Magdalena Gorzkowska on Winter K2

K2 Winter 8000ers
Magdalena Gorzkowska
Magdalena Gorzkowska on Skype today with Explorersweb.

Magdalena Gorzkowska, one of the survivors of winter K2, grapples with her experience in this exclusive interview with ExplorersWeb.

Magdalena Gorzkowska is back at home in Poland from K2, physically recovered but dealing with the aftermath in other ways. ExplorersWeb spoke to her about her experience and cleared up some of the controversial statements that she recently made to Polish media.

Specifically, Gorzkowska had said that a Sherpa told her that the Nepalis had orders to cut the ropes if someone else followed them. “It is true that the Sherpas said that, but I took it as a silly joke — we were joking all the time in Base Camp,” she said. “Likewise, I didn’t think anyone would take it literally when mentioned that in the interview.”

“To begin with, no one actually followed the Nepalis on their summit push. But most of all, I spoke to Mingma David after their summit and he confirmed that they not only left all the ropes but also put in some new ones for us. I trust that they were thinking of those of us who might attempt the summit later on. The Nepalis were all professionals.”

Magdalena Gorzkowska during one of many slow days in BC waiting out high winds. Photo: Oswaldo Rodrigo Pereira

As she processes her Pakistan experience, Gorzkowska admits that K2 has changed her attitude towards mountaineering.

“Before the expedition, I was so eager to get to K2. I was seriously aiming for the summit. This was not about experiencing winter, it was about trying to reach the top.

“I had been on three 8,000’ers previously and always succeeded, so I was very self-confident — I still believe I could have done it. At the same time, I prepared as well as I could, running and climbing, and exercising. I did cold-water bathing in order to improve my thermo-regulation, and also talked to many winter Himalayan climbers for details that might help. For instance, I made sure I brought backups of every piece of gear and I had my outer clothes (gloves, boots, down suit) prepared with electrical warmers. I was thoroughly prepared for the cold.

“And in fact, the low temperatures were not the biggest problem. What I was not prepared for was for the brutality of K2 in winter, where a small mistake can kill you at any moment, and the tragedy of losing five people. No one can prepare for something like that. And now I am dealing with the psychological scars.

Gorzkowska was fine with the cold

Cold was not the problem for Gorzkowska. Photo: Oswaldo Rodrigo Pereira

“I will keep climbing…[but] now I am much more safety-conscious. Safety will come first and I will not only think about the summit. I will not rush. I had considered adding up 8,000m summits as fast as possible, linking several expeditions, but not anymore. I have pulled the brake and stopped.

“And yes, I will return to K2. But in summer. The mountain is magnificent and I have been told the conditions in summer are very different. As for winter, I’ve had enough.”

On the way to Advanced Base Camp

On the way to Advanced Base Camp. Photo: Oswaldo Rodrigo Pereira

About the events at Camp 3, says Gorzkowska, “there was a lot of misunderstanding about the tents. About 20 people left for Camp 3 and they all needed to rest, hydrate, change clothes. But with seven people in a tent, that was impossible.

“Also, those who went for the summit started too late. Previously, we had agreed that those wanting to leave for the summit from C3 should start at 6 or 8 pm because conditions were tough and the window was narrow. But people reached C3 very late, and so those heading for the summit left late as well — too late to return in safe weather conditions.

“On this and any other mountain, it is essential to check what’s going on, make time calculations for a safe return, and listen to yourself. I know this is difficult when you are so close to the summit, but you have to tell yourself the truth as I did in Camp 1: ‘Sorry Magda, you are too weak for K2, you must go back.’ And so I did.”

Health issues (and the pressure) turned the climb to Camp 1 into a nightmare for Magdalena Gorzkowska. She decided to end her summit bid there. Photo: Oswaldo Rodrigo Pereira

“As for the three climbers who went missing, as I see it, there were many signs not to go up: the timing, the worsening weather coming the following day, the dead batteries on Snorri’s radio (as explained by those who returned from C3) and that crevasse above Camp 3 that we do not know how or where they crossed. Not to mention all the accidents that might have happened.”

+5

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Joanna
Joanna
3 months ago

So “a silly joke” as I thought. Magda is totally not careful with words… Thank you Angela for asking her to explain this.

+7
barbara
barbara
3 months ago
Reply to  Joanna

magda gorzkowska’s selfmisconceptional attention seeking attitude is showing obviously in her (cliché) words & selfie picture.

+7
guwinster
guwinster
3 months ago
Reply to  Joanna

I have my doubts about this young lady, but she seems honest, credible and self-aware in this interview. At the very least she is attempting to cater to the audience on explorersweb (relatively serious “explorers”).

As for walking back her rope cutting comments, I wonder if someone reminded her that she would need Sherpas to help her if she ever returns to the Himalayas 😉

+10
Mountain soul
Mountain soul
3 months ago
Reply to  guwinster

Exactly, sounds like she changed her statement as she needs sherpas help to climb remaining peak. What a shame as truth cant come out:(

+2
Pole
Pole
3 months ago
Reply to  Joanna

She was 100% serious about cutting ropes during polish interview. She also said in the same segment of interview that everything was “engineered” by Sherpas and they lied to other mountaineers… Girl is a famewhore and thought that nobody translate her interview.

+5
Dr MCS
Dr MCS
3 months ago
Reply to  Pole

How will they return if they cut Ropes ?? Ropes are needed more when returning when they would be totally exhausted

+1
Pole
Pole
3 months ago
Reply to  Dr MCS

One of her earlier claims was that somebody poisoned her to not be able to continue her summit push…

0
Tara
Tara
3 months ago

The issue of cut or removed ropes was obvious nonsense for everyone with some climbing experience, I believe. How would they return if they cut ropes on the way up or how would they possibly cut the ropes once they were already below their anchors? Theoretically they could cut the old ropes and remove their own on the way down but only if they’d used double ropes. And who would carry double load of ropes on winter K2 just to prevent the following climbers using them? And, believe me, no one, not even the best ones, have the energy left… Read more »

Phipu
Phipu
3 months ago
Reply to  Tara

“I just wonder what’s wrong with people spreading this kind of ideas?”
Welcome to the 21 century! It’s the century of the armchair experts in the internet. People publish opinion like facts and think they have knowledge when they don’t.
Also it’s the century of misinformation and propaganda campaigns. See the whole covid deniers, conspiracy theories on covid and climate change, the Trump/MAGA cult, Fox News and much much more.

+7
chris
chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Phipu

 “People publish opinion like facts and think they have knowledge when they don’t.”

Climate change is a theory not a fact… But lets ride that high horse

+2
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
3 months ago
Reply to  chris

The facts that the arctic is passable by ships in February, and that glaciers and the Antarctic ice cap is melting, and that the ocean temperatures are rising are, in fact, facts. The only “theory” is why, but most scientists (something like 99%) with the credentials to assess the “theory” of climate change believe it is correct, and that increased levels of CO2 are the driver. We only have “theories” about what causes cancer (and many other maladies), and “theories” about what treatments are effective, but that doesn’t stop people who are sick from getting treatment based on those theories.… Read more »

chris
chris
3 months ago
Reply to  MuddyBoots

The climate is always changing. Its nothing more than a fact of nature.
The only difference now is people are profiting off of the “climate change”
If you want to follow the likes of Kerry and his private jet than thats fine but dont act high and might with your flawed opinions
As for why here- ask Phipu..
I just pointed out reality. Which you took offense to. telling

+5
Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  chris

A lot more people are profiting from denying it. We need to move away from fossil fuels anyway. They pollute, and we’re going to run out at some point. We need to develop renewable far more.

+2
chris
chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Lenore Jones

Based on the “snori” of the name I will choose to not reply anymore on this subject. I hate to think of actual family replying to such debate during such times. If so- I apologize with all my heart

+1
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
3 months ago
Reply to  Lenore Jones

Exactly. Well said.

+1
Robbi
Robbi
3 months ago
Reply to  chris

Uhh, you might want to check your comment there. Climate change is an indisputable fact, backed up by tons of empirical evidence.

The reasons for that change can be disputed, but the change itself irrefutable.

+1
Ande
3 months ago

Another excellent piece, Angela.

+1
Walid Hamadeh
Walid Hamadeh
3 months ago

No one said it better than Simone Moro that have retreated for the 3rd time from summiting Manaslu in winter;“My limits and abilities are highly inferior to those of the Mountain I have encountered in these three winters.Acceptance of this has allowed me so far to survive my dreams and let my head prevail over my heart.” What a powerful statement to admit your weakness. It takes courage and humility.

+11
Bill Bones
3 months ago

Im glad she had the sense to give up before reaching C1 instinct tells me she’s not got the minerals for K2 regardless if its Winter or Summer, she may of climbed a couple of 8000ers but K2 is altogether a completely different Beast

+7
Maddi
Maddi
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Bones

No doubt she is really a wise lady if you don’t take Mighty King K2 seriously, it’ll kill you straight. Once a Russian climber said summiting k2 once is more difficult then wining 10 gold medals in Olympics.

+2
Last edited 3 months ago by Maddi
Climb From Home Mountaineer
Climb From Home Mountaineer
3 months ago

As always, I enjoy Angela’s work but I wonder why a clown like Madga is being given publication time/space on ExWeb? She reeks of narcissism – just look at her social media profile; it was all about advertising herself. She was never going to make it anywhere high up on the mountain. I never took Madga seriously.

+10
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
3 months ago

Angela, thank you for this careful and insightful interview of a person who was actually on the mountain and who can provide at least some new info about events there. Climb from Home, that is why Angela interviewed Magda, for specific info that has been missing from this discussion. Hopefully additional interviews, with more of the people on K2, will help that understanding. One doesn’t have to be a good climber to have information, and there are plenty of narcissists and self-promoters in the climbing and adventure community. Unfortunately that’s how these athletes get sponsorship and financing. Magda is hardly… Read more »

Trish
Trish
3 months ago

She’s a young girl. She’s following her dreams. If her pics on social media bother you then don’t look at them. FYI: her social media pics and followers can possibly help her with sponsors for her dreams. My granny always said if you can’t say something nice then keep silent.

+6
Last edited 3 months ago by Trish
CFH Mountaineer
CFH Mountaineer
3 months ago
Reply to  Trish

Good thing your granny is not my granny. Stop preaching.

+4
barbara
barbara
3 months ago

on point.

+2
Walter
Walter
3 months ago

No me sorprendería que cortaran las cuerdas , se imaginan que llegarán a la cumbre deportistas escaladores sin oxígeno como JP , y ellos todos profesionales que viven de sr guías , es mala publicidad , los hubiera opacado

0
Laura
3 months ago
Reply to  Walter

Ese comentario resentido está fuera de lugar. No asumas lo que no sabes. Que pena me da la gente que no se alegra del bien ajeno en un mundo lleno de malevolencia y envidia, Cuando se nos ha dado un mundo de tanta belleza. Lo que pasa es que nunca vemos suficiente. Eso es.

0
Blabla
Blabla
3 months ago

She also said she suspects somebody poisoned her food. You should have asked her about that too. Seems like there was a whole conspiracy to prevent her from reaching the summit, but that might have been out of context or a joke, as well. I hope her sponsors are happy with the drama.

+3
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
3 months ago
Reply to  Blabla

Blabla: Oh stop. Angela didn’t ask her about this because she never said she was “poisoned”, she was referring to food poisoning and gastrointestinal problems. Bad translation, or colloquial Polish that we don’t understand. In fact in that same interview she talked about “poison” on other expeditions, but not as bad. Go back and read it again if you don’t believe me. Look, I don’t care about Magda one way or the other, and I agree that commercial expeditions allow unqualified people to attempt mountains that are way above their skill level. Too much of that going on, but hey,… Read more »

Blabla
Blabla
3 months ago
Reply to  MuddyBoots

Dude, the interview literally read that she suspects somebody might have poisoned her food. Go back and read it if you don’t believe me.

+1
Blabla
Blabla
3 months ago
Reply to  MuddyBoots

Here is a question to her in an intrerview for polish media Onet: “Magda, after a failed peak attack, you posted a large, emotional post on Instagram in which you described your problems. You’ve also given some interviews. There was a lot of echo when you suggested that your stomach problems during your peak attack may not have been coincidental. People took it as if you were allowing the thought that someone had poisoned you. I will ask a bit more – in the winter under K2 you could notice some unhealthy competition?” Then she explains she never said that,… Read more »

MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
3 months ago
Reply to  Blabla

I think we are talking about different interviews, and I had to rely on google’s translation. Now that Polish-speakers have provided texts and translation, I stand corrected. But Magda is just a one example of a bigger problem: Commercial expeditions have every incentive to take money from anyone who claims they are capable, and so many are not. It’s obviously a problem for the unqualified, but the sadder problem is that these unqualified people endanger others who are capable of climbing. Especially when their operators allow them to climb without providing the promised support for them (witness the chaos at… Read more »

barbara
barbara
3 months ago
Reply to  MuddyBoots

a agree with your points of view. but if we agree that we are autonomous despite all determination, that we have a little space for making free decisions a n d that there is since jon krakauers into thin air a 25 year long ongoing discussion about the problems you metionend – now in new clothes but the same questions (remember everest season 2019 or k2 2008)- then it is not understandable to have any empathy for mediasportartists like magdalena gorzkowska. you, me & everyone can understand it ’cause it’s a huge current problem (and an old one), but excusing… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by barbara
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
3 months ago
Reply to  barbara

Thank you, I agree with you. Not excusing Magda, just worried that the system problems are creating more people like this. And it endangers more than the naive and self-promoting individuals who think they can be supported and guided in extreme environments. It endangers even responsible, skilled climbers on the same mountain.

+1
Grzegorz
Grzegorz
3 months ago
Reply to  Blabla

Magda said exacty this: “Kiedyś w historii były przypadki, że dosypywano innym osobom coś do jedzenia, by ich się pozbyć”. It means: “Sometimes in the history, there were cases where something was added on other people’s food to get rid of them”

0
barbara
barbara
3 months ago
Reply to  Grzegorz

narcissism and (micro)paranoia often go hand in hand. and magda gorszowska seems to be more determinated by her social media & sponsoring-caused performance than it would be good for a long lasting mountaineering carrier. one only can hope that her experiences will change her somewhat coreless and empty attitude. otherwise will she represent nothing but one deadend of free, professional and soulful climbing.

+2
Stephen Frank
Stephen Frank
3 months ago

What’s 3 8ks did she complete besides everest? K2 seems like a reach to go for that quickly. Obviously she a professional athlete but I’d want a hell of a lot more xp.

+5
Dustin Carter
Dustin Carter
3 months ago

Wow!!! A “survivor”??!! Who didn’t make camp 1??? And has a story to tell??? Please go on. Indulge us in your self pity. Act like you’ve been on a mountain before. Or have you just paid your way to the top of them all?

+4
barbara
barbara
3 months ago
Reply to  Dustin Carter

on point.

+2
Mountain
Mountain
3 months ago

First of all, Magdalena Gorzkowska need to understand that mostly Asian people including Nepali doesn’t joke about father , mother, sister and serious jokes like cutting ropes. I do not believe that Sherpa has mentioned about cutting ropes. Mostly Asian people doesn’t joke on serious stuff specially if it is regarding life or death or nasty joke about parents etc. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean speaking whatever he/she likes, it means speaking with fact and truth. Also, 2 people has lost their lives and 3 are still missing/dead. People should speak with fact, because of fake news circling around internet… Read more »

Tenzin
Tenzin
3 months ago

Gorzkowska should mention the name of the sherpa who made such a terrible joke where life and death is at concern… there will possibly be a rift among sherpas otherwise. Many who are criticizing Gorzkowska of her insta posts and stuff, i feel it is none of our business. She has all the rights to choose her lifestyle and ways.

+3
Mountain
Mountain
3 months ago
Reply to  Tenzin

It’s her right to post whatever pictures she likes to post on her Insta. We can totally understand that, but her comment about Sherpa saying cutting ropes cannot be believed. Either she should named who said it and it should be verified. Her comment and interview on her channel is totally disgusting. But yes, she is a young lady with a lots of talent but childish comments like her can jeopardise her mountain career. She should not speaks out of jealousy. Mountain community is a small community and they should be very careful on what they are saying and always… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Mountain
Tenzin
Tenzin
3 months ago
Reply to  Mountain

I agree

0
Stephen Frank
Stephen Frank
3 months ago
Reply to  Tenzin

If she was over her head and it just doing it to get headline it wouldn’t be the first time. In the end she didn’t get short roped to camp 1. No harm no fould

+1
Joanna
Joanna
3 months ago
Reply to  Tenzin

As I thought (it was quite easy to assume from her whole talking of “following Nims “) – not a Sherpa. https://sport.onet.pl/alpinizm/k2-mingma-g-ostro-o-slowach-magdaleny-gorzkowskiej-obraza-narodu/cn8mjj6

0
Uttam
Uttam
3 months ago

A nice interview, really. Any climber who trains by bathing in cold-water to improve thermo-regulation as Magda does and for whom low temperatures are not much of an issue is a pretty serious climber, in my book. Also she admitted her weakness on K2 winter (which takes courage and humility) as her reason for abandoning it to fight another day – it was a sound decision overall. She is young, she has time on her side, she already has three 8000’ers to her name, she can bag the rest, including K2, by and by. Nothing about her screams “narcissist” to… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Uttam
Tenzin
Tenzin
3 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

A sherpa or sherpas? Either way she should mention his/their name(s). I don’t think sherpa would do that. Until she makes it clear, i will not believe her.

0
Last edited 3 months ago by Tenzin
Uttam
Uttam
3 months ago
Reply to  Tenzin

Do read the second paragraph of the above article, and decide for yourself whether Magdalena meant a sherpa or sherpas. I see written there: [clip] Speficically Gorzkowska had said that a Sherpa told her that … [clip] and also [clip] “It is true that the Sherpas said that ….” [clip].

I give Magdalena the benefit of a doubt. Whether she publicly discloses his/their name(s) or not – that’s her right. If you don’t believe her or want to force her hand, that’s yours.

Who are you – Tenzin Sherpa? That explains a lot!

+3
Last edited 3 months ago by Uttam
Tenzin
Tenzin
3 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

Why are you flaring up? I am Nepali but not sherpa. I am Tamang. It’s up to her. But i will not believe 100%

+2
Max
Max
3 months ago

So cutting the rope story came from this lady,… I dont know anything about mountaineering but i found it so hard to believeand kept thinking how is it possible for professional climbers to do such a thing ? However mohammad ali sadpara is declared dead by his family i dont know about other two’s family response but i wish everything good for them

0
Don Paul
Don Paul
3 months ago

http://alpinistiemontagne.gazzetta.it/2021/02/23/le-corde-tagliate-e-magdalena/ The Cut Rope and Magdalena – right clicking on the Italian text in chrome should allow you to translate it. The article reports on this one, and after correcting her reckless comment, concludes by observing how reckless the climbers were in general: “But above all everyone (except Juan Pablo Mohr, the only one who at least had already slept at c3) did not have sufficient acclimatization, … And yet everyone had wanted to go up to c3 for the night, despite the fact that the first arrivals had warned of the shortage of tents and invited the slowest to return to… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Don Paul
Uttam
Uttam
3 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Thanks Don for sharing the link! Praise be to Magdalena for her insightful, revealing, and bold statements that appear in that must-read article! The article goes a long way in shedding or helping shed light on the drama that unfolded at Camp 3, including its implications & ramifications, among other things!

+3
Last edited 3 months ago by Uttam
Imtiaz
Imtiaz
3 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

Here comes another arm chair piece of Indian shit, who are banned from climbing in Nepal and always fudging things including summitting Everest ! Can we block this rat ?

+2
Don Paul
Don Paul
3 months ago

https://www.latercera.com/el-deportivo/noticia/el-desolador-relato-del-caos-que-da-pistas-de-la-tragedia-que-atrapo-a-mohr/MXLEDRN7CZCYFN3PJQUGVSB4UE/

Interview with Colin O’Brady about the chaos at Camp 3, right click on the text to translate.

0
Grzegorz
Grzegorz
3 months ago

After reading Angela’s article and your comments, I would like to briefly present some statements from the Polish Internet made by Magda or about her. The mountain community is small, so people speak out cautiously, but here’s what experienced Polish climber, Marcin Miotk, said after hearing Magda’s plans, before she left for her expedition: „Jeśli czytam w wywiadzie Magdy przed wyprawą, że na dotychczasowych wyprawach nie miała okazji wspinać się z czekanem, ma nadzieję, że na K2 nie będzie seraków (o seraku nad Bottleneck nie słyszała?) lub że z topografii K2 jest słaba, bo liczy na liny poręczowe – to… Read more »

Don Paul
Don Paul
3 months ago
Reply to  Grzegorz

The Seven Summits clients seem to have backgrounds as marathon runners, not climbers. They climb up fixed ropes on a dozen huge peaks and have never used an axe, placed a screw, etc. They all expected to have tents and oxygen delivered, basically for someone else to plan everyhing and all they do is jumar up fixed ropes. I think this is pretty normal in this community, but not on serious mountains like K2.

+3
barbara
barbara
3 months ago
Reply to  Grzegorz

i confirm this translations from polish and english. a polish native speaker and friend of mine translated it in the same sense. no irony. pure suspection and obviously an unstable, media attention seeking and somehow opportunistic character. sailing with the wind… tends to be a clownery.

+3
Tenzin
Tenzin
3 months ago
Reply to  Grzegorz

Then why magda is contradicting herself now? Did she think her interview in polish will not reach non-polish speakers? Did she think she can make things up and make it sound dramatic to get attention? Why would she do that?

0
Grzegorz
Grzegorz
3 months ago
Reply to  Tenzin

This is a good question. The statements I am quoting were made in these interviews:

https://sport.onet.pl/alpinizm/k2-gorzkowska-juz-bezpieczna-gora-nie-jest-warta-by-na-niej-zostac/m04h2l6

https://www.polsatsport.pl/wiadomosc/2021-02-16/gorzkowska-smierc-hiszpana-na-k2-mocno-nami-wstrzasnela-mialam-ten-wypadek-w-glowie/

Magda likes to shine in social media and the media in general. Despite having climbed 3 eight-thousanders, she cannot be counted as an independent Himalayan climber, but rather a mountain tourist.
Some people think that Magda didn’t necessarily plan to climb K2, but only to gain publicity there. Maybe this is the reason for her careless, but media and sensation-oriented way of expressing herself

0
Last edited 3 months ago by Grzegorz
Don Paul
Don Paul
3 months ago

https://www.montagnes-magazine.com/actus-hivernale-k2-voila-est-fini The Slovenian Tomaz Rotar, doctor of the expedition, announced that he had climbed around 7800 meters before coming up against a large crevasse that he did not see how to cross; he then decided to turn around. He does not know how others have gone but in any event, it states that the GPS tracker John Snorri before shutting down for lack of battery, had actually issued a position more or less motionless for an hour ( at night and at almost 8,000 m!), roughly at the same altitude as the crevasse that the group would therefore have taken a long time to cross. The article has a graphic map… Read more »

Tenzin
Tenzin
3 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Nepali team had to take alternate way to avoid crevasse that was below C4. Small Crevasse at the bottleneck was passable without detouring when Nepali team summited k2… this is confirmed by sajid who said ropes were there but crevasse before bottleneck had become bigger making it difficult to cross… however according to him they crossed somehow.

+1
Josephine Johnson
Josephine Johnson
3 months ago

Just got through reading a post on Nims Purja’s instagram page referencing the right way to win and lose on a mountain. He didn’t mention climbers names but he did state that there had been a lot of bad press and negative stories recently about what went on. “It’s not only disappointing but it saddens me a lot that some people would seek to blame others for their own failure. The press and medias are just as much of a disappointment for promoting untrue stories and for not going to the right sources.” A follower from Poland assumed he was… Read more »

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