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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Karnicar abandons his K2 ski expedition

Karnicar strikes his tent on K 2

The Slovenian Davo Karnicar, known for his spectacular ski runs from the highest mountains in the world, has aborted his expedition on K2. The 52-year-old justified his decision with a minor back injury, which he had suffered already at the beginning of the expedition. The injury did not allow him to jump with his skies on the slope to change the direction, said Karnicar. Previously, he had skied down on trial from Camp 1 to the Base Camp. “K2 is too demanding for improvisation and for doing things by halves,” said Davo. Karnicar also pointed out that the key section of the South Face was currently snow-free and therefore a complete ski descent from the summit to the Base Camp, as he had planned, was not possible. The Slovene wanted to ski down the Cesen route.

First complete ski descent from Everest

Davo Karnicar

In 1995, Davo Karnicar succeeded along with his brother Andrej a ski descent from the eight-thousander Annapurna in Nepal on the north side of the mountain. In 2000, Davo was the first to ski down from the highest point of Mount Everest to the base camp on the south side without having to take off his skis. He is listed as the first ski mountaineer who succeeded complete ski descends from the Seven Summits, the highest mountains of all continents (the variant with Mount Kosciusko, the highest mountain of Australia).

Stitzinger: “Most demanding and dangerous 8000er to ski down”

Luis Stitzinger’s ski route in 2011

So far, all attempts to ski down from the 8611-meter-high summit of K 2 to the Base Camp have failed. Karnicar had already returned empty-handed from the second highest mountain on earth in 1993, when a storm had blown away his skis at an altitude of almost 8,000 meters. “K 2 is certainly the most demanding and also most dangerous eight-thousander that you can ski down,” Luis Stitzinger tells me. In 2011, the 48-year-old German mountaineer had skied down from 8,050 meters to the Base Camp. “On K2, you have to be a very good extreme skier, and you always have to give it your all because there is not a flat meter.” Another danger is caused by the increasing temperatures in the Karakoram as a result of climate change. “There you set off high up on the mountain on rock-hard snow and reach the lower parts on snow as soft as butter. Particularly in the lower area there is also a threat of wet avalanches thundering down through the couloirs.” In order to reduce the dangers, it would be advisable to spread the ski descent over two days, says Luis. “But the purists would not except this as a ski run in one go.”

Bargiel also plans to ski down K 2

This summer season also the Pole Andrzej Bargiel wants to ski down K 2. The 29-year-old has succeeded already three ski descents from eight-thousanders: Shishapangma (in 2013), Manaslu (in 2015) and Broad Peak (in 2015). “I believe there is also a line on K 2 which is possible to ski down from the summit to the valley,” says Luis Stitzinger. “But everything has to fit perfectly: good weather and snow conditions, ability and stamina of the skier.”


7. July 2017 | 16:33