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Bad weather slows down winter expeditions

Ascent via the Abruzzi route on K 2

“The weather is not the best,” Krzysztof Wielicki, leader of the Polish K2 winter expedition, writes on Facebook. “Full of clouds and wind.” Denis Urubko ascended via the Abruzzi Spur to an altitude of 6,500 meters to check the condition of the route. Some old ropes are to be replaced, says Wielicki. The Polish climbers  had abandoned “for reasons of safety” their original plan to climb the Basque route (also known as the Cesen route). Previously Adam Bielecki and Rafal Fronia had been injured by rockfall. While Bielecki is able to continue, Fronia had to cancel the expedition because of a broken forearm.

Date

13. February 2018 | 17:24

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Moment of shock for Adam Bielecki on K2

It worked out well in the end

“Eh, that was close,” Adam Bielecki writes on Facebook from K2 Base Camp. “Several dozens of meters below camp 1 [at 5,800 m]  I was hit by a big stone. The result is a broken nose and six stitches, which were professionally put by Piotr Tomala and Marek Chmielarski directed by phone instructions from Robert Szymczak. In a few days I should be back in a perfect condition.” Previously, Krzysztof Wielicki, the leader of the Polish winter expedition on the second highest mountain on earth, had reported that Bielecki had been injured on the forehead and nose, although he had worn a helmet. Wielecki emphasized that the 34-year-old had not lost consciousness and was still able to descend to the base camp: “We hope that he will soon be back to full strength.”

Date

7. February 2018 | 16:45

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Nanga Parbat: Triumph and tragedy

Elisabeth Revol in a French hospital

The ridge is narrow at the highest mountains in the world, between luck and danger, between life and death. On Thursday of last week, Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz reached the 8,125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat. Elisabeth was the first woman to succeed a winter ascent of this eight-thousander, Tomek the first Pole to set foot on the highest point of Nanga Parbat in the cold season. In the seventh attempt Mackiewicz had finally fulfilled his big dream. For Revol, it was the third attempt, all together with Tomek. The two climbers did not have time to enjoy the second winter ascent of Nanga Parbat on the summit. They were late, it was already 6 pm local time and dark. That was still the smaller problem. Tomek told me ‘I can’t see anything any more’,” Elisabeth reports from a French hospital, where her severe frostbite on her hands and feet is being treated. He hadn’t used a mask because it was a bit hazy during the day and by nightfall he had ophthalmia (an inflammation of the eye). We hardly had a second at the top. We had to rush to get down.”

Date

1. February 2018 | 20:25

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Rescue operation on Nanga Parbat

Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz

It’s a race against time. A rescue team of climbers from the Polish K2 winter expedition is trying to rescue the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol and the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz, who have fallen into difficulties during their summit bid on Nanga Parbat. According to the information available, the 43-year-old Tomek – suffering from snowblindness and frostbite – is staying in a tent at about 7200 meters. “I keep descending, please helicopter tomorrow,” wrote Elisabeth Revol in a text message from her satellite phone. The 37-year-old is said to be somewhere between 6200 and 6400 meters.

Date

27. January 2018 | 19:33

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Nanga Parbat summit bid on Thursday

Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

Ready, go! “We are at 7,300 (meters). Terrible fight,” Tomek Mackiewicz is quoted on his Facebook page in telegram style. “If weather permits, tomorrow summit.” If not now, when?, we could add. On Thursday, by far the lowest wind speeds this week are expected for the 8,125 meter summit of Nanga Parbat: 20 to 25 km/h. In addition a few clouds and temperatures of minus 42 degrees Celsius. Thereafter, the wind is to refresh again and reach storm strength at the weekend.

Date

24. January 2018 | 16:40

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Decision on Nanga Parbat postponed, Urubko in Camp 2 on K2

Tomek Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat

Do you already have aching muscles from keeping fingers crossed? Your pain could become even stronger. Because the summit bid of the Pole Tomek Mackiewicz and the Frenchwoman Elisabeth Revol that was expected already for Sunday is delayed. “We are in Camp 3, (it’s) windy (with speeds of)  about 100 km/h,” Tomek is quoted today on his Facebook page. “Tomorrow Camp 4, summit push (on) 25 January. Good weather (is expected for) that day.” In fact, the weather forecast for the summit at 8,125 meters predicts for Thursday the lowest wind speeds this week: between 15 and 25 km/h. Assuming this forecast is correct, it will be almost calm, however with minus 42 degrees Celsius quite cold, some clouds are expected. Mackiewicz and Revol climb without bottled oxygen.

Date

22. January 2018 | 14:53

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Turn five into four

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat

Joining forces is a recipe for success – also in mountaineering. You only need to recall the legendary first ascent of the Eiger North Face in 1938, when the Germans Anderl Heckmair and Ludwig Voerg and the Austrians Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek started their climbs as two teams of two, banded together in the wall and were successful. Also now on Nanga Parbat, two of the five expedition teams on the mountain have joined their forces in order to have better chances for the first winter ascent on the ninth highest mountain on earth. “Plan A – quick alpine style push – failed due to weather. Plan B – regaining acclimatization and climbing “alpine style like” – failed too due to Jacek’s health issue. By the way he is himself again. It’s time for plan C”, the Polish climber Adam Bielecki writes on Facebook.

Date

11. January 2016 | 17:05

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Climbers’ crowdfunding for winter expeditions

K-2-SponsoringIs it just a coincidence or already a trend? The K 2 winter expedition of Denis Urubko and Italian climber Daniele Nardi’s to Nanga Parbat use crowdfunding on the Internet to get more money for the expedition budget. Anyone who had ever to write his fingers to the bone to raise money for an expedition, will understand that now climbers too choose this form of financing that was born in the digital age.

Date

17. December 2014 | 16:50

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Alexei Bolotov dies on Everest

Alexei Bolotovi (1963-2013)

What should have been a highlight in the history of climbing on Everest, ended in tragedy. Russian climber Alexei Bolotov fell to death in the Khumbu Icefall. Together with his compatriot Denis Urubko the 50-year-old mountaineer wanted to open a new route via the steep Southwest Face. As Denis said on phone, the rope broke on a sharp edge of rock when Alexei was abseiling. Bolotov fell down about 300 metres and died instantly. He was found at 5600 metres.

Date

15. May 2013 | 17:10

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Urubko: Much depends on weather and luck

Denis Urubko

Not only formerly French actor Gerard Depardieu has become a Russian, but also Denis Urubko. The 39 years old climber wrote me that he had left Kazakhstan and had now a passport of Russia. This spring Denis – together with his new countryman Alexei Bolotov – wants to climb Mount Everest on a new route (look here) via the southwest face. Urubko has already climbed all fourteen 8000ers without supplementary oxygen. Together with his friend Simone Moro from Italy Denis succeeded the first winter ascents of Makalu(2009) and Gasherbrum II (2011). In 2010 Denis and Kazakh Boris Dedeshko were awarded with the Piolet d’Or, the ‘Oscar’ of mountaineering, for their new route via the south face of Cho Oyu. I asked Urubko about his new plan on Everest.

Date

16. March 2013 | 22:49

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