Expedition manager Krzysztof Wielicki has stopped all climbing on K2 after Adam Bielecki and Rafal fronia sustain serious injuries in a row.
Rafal who has a broken arm was airlifted from K2 Base Camp today. Evacuation was delayed due to inclement weather. Conditions have been getting worse for the last one week as the deadly Jet stream started pounding the higher altitudes of the Savage Mountain causing widespread rock fall and heavy snow.
In the afternoon on 10th, Krzysztof Wielicki posted on the expedition website;
“Today, around 14 local time during approach to camp C1 (5900 M) spontaneously
A falling stone hit a Rafal fronię in the forearm causing a fracture. When he gets down to the base and medical supplies, he's waiting for a helicopter evacuation to the hospital in skardu
He will return to the country in the next few days.
Just a couple of days earlier, Adam was also hit with a huge rock which came flying from the top and hit his helmet. Adam suffered a broken nose and a lot of blood loss. He returned to Base Camp for stitches under supervision of the expedition doctor.
In another notification today, Wielicki informed that expedition will now follow the Abruzzi route to the top instead of the earlier adopted Cessen/Basque route which has become prone to rock fall and lashing winds.
“Due to the suspension of the mountain action on the Basque road for security reasons, on 11/’02/2018, we start the action on the way through the Abruzzów Rib.
Despite the fact that This year’s Polish expedition to K2 was well funded and equipped, they also had some of the best winter alpinists onboard, yet the progress on the Cessen route has been excruciatingly slow. In contrast, the Russian Expedition to K2 in 2011-12 was able to reach 7200m on the Cessen by February 7th.
In a month’s time, the expedition was not able to establish Camp-3 at 6700m. They are now in direct impact of the Jetstream which is slightly delayed this year. The expedition members were artificially acclimatized before reaching the K2 Base Camp which could have been utilized as an “unfair advantage”.
Switching over to the Abruzzi route after fixing ropes and making deposits on the Cessen Route for a month is more or less the end of the tunnel for this expedition.
Abruzzi, though slightly less inclined and relatively better shielded to raging winds, is considerably more prone to avalanches even in winters.
Given the fact that all successful winter ascents must be made before March 25, This Polish Expedition will now have to move fast if they have any chance of the first winter ascent of K2