A Polish man is the first to climb to the summit of K2 and then ski down to its base.
K2 is the second highest mountain in the world, reaching a height of 28.251 feet above sea level. Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, reaches a few hundred feet higher to nab top prize at 29,029 feet.
However, K2 is often considered one of the deadliest mountains on Earth. Nicknamed “The Savage Mountain”, of the 300-odd climbers who have attempted its ascent, 77 have died. Skiing from its summit is considered especially dangerous due to the steep initial descent, sharp, craggy surface, and snow which can hide deep crevices.
However, Polish mountaineer and extreme skier Andrzej Bargiel has finally defeated K2 by climbing to its top and then skiing all the way down.
Bargiel began his ascent on Thursday afternoon, stopping to make camp several times on his way to the top. He reached the summit at 11:30 AM on Sunday before donning his skis and then sliding down its snow-covered slopes to the bottom, again stopping several times due to weather and to rest.
He reached the bottom of K2 at 7:30 PM on Sunday, just before the sun was due to set.
“I feel huge happiness and, to be honest, it was my second attempt, so I’m glad that I won’t be coming here again,” Bagriel said after his successful attempt. His first attempt was back in July of 2017, however, warm weather and dangerous conditions prevented him from climbing to the top.
Although the first to successfully ski from the top of K2, Bagriel is not the first to try. In 2001, Italian mountaineer Hans Kammerlander had to break off his attempt after his Korean guide died during the ascent. Another Italian, Michele Fait, reached the summit of K2 in 2009 but died while skiing down.
Swedish mountaineer and extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson was with Fait during his ill-fated 2009 journey, and attempted to ski down himself in 2010, but died on his climb to the top. American Dave Watson nearly got to the top of K2, reaching an altitude of 27,395 feet, before calling it quits and skiing down from there.