If anyone can do it these Polish guys can, the best of luck to them. From a fellow mountaineer

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