Polish Mountaineer Makes History and Becomes First Person to Ski Down K2

CragBrains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
k2, first descent, polish, mountaineer
Andrzej celebrates what nobody has ever done before. Credit: Andrzej Bargiel/Marek Ogień

Polish mountaineer and mountain runner Andrzej Bargiel, 30 has become the first person to ski down K2 (28,251-feet), the second tallest mountain in the world. He summited K2 on Sunday morning at 11:30 am and returned to Base Camp at around 7:30 pm local time.

k2, first descent, polish, mountaineer
Climbing to the top. Earn your turns… Credit: Andrzej Bargiel/Marek Ogień

He is reported to have connected four routes on the descent: Abruzzi Rib, the Česen the Messner variant and the Kukuczka-Piotrowski routes. He skied from the summit to the High Camp at 25,080-feet before being forced to wait out low visibility for about an hour. Once the route cleared, he continued down the traditional Abruzzi to Camp 3 at 23,760-feet where the route merges with the Česen. He took that lower and then a short traverse Messner used aptly called the Messner variant before connecting to the Kukuczka-Piotrowski, reports Alan Arnette.

k2, first descent, polish, mountaineer
Weather and conditions aligned perfectly. Credit: Andrzej Bargiel/Marek Ogień

Bargiel abandoned an initial attempt to ski the mountain last year as conditions were too treacherous, and there have been previous attempts by other climbers:

  • Italian mountaineer, Hans Kammerlander skied the top 1,312-feet of K2 in 2001
  • Internationally known climber and skier, Dave Watson skied the upper slopes of K2 on 4th August 2009. Watson skied from an altitude of 27,400-feet down the bottleneck of K2.
  • German extreme mountaineer, Luis Stitzinger skied down Kukuczka Route to BC (16,732-feet) in 2011. Stitzinger skied from an altitude of 25,755-feet
  • Experienced Swedish ski-mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson fell about 3,280-feet to his death when he had been close to the summit.
k2, first descent, polish, mountaineer
The route of the ski descent.

In 2015 Bargiel became the first person to ski down Broad Peak, which is 26,296-feet tall and close to K2.

k2, first descent, polish, mountaineer
Andrzej on his historical descent. Credit: Andrzej Bargiel/Marek Ogień

While Mount Everest has been skied down multiple times now over the past two decades, a ski descent of K2 has proved still more challenging, largely because of a combination of treacherous terrain and often terrible weather.

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...