Poles Aim for a Winter First in the Karakorum: Shipton Spire

While the Polish National Team still considers whether or not to attempt Winter K2, at least one top expedition from Poland will in the Karakorum this winter. Marcin Tomaszewski, Damian Bielecki, and Pawel Haldas have set their sights on the stunning 5,852m Shipton Spire. Starting in December, they will try to open a new route on its frozen granite slabs.

Damian Bielecki (left) and Pawel Haldas on the North Face of the Eiger last winter. Photo: Pawel Haldas


Marcin Tomaszewski is a big wall-climber with an impressive international resumé. His two partners are also well-seasoned winter climbers, with wide experience in the Tatras Mountains and the Alps. For Bielecki and Haldas, Shipton Spire will be a logical next step after climbing the North Face of the Eiger last winter. Tomaszewski himself climbed that classic wall in winter 2016 with the late Tom Ballard, opening a new route that they called ‘Titanic’.

Tomaszewski has never been to the Karakorum in winter before. But he and Marek Raganowicz opened a new route, the remarkable ‘Bushido’, on the Great Trango Tower in 2013. The 46-pitch route (VII- A4+, UIAA grade: VII+) is considered one of the best big-wall ascents in history. They did this, however, in summer. This time, he and his team are determined to bag what seems to be a winter first on Shipton Spire.

“Someone has yet to climb big-wall style in the Karakorum in winter,” he told ExplorersWeb.

Marcin Tomaszewski at home in Poland last week. Photo: Marcin Tomaszewski


Before heading for Pakistan, the team will train on big walls in the Alps and the Dolomites.

As for the challenge ahead, they know what will it be like. “It’s gonna be cold,” Tomaszewski said. “We’ll fight”.