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It's official: The Polish Ice Warriors are back - 2006 WINTER Nanga Parbat attempt!

Posted: Sep 29, 2006 04:25 am EDT

(K2Climb.net) It's the one good fight that never ends - the quest for Mastery.

The eighties are long gone but a warrior's soul never dies: The tough bunch of climbers who wrote the coolest pages of mountaineering history 20 years back are still kicking - and more. In only a few months, they will take on any mountaineer's ultimate nightmare: A winter climb on a Pakistan 8000er.

The fifth Polish attempt to winter Nanga Parbat

Not even Messner could beat them: Polish climbers have all the first winter ascents on Himalayan 8000ers.

They did it between 1980 and 1988. 14 years later, in 2002, one of the pioneers - Krzysztof Wielicki - called out to the new generation. We have done the first half of the job, now it's your turn to finish it. But only one climber heard him - Jan Szulc - and he was not exactly a young gun. Nevertheless, Szulc was the leader of the expedition that put Piotr Morawski and Simone Moro on the summit of Shisha Pangma in January 2005.

Now, Krzysztof himself will lead the Fifth Polish expedition to winter Nanga Parbat. The team members add up not only many years of experience - but also an amazing number of 8000ers summited - including winter first ascents.

Meet the Nanga cowboys

Krzysztof Wielicki was the fifth climber to summit all 14 8000ers. Among his climbs; the first winter ascents of Everest, Lhotse and Kangchenjunga. Artur Hajzer, has 4, 8000ers summited and the first winter climb of Annapurna. Dariusz Zaluski, has 4, 8000ers summited and winter attempts on K2, Makalu, Nanga and Shisha. Jan Szulc led the team who first climbed Shisha Pangma in winter, and has a K2 winter attempt.

Krzysztof Tarasewicz, is summiteer on 3 8000ers; Jacek Jawien has been a member in K2 and Shisha winter expeditions. Only Przemyslaw Lozinski will experience an 8000+ meter peak for the first time.

Maciej Pawlikowski has not yet confirmed if he too will be joining the team - he would add the first winter climb on Cho Oyu to the expedition record, plus experience from 7 winter expeditions on 8000ers.

As for logistics, there will be an expedition doctor, and two Pakistani high altitude porters.

Diamir or Rupal thats the question

In Nepal, only Makalu still remains unclimbed in the coldest season. In Pakistan however, none of the 8000ers (K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, GI, and GII) have been summited in winter.

The Polish team will first travel to Nepal for a training climb on Ama Dablam. December 5, they will move to Pakistan to attempt Nanga in expedition style. The route is not yet set; options considered are the classic Kinshofer route on the Diamir side, or Schells route on the mighty Rupal face.

Stay tuned for more updates on this major climb.

The first 8000er climbed in winter was Everest. Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy summited on February 17, 1980. They were members in a team led by Andrzej Zawada.

January 12,1984 Maciej Berbeka and Ryszard Gajewski accomplished the first winter summit on Manaslu. The leader of the Zakopane expedition was Lech Korniszewski.

January 21, 1985 Andrzej Czok and Jerzy Kukuczka summited Dhaulagiri, as members in an expedition organized by Gliwicki Klub Wysokogórski (Gliwice Highmountain Club) and lead by Adam Bilczewski. This was the first true winter climb on Dhaula three years before Japanese Akio Koizumi and Sherpa Nima Wangchu had reached the summit on December 13 (before calendar winter).

February 12, 1985 Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski were the first to summit Cho Oyu in winter. They were part of a Polish-Canadian expedition led by Andrzej Zawada. Three days later, Zygmunt Heinrich and Jerzy Kukuczka repeated the route.

Krzysztof Wielicki achieved his second first winter ascent on an 8000er on January 11, 1986. The peak was Kangchenjunga, and he topped out with Jerzy Kukuczka. The leader of the Gliwicki Klub Wysokogórski (Gliwice Highmountain Club) expedition was Adam Machnik.

Artur Hajzer and Jerzy Kukuczka made the first winter summit of Annapurna on February 3, 1987. Kukuczka was the expedition leader.

In 1988 finally, Krzysztof Wielicki reached alone the summit of Lhotse on New Year's Eve, December 31. It was Lhotses first winter summit and Wielickis third similar achievement. The leader of the Polish-Belgian expedition was Andrzej Zawada.

17 years went by before a new first winter ascent was a fact: On January 14, 2005, Polish Piotr Morawski and Italian Simone Moro summited Shisha Pangma. The expedition leader was Jan Szulc.

The latest attempt for a first winter ascent on a 8000er was done last year by Jean-Christophe Lafaille. Lafaille attempted Makalu solo, but disappeared on his summit push, apparently without reaching the summit.

None of the Pakistans 8000ers (K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, GI, and GII) have been summited in winter. In Nepal, only Makalu still remains unclimbed in winter. This year, Pakistans government has reduced the winter climbing fee to a nominal 5%.

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Climbers' meeting on September 16 in Podlesice. Left to right: K. Tarasewicz, D. Zaluski, J. Szulc, A.Hajzer, K.Wielicki, and J.Jawien (click to enlarge).
Wielicki was the fifth person to summit all 14 8000ers. Among his climbs were the first winter climbs on Everest, Kangchenjunga and Lhotse. Now he is going for a fourth: Nanga Parbat - the fifth time Polish climbers attempt this peak in winter (click to enlarge).
Only Jan Szulc answered Wielicki's call for a comeback to Himalayan winter climbing. After leading a successful first winter climb expedition on Shisha last year, Jan is deputy leader on the upcoming Nanga Parbat expedition. All images courtesy of HiMountain (click to enlarge).