Poles Return To Winter Trango Tower

Young Polish climbers Maciej Kimel and Michal Krol are back in the Karakoram for a second winter attempt on the British route up the Trango’s Nameless Tower.

The route, opened in 1976 by Martin Boysen, Joe Brown, Malcolm Howells, and Mo Anthoine, follows a 1,100m line up the South Face. It was graded as VI 5.10 A2 in summer. However, conditions will be much harder at this time of year, with short days, bitter cold, and ice covering the granite face.

Their first attempt took place in 2022, with Janusz Golab also on the team. Back then, bad weather and avalanches forced them to give up at approximately 5,750m, after eight days on the wall.

the climbers with duffel bags pilled up on an airport trolley.

Krol, left, and Kimel at the airport yesterday. Photo: Polski Himalaizm Sportowy


Lighter, faster

This time, the climbers have brought lighter portaledges and will climb in a lighter, faster style, Polski Himalaizm Sportowy reported.

“We plan to sleep where we finish climbing each day,” Michal Krol said. “We will only take a static rope for towing equipment bags and half ropes for climbing.”

That means that they will abandon the slower but safer big-wall style, in which the climbers fix ropes as they climb and then retreat to the portaledge. Climbing as the Polish intend will be faster, but they will also need to face whatever conditions they find on the wall as they progress.

“We will also take much less food than before and pack for two weeks in the wall,” Krol added.

The Trango Towers are a group of granite spires located on the Trango Glacier, on the way to the Baltoro’s 8,000’ers. The Trango Nameless Tower (6,239m), often known just as Trango Tower, is the most slender, symmetrical, and vertical of the group. It has never been climbed in winter.

the slender Trango Tower.

Trango’s Nameless Tower in summer. Photo: Polski Himalaizm Sportowy


Planned since Chobutse

The expedition shows that Maciej Kimel has completely recovered from an accident he suffered while climbing in Poland’s Jura region last May. He broke his L1 vertebra. The young climber didn’t follow the doctors’ instructions because five months later, he joined Wadim Jablonski on Nepal’s Chobutse (6,686m) in the Rolwaling region.

The pair successfully opened a new route in excellent alpine style: one push, with little previous information, and three bivouacs without a tent. Kimel told ExplorersWeb at the time of the “pure joy of climbing in such a beautiful place, despite the poor protection.”

Right after returning home, Kimel — fully recovered from his back injury — bought his plane ticket back to Pakistan.

The climber in winter gear while cooking food on a small stove on the snow, at sunset.

Maciej Kimel. Photo: Maciej Kimel/Facebook

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.