Ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel waits for Everest summit chance

Sunrise on Mount Everest
Sunrise on Mount Everest (in fall 2019)

He’s ready. “We spent a few days in Camp 2, as another part of the acclimatization. I was able to reach almost 8000 m, and then ski down to Camp 3 (at around 7300 meters) where we spent the night with Janusz (Golab),” writes the Pole Andrzej Bargiel on Instagram. In the base camp at the foot of Mount Everest, the 34-year-old is now gathering strength: “Now waiting for weather window, and (then) straight to the top!”

Goal: ascent without breathing mask, complete ski descent

As reported, Andrzej Bargiel wants to reach the highest point in the world at 8,849 meters without bottled oxygen and then ski down to base camp in one go. A complete Everest ski descent had previously been achieved only by Davo Karnicar in fall 2000. The Slovenian – who died in a forestry accident in his homeland in 2019 – had used supplemental oxygen during the ascent above Everest South Col at nearly 8,000 meters.

In summer 2018, Bargiel had succeeded in the first complete ski descent of K2, the second highest mountain on earth. He had also climbed with bottled oxygen during this project. The experienced Janusz Golab – in 2012 he succeeded in the first winter ascent of the eight-thousander Gasherbrum I in Pakistan – had already been part of Bargiel’s team back then.

Loneliness here, hype there

Bargiel and his Polish companions – supported by Sherpas from the operator Pioneer Adventure – are the only team attempting Mount Everest this fall. By comparison, for the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal, the Ministry of Tourism has issued 404 permits to foreign climbers this fall season (as of 23 September). A total of around 1,000 people are bustling in the base camp at the foot of the eighth-highest mountain.

Update 29 September: Bargiel started his summit attempt yesterday (Wednesday) and climbed up to Camp 2. The goal of the second day is Camp 4 on the South Col. Andrzej is accompanied by Janusz Golab and two Sherpas.

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