Will there be a winter summit of Everest and finally on K2 this winter? This is always a question as we approach winter. And teams usually keep their plans quiet. The recent suspects include Alex Txikon on Everest and the Poles on K2.
To claim a true winter ascent of a northern hemisphere peak, the summit must be reached during the calendar winter of the northern hemisphere. For 2017/18 this begins with the winter solstice on December 21, 2017 at 11:28 am EST and ends with the spring equinox on March 201, 2018 at 12:15 pm EDT.
Also to be fully certified as a winter ascent, not only the summit has to be reached within the winter calendar, but the start of the expedition cannot be before winter solstice either. Practically this means that the Base Camp must be reached after the winter solstice.
8000ers in Winter
As this table shows, Polish climbers have dominated first winter ascents of the 8000 meter peaks.
|Peak||First Winter ascent||First Winter summiter(s)|
|Everest||17 Feb 1980||Krzysztof Wielicki
|Manaslu||12 Jan 1984||Maciej Berbeka
|Dhaulagiri I||21 Jan 1985||Andrzej Czok
|Cho Oyu||12 Feb 1985||Maciej Berbeka
|Kangchenjunga||11 Jan 1986||Krzysztof Wielicki
|Annapurna I||3 Feb 1987||Jerzy Kukuczka
|Lhotse||31 Dec 1988||Krzysztof Wielicki|
|Shishapangma||14 Jan 2005||Piotr Morawski
|Makalu||9 Feb 2009||Simone Moro
|Gasherbrum II||2 Feb 2011||Simone Moro
|Gasherbrum I||9 Mar 2012||Adam Bielecki
|Broad Peak||5 Mar 2013||Maciej Berbeka
|Nanga Parbat||26 Feb 2016||Simone Moro
Muhammad Ali Sadpara
Everest for Alex?
Alex posted on after his amazing effort last year saying he will be back for another winter Everest attempt. He declined to join another team this winter citing his Everest desire but, to my knowledge, has made no public commitment about this year.
This isn’t a goodbye, it’s a “see you later”. Everest hasn’t wanted this year to conquire its heart, but what I do appreciate clearly is that it has stolen my heart. I dream, every day, since we left our home on December 25 that we reach the 8848 meters that separate us from the sky, but greed is useless in the mountain. You never have to go against nature; this is something that has been engraved during my entire career in which I have lived very difficult moments: if you don’t want the mountain defeating you, don’t end with it; respect and care of it.
Therefore, although I feel very strong physically and psychologically, the winter hasn’t given a truce, the strong wind tossed us to the ground and the forecast of the next few days is terrifying. However, there is no doubt that it has been the most special expedition of my life, in which I have been surprised by myself, and in which we have achieved the world of mountaineering to have a continous follow up that excites me. In addition, without a doubt, all of you are the icing on the cake, that I have felt you every minute as if you were my family, supporting me in every achievement and every complicated moment. I promise you that I will return to the mountain that has stolen my heart in the purest way. I love you, guys.
K2 This Winter?
Of course, K2 remains the only 8000er not summited in winter. Last year, Nanga Parbat succumbed to the team of Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Simone Moro, and Tamara Lunger. It took 31 winter attempts before summiting Nanga in winter.
Now on K2, Krzysztof Wielicki, 67, who was in the first team to scale Everest in winter in 1980 will lead the Polish K2 attempt this winter.
Funding had been a problem but it appears they have received $275,000 from the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism according to this article.
They will be a team of 10 but only four will be on the “summit team.” They will climb in traditional siege style establishing several camps along the route. Of course weather is the primary concern as K2 is always hit with high winds but in winter the jet stream tends to sit on top of it with 200 mph winds and experience heavy snowfall.
The team is scheduled to include: Janusz Goląb, 50, with a Gasherbum I ascent, Artur Małek, who made the first winter ascent of Broad Peak, Marcin Kaczkan, K2 in the winter of 2002/03 to 7,600m and summited K2 and Nanga Parbat in the summer, plus Marek Chmielarski, summits of Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak.
Other team members include Rafał Fronia (Lhotse and Gasherbrum II), Piotr Tomala (Broad Peak and Cho Oyu), Dariusz Załuski (filmmaker / climbed five 8,000-metre peaks) and doctor Krzysztof Wranicz.
They are not sure which route they will take but it most likely will be either the Abruzzi or the Česen.
- 1980 Reconnaissance: Pol Andrzej Zawada and Canadian-resident Polish national Jaques Olek
- 1987/88 Attempt: 13 Poles, 7 Canadians and 4 Brits / made to Camp 3
- 2002/03 Attempt: 14 climbers from Poland, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia / made Camp 4
- 2011/12 Attempt: 9 climbers from Russia / made Camp 2
- 2014/15 Near Attempt: Denis Urubko and team lost permit
Memories are Everything