Climbing K2 is considered one of the most difficult feats in the world. To date, under 400 people have ever summited the treacherous peak. It is the world’s second tallest mountain, reaching 28,251 feet above sea level and is located on the Chinese-Pakistani border. Now, Andrzej Bargiel plans to become the first person to ski it. To put the craziness of this attempt in perspective, consider that the chances of surviving a summit attempt are 1 in 4. While it won’t be easy, Bargiel is more than qualified for the attempt. The polish Mountaineer is the speed record holder for the Snow Leopard award, which is given to those who summit all 5 peaks above 7000m in the former Soviet Union. He also is the record holder for the Elbrus Race and set a record time climbing from the base camp to the summit of Manaslu.
A ski descent of K2 was attempted one time before by Italian Mountaineer Hans Kammerlander. Kammerlander ended his descent early after witnessing a fellow climber fall to his death.
“The wall was a stiff 60 degrees, it would have been like skiing on a bell tower roof. When I saw a Korean climber fall down the wall, passing just a few meters away from me, I took my skis off.” – Hans Kammerlander on ending his ski descent of K2
Bargiel sees Kammerlander’s failed attempt as proof that the descent is possible. He has been fearless in the face of this challenge stating, “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”. Salomon is sponsoring Bargiel’s attempt, and he intends to summit sometime between July 20th and 30th. Hopefully, everything goes to plan for Andrzej and we get to witness history in the next few weeks.