K2, the second highest peak in the world, has never been skied from the summit. A number of unsuccessful attempts have been made, including one last year by Andrzej Bargiel. Unfazed by the danger, he’s back and giving it another go.
Climbing K2 is a huge accomplishment in itself, with only about 300 people ever having stood on the summit. It was not successfully climbed until 1954, with one out of every four climbers since having died during their attempt. Italian Hans Kammerlander first tried to ski K2 in 2001 but bailed 400m from the summit after watching another climber take a fatal fall. Swedish ski-mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson lost his life after falling thousands of feet on the ascent in 2010.
Avalanche danger and rockfall shut down Bargiel’s attempt in 2017, but he’s got an impressive resume none the less. He’s already skied Broad Peak and Shisapangma with plans to ski the “easiest” 8000m peak in the area, Gasherbrum II, as final preparation.
If all of that, plus the Red Bull helmet, wasn’t enough proof-of-radness, here’s some more note worthy stuff. Bargiel holds the record at the Elbrus Race for the fastest running ascent of the “Extreme Route” in 3 hours and 23 minutes. He also has the fastest know times from basecamp to summit, and base-peak-base on Manaslu, and the speed record for the Snow Leopard Award.
According to Bargiel’s social media, he appears to have just arrived in Pakistan and is on his way to the mountains. Best of luck!