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Unforgotten: Jerzy Kukuczka

Jerzy Kukuczka (1948 – 1989)

One of the all-time best high altitude climbers would have celebrated his 70th birthday this Saturday. But he missed this day of honor by more than 28 years: In fall 1989 Jerzy Kukuczka died at the age of 41 in an accident on Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on earth. The Pole had previously scaled as the second climber after Reinhold Messner all 14 eight-thousanders. At times it looked as if Kukuczka could even snatch away the crown from Messner, but then the South Tyrolean closed the eight-thousander match with his ascents of Makalu and Lhotse in fall 1986. Just one year later, in September 1987, when the rather publicity-shy Kukuzczka completed his collection, Messner honored him with the words: “You are not the second, you’re great.”


24. March 2018 | 12:57



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