This year’s most experienced mountaineering team, the Polish Broad Peak Winter Expedition for this year, have now retreated but insist that they have not abandoned the mission as yet.
Led by the winter specialist Krzysztof Wielicki, the team has been gaining altitude for the past several days, making deposits and establishing camps along the way to the peak. The team announced their final summit push on February 15th and started their attack on February 18th at 5 am in the morning.
The Polish Website announced the retreat and said, “Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski have left the assault camp at 7,400 m today at 5:00 AM. At 10:00 AM due to increasing wind they decided to terminate the attack and retreat. There is a cloud - altocumulus lenticularis - over the summit that forecasts a change in weather conditions. Visibility has decreased. Maciej and Tomasz have not reached the crack at 7,820 m. At the moment two assault teams (Adam/Artur and Maciej/Tomasz) are returning to the base camp”.
There were early reports about the exact location of Karim Hayyat, one of the High
Altitude Pakistani porters who have been part of the expedition. The Polish team however, is hoping that Karim is in the Base Camp and is not ready to declare a panic for the moment.
"Probably Karim is with them, simply there's no news about him from BC, but no alarm." says Jan Komorowski.
Earlier, the team had been facing numerous gruesome challenges to reach high altitude camps and make the necessary deposits. Adam Bielecki (last year’s G-1 summiteers) and Artur Małek failed to make it through the crack at 7,820m and returned to C-3.
Polish team is one of the most experienced team visiting the rugged Karakorum this year, among several expeditions to the Nanga Parbat, the Laila Peak and the Broad Peak, many of which have already given up in face of the deadly wind and freezing temperatures. Poles are eager to bag the second consecutive first winter ascent of the remaining three 8000ers which have never been climbed before. All three of them are in Pakistan.
The Polish attempt is likely to continue in a week’s time, when they are hoping to get another weather window.