Polish adventurer Andrzej Bargiel will attempt to descend K2 on skis, a feat that has never been achieved.
Polish skier and mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel is set to take on K2 in coming days. He is looking to make the first complete ski descent from summit to snowline.
The expedition is part of his Hic Sunt Leones project (“here be dragons”). Bargiel’s aim is “to ride down the highest mountains of the earth and prove that skiing is possible even on the roof of the world.”
Bargiel previously completed the first ski descent of Broad Peak, the world’s 12th highest mountain. He is also a recipient of the Snow Leopard Award, a prize given to climbers who summit five peaks over 7000 m (within the borders of the former Soviet Union). He achieved this feat in record time.
Five attempts have been made to descend K2 on skis, none of which were successful (two ended in death). Of those who attempted, only one—Italian Hans Kammerlander—reached the summit. Kammerlander began his descent on skis but but abandoned the attempt at 8611 m after witnessing a fatality on the mountain. It was his third and final effort.
K2 is the second highest mountain in the world, located on the border between China and Pakistan. It belongs to the remote Karakoram range. Nicknamed “The Savage Mountain”, K2 has taken more than 80 lives. Of the eight-thousanders, only Annapurna has a higher fatality rate.
If Bargiel is able to summit the notoriously unpredictable mountain, his job will have only just begun. K2 is known for its menacing seracs. These towering pillars of ice can collapse without warning, triggering deadly avalanches.
Bargiel is currently stationed at base camp, waiting for an appropriate window of weather in which to make the ascent. His expedition is being sponsored by Salomon.