Led by the legendary Krzysztof Wielicki, The Polish Ice warriors are returning with full might to tame the notorious K2 which has eluded no fewer than three winter attempts on it. Wielicki, who was not able to gather enough funding last year has now revealed that he is all set to attempt the last 8000er with his team of winter specialists.
Poles are known for their expertise as the winter specialists of 8000ers. They are known for their understanding of the Karakorum with two of the five winter 8000ers on their belt including G-1 and Broad Peak.
The expedition has been funded by the Ministry of Sports and Tourism Poland, pooling in a humble 1 million Polish Zlotys (300,000USD), credits of which lies with the experienced Wielicki. If successful, Poles will rightfully acclaim the title of “Ice Warriors”- a fight their pioneers started some 40 years ago. Wielicki is eager to grab the last coveted trophy, installing the last gemstone to the magnificent history of Polish Winter Himaliaism.
“We have to finish what we started” Wielicki had said last year referring to the pioneering Polish Winter specialists Jerzy Kukuczka, Andrzej Zawada, Leszek Chichi, Artur Hajzer and himself.
With the summit success at Nanga Parbat in February 2016, K2 now stands as the single most coveted trophy in Winter Alpinism and inarguably one of the toughest. With just three attempts on K2 compared to more than 30 attempts on Nanga, amply describes the magnitude of this challenge.
The Russian Expedition to K2 in 2012, also financed by the Russian Government was abandoned after the demise of a sturdy climber Vitali Gorelik. This expedition was considered as one of the best contenders for the first winter ascent of K2.
"If ever there had been a team that could pull K2 winter off, it was this Russian team of Giants," said the renowned Dutch climber Bob A. Schelfhout Aubertijn.
Gorelik caught pneumonia after making a deposit at 7000m in the middle of a Jet Stream and passed away at the base camp.
The current Polish Team is a star studded combination of some of the best known winter climbers in the world including Janusz Golab, Adam Bielecki, Denis Urubko, Artur Malek, Marcin Kaczkan, Marek Chmielarski, Rafal Fronia, Piotr Tomala, Filmmaker Dariusz Zaluski and Expedition doctor Krzysztof Wranicz.