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Polish Winter Broad Peak commemorate first Everest/Polish Winter summit

Posted: Feb 17, 2013 06:00 pm EST

(Newsdesk) Today 33-years ago on February 17th, 1980, Everest was summited for the first time in Winter. This was also the first winter summit of any of the 8000 meter peaks. Two climbers of a Polish team, Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy topped out at 7am.

A Polish team on Broad Peak are preparing for a Winter summit push and are commemorating their fellow countrymen's victory.

On Everest

In November 1977 the Polish team leader, Andrzej Zawada, flew to Kathmandu to get permission from Nepal to climb in winter. He got a permit to climb from December 1st, 1979 to the end of February 1980. To have such a short time on the mountain Zawada said was "actually insane". But on the other hand he didn't want to opt out as this would be the first time permission was granted to climb Everest in winter. "I stood against one of the most difficult decisions in my life," he said according to a summary on Facebook (in Polish).

On December 20, 1979 all their luggage was in Nepal and on January 4th they made base camp with all members of the expedition and all the luggage in place. The next day the Polish team started to negotiate the Ice Fall.

The cold, the ice walls, strong winds, frostbite and injuries hampered the team's progress. One member was blown off his feet and fell 20 meters. Conditions frightened everyone, said Zawada at one stage. Most climbers retreated.

On February 15th a first attempt to the summit was made, but they turned around at 8350 meters. In the morning of 16 February, the last summit push was made from Camp 3. Krzysztof Wielicki said, "I saw anxiety, fear, sadness in the eyes of Zawady." Wielicki and Leszek Cichy summited at 7 am on February 17th, 1980.

Comic flipbook

A polish team, using social media, art and new web technology for a novel approach to illustrate one of the most amazing Himalaya expeditions in mountaineering history, published a comic flipbook about this expedition last year. The comic is based on the original diary of Krzysztof Wielicki.

The idea of a comic book for promotion was Jerzy Porębski's, and the flip book idea was from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

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Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy celebrating their summit.
Image by Bogdan Jankowski courtesy Polskie Himalaje, SOURCE
All the members of the 1980 Polish Winter Everest team
Image by Bogdan Jankowski courtesy Polskie Himalaje, SOURCE
They started on the Ice Fall on January 5th.
Image by Stanisław Jaworski courtesy Polskie Himalaje, SOURCE
Winter Everest ladders.
Image by Krzysztof Wielicki courtesy Polskie Himalaje, SOURCE
More ladders.
Image by Krzysztof Wielicki courtesy Polskie Himalaje, SOURCE