Andrzej Bargiel has arrived at the glacier at K2 on 22 of July! The Pole has made a historic feat. He was the first person to ski from the top of K2 (8611 m), the second highest mountain in the world.
The Pole started from the summit on Sunday at 9:00 am Polish time, only a few minutes after reaching the top. He started to go up at midnight. He left the camp IV and was about to overcome 600 meters vertically. To ski down was the second, more difficult part of the whole action. After a few hours, Bargiel reached the fourth camp, at 8,000 m.n.p.m, where he had to stop and wait out the deterioration of the weather. As reported by mountaineer Michał Leksinski, the conditions improved so much that Bargiel was able to move down again, and his tracker already indicated 7600 meters.
The last straight to the goal. Just before 4 pm Bargiel reported in the third camp, the so-called C3, where Janusz Gołąb was waiting for him. After a short rest, the ski-tower started a combination of roads - from Cesena, traversed to the right (Messner Traverse) to connect with the Kukuczka-Piotrowski Road, the last straight route.
Skiing was the biggest challenge of the project. So far, no one has left K2 on skis. Some attempts have been made (e.g., Hans Kammerlander, Davo Karnicar), but failed. Most of the parts have been skipped - nobody has managed to pull off the entire route until 22nd of July when Andrzej Bargiel did.
The achievements of the Ski mountaineer and Himalayan Andrzej Bargiel are impressive. He is a triple Polish champion in Ski mountaineering and the third competitor of the World Cup in this discipline.
K2 is already the fourth eight-thousander in the career of a 30-year-old. In October 2013, he won Shisha Pangma Central, from which he naturally skipped. In September 2014, he set the entry record from the base to the Manaslu peak (14 hours 5 minutes) and the base-peak-base campaign (21 hours 14 minutes).
In 2015 he made the first ever skiing down from Broad Peak. In 2016, it again exceeded further barriers. He set the record for the capture of the Snow Leopard award, also skiing down from all the summits he had achieved! The Snow Leopard Award is an award which is given to an experienced climber who summited all five peaks of 7000m and above located in the former Soviet Union.
The route was planned in advance and checked as far as possible for potential difficulties and threats. The previous Sunday (15 July) he made a quick reconnaissance - on the way called Abruzzi route he reached the height of about 7,800 m and on the same day returned to the base sliding down a combination of three roads: Cesena, traverse Messner and Jerzy Kukuczka and Tadeusz Piotrowski' route. During the last acclimatization Bargiel secured a fragment of the exit and checked the stability of the snow cover. In addition, a huge help was the observation of the wall at a height of about 8,400 m with the help of a drone piloted by Andrzej's brother - Bartłomiej.
Below you can watch how it looked like. The whole action was supported by RedBull.
I can't even imagine myself at such height. I remember when seven years ago I had skis for the first time on my legs. I found it pretty easy to ski on the easiest slopes. After few weekend of skiing in Poland we went to Italy with my boyfriend's family during winter holidays. I enjoyed it very much, it was so much fun but for the first few days I was skiing only on beginners slope. I remember exactly when we wanted to go on a break to another restaurant. My companions chose this restaurant because there was an amazing goulash soup. BUT... there is a catch... This restaurant was distant from us about red - an intermediate slope and black - an expert slope. I was for the first time in Italy so I said well we can try. As soon as I was on the top of the slope I started to regret it very, very much. I was so afraid of the height and space that I could barely move. Well I said A so I also had to say B. I guess it looked funnily but my boyfriend was skiing backwards while holding me, I was like a child who learns to ski with parents the only difference was that we went on more advanced slope. After few meters I tried to ski on my own but the biggest slope appeared again so I needed some help once again. Somehow we managed to reach the mentioned restaurant and I could enjoy the break and eat the most delicious food after such effort, believe me or not - it was a huge effort for me. For that day I had enough and we came back to hotel. On the next day I wanted to try once again to ski from the more advance slope. And guess what. I did it! I was so proud of myself that it's hard to describe in words. Since that time I started to overcome my fear of height and space and started to ski on more advanced slopes. So, this was my story. That's why I can't even imagine myself skiing from such heights. And I know it was nothing in compare to Andrzej Bargiel's feat.
I believe it was also a huge effort for Andrzej to achieve this, but it was proceeded by many preparations. I consider his feat as something amazing because firstly he had to climb ans secondly he had to ski down. His achievement is unbelievable, in the end, as the first in history he made something like that.