Adam Bielecki Returns To Annapurna’s NW Face; Acclimatizes First in the Andes

Soon, we’ll see the commercial teams jumaring their way up the normal route on Annapurna — and three lonely climbers trying to open a route on the difficult Northwest Face, in pure alpine style.
Adam Bielecki and Felix Berg are back for a third attempt on the Face, this time with teammate Mariusz Hatala. The climbers won’t arrive in Base Camp until mid-April, because as usual, their acclimatization plans are expeditions in themselves.

Annapurna Northwest Face. Photo: Polski Himalaizm Sportowy

Yesterday marked the 11th anniversary of Bielecki’s first winter ascent of Gasherbrum I with Janusz Golab.

“Even though a lot had changed in my life since that time, I am still in love with big adventures,” Bielecki wrote yesterday on social media. The Polish climber used that milestone to announce his Annapurna NW Face expedition, just as he and Mariusz Hatala were leaving for the airport.

Bielecki on a recent training climb in Poland’s Tatras Mountains. Photo: Adam Bielecki/Instagram


First, to Chile

The pair were not flying to Nepal — not yet. Instead, they land in Chile today. Here, they will begin acclimatizing on Andean peaks. First, they take on the Ojos del Salado volcano. At 6,891m, it is the second-highest summit in the southern hemisphere, after Aconcagua.

“On March 28, they come back to Poland, and two days later, they fly to Nepal,” Bielecki’s manager Janusz Niedbal told ExplorersWeb. “There, they will meet Felix Berg and climb Himlung (7,126m) to strengthen their acclimatization. After that, all three will head to Annapurna’s Northwest Face.”

Since this will be a single-push, alpine-style climb, they must be completely acclimatized by the time they reach the base of the Face.

Third attempt

This is Bielecki and Berg’s third attempt on the route. They tried in 2017 and then in 2019. On both occasions, the acclimatization peaks were ambitious goals as well.
Climbers going up in steep, mixed terrain, with no ropes, clouds above them,

Adam Bielecki and Felix Berg during their first attempt on Annapurna’s Northwest Face in 2017. Photo: Polski Himalaizm Sportowy


In 2017, they climbed a new route on 7,134m Tilicho Peak, near Annapurna. After an unpleasant experience on a crowded K2 in 2012 (Bielecki nevertheless summited without oxygen), his climb of Tilicho Peak marked a turning point in his career, Bielecki told ExplorersWeb recently.

“We had to find a place to set Base Camp, watch the mountain for three days looking for the right line, decide where we would set the camps, and whether to fix ropes or not,” he explained. “I realized that the 8,000’ers that I have read about in books do not exist anymore, but these lesser peaks provided exactly the kind of adventure I was looking for.”

They then attempted Annapurna with Rick Allen. Allen perished on K2 two years ago.

In 2019, the hardships endured on Langtang Lirung left them with no time before the monsoon struck. They had to call the expedition off before even setting foot on Annapurna.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.