Pakistan 2014: Polish Team Summits K2

The final summit push of the climbing season on K2 is over, and the mountain will soon be abandoned until the winter. But this historic season continues on the “Mountaineer’s Mountain,” where good weather has allowed yet another group of climbers to reach the top, even as the sun sets on an incredibly successful summer in the Karakoram.

ExWeb has posted an update indicating that the Polish squad that launched their summit bid a few days back successfully topped out yesterday. The team of four left Base Camp on Sunday, when the second wave summiteers were heading to the top. And while those groups were descending back to BC, the Poles were getting themselves into position to make their final push.

Fortunately, the weather held, and two members of the team – Janusz Golab and Marcin Kaczkan – were successful in their efforts. Artur Malek and Pawel Michalski, the other two members of the team, turned back 150 meters (492 feet) below the summit.

The Poles have been on K2 for the entire season, using the summer months to scout the mountain and familiarize themselves with the landscape there. They plan to return in the winter to attempt the first successful ascent during that season. Of all 14 of the 8000-meter peaks, only K2 and Nanga Parbat remain unclimbed in the winter.

It should also be noted that Golab and Kaczkan topped out 60 years to the day after the first ascent of the mountain. It was on July 31, 1954 that Italian climbers Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni first summited K2, standing on top of the Savage Mountain at long last.

Bulgarian climber Boyan Petrov, fresh from his summit of Broad Peak a few weeks back, was also on a summit push at the same time as the Poles. There has been no word yet on whether or not he topped out as well. Curiously, ExWeb also mentions a “Simone” in their update, but doesn’t give a last name.

Typically, that would probably mean Simone Moro, the talented Italian climber with numerous 8000 meter peaks to his credit. But there hasn’t been any indication that Moro is in the Karakoram this spring, and a look at his Facebook page doesn’t mention a K2 expedition at the moment. In fact, his Twitter account has him in Norway. I guess we’ll have to wait to see which “Simone” ExWeb is referring to.

The Poles will be descending back to Base Camp today. Hopefully everyone will get back down the mountain safely and continue the great success that has been enjoyed on K2 this year. Remember, the descent is a harrowing one, particularly for exhausted climbers. Until they are back in BC, the danger hasn’t completely passed.

That’s all from the Karakoram today.

Kraig Becker