They may have won the battle but the war is still The Polish team is back in the Base Camp after a failed attempt on the Gasherbrum-1 (Hidden Peak) on February 27th.
Artur, Adam, Janusz and Shaheen left the Base Camp on February 25, after receiving encouraging reports from Karl Gable in Austria and although the winds were anticipated to be higher than within the comfort zone for the climbers, they hoped to make a final summit push in case there is a wind drop on the night of 28- something which never happened. Agna remained in the Base Camp, monitoring and coordinating with the climbers in Camp-1 6400m.
The team managed to reach the already fixed ropes at Japanese Couloir but were denied further ascent as the wind speeds soared to an unexpected 100km/h. Temperatures dropped to a range of -35 Celsius and the sheering winds increased the chances of severe frostbite even under the thick protection of astronaut suits.
Agna reported from Base Camp, “We set off from the base camp on 25th February, because there was a chance to attack the summit on 28th February. Upon leaving, we were aware that on 26th and 27th February the wind speed could reach even 100 km/h at 6,000 m and 7,000 m. We assumed that perhaps the wind would not be so strong and we could somehow reach camp 3. Unfortunately, we failed to do so. We turned back upon reaching the Japanese Couloir, i.e. 6,650 m above sea level, at night on 27th February; we returned to the base camp exhausted and fatigued”.
Wounded and stricken, the team has not lost hope and will make another summit push after March 4 as another storm is brewing in the deadly Karakorum. There were incidents of Crevasse falls and several hundred metre slips in the quintessential ascent but all team members have reached the BC safely.
“As the proverb goes, an old fox is not easily snared.” said Agna. “Well, it seems that we are not that old yet as we have made a clear false start, we are preparing for another storm, forecasted to hit us around the 4th of March. Then, when the next weather window opens, they will try again”.
The Polish team along with the International team led by Gerfried Goschl, are left with little time to make a final attempt for the G-1 first winter ascent as the designated time for a winter climb in the region is already running out. Both teams will now be pitched in second and probably final attempt to scale the 8000er in the dead of winters.