Poles Summit Nanda Devi East

Polish duo Jarosław Gawrysiak and Wojtek Flaczyński reached the summit of Nanda Devi East yesterday afternoon at 5pm. They left 14 hours earlier from Camp 3 at 6,800m, after a week-long summit push. At last word, the climbers had descended to 7,313m. Conditions were initially good, but then strong winds picked up and visibility decreased to 30m.

Nanda Devi is the second tallest mountain in India and the highest entirely located within the country’s boundaries, since Kangchenjunga is partly in Nepal. Its main peak reaches 7,816m, while Nanda Devi East is slightly lower, at 7,434m.

Climbing towards the summit of Nanda Devi East. Photo: Polish Anniversary Expedition

The expedition commemorates the 80th anniversary of the first ascent of Nanda Devi East, which was also Poland’s first Himalayan success. Back in 1939, the Garhwal Himalaya brought glory but also death to the Polish pioneers. That year, on July 2, Jakub Bujak and Janusz Klarner stood on the summit, the highest point ever attained by Polish climbers and the sixth tallest peak summited overall.

Later on that same expedition, teammates Adam Karpiński and Stefan Bernadzikiewicz perished in an avalanche on neighboring Tirsuli (7,074m), and their bodies were never recovered.

Polish leader Jarosław Gawrysiak. Video frame: Oswald Rodrigo Pereira

Gawrysiak’s current team combines seasoned climbers such as Dariusk Zaluski and Rafal Fronia with some promising youngsters, including rising star Filip Babicz and Jakub Bujak, the grandson of one of the 1939 summiters.

The expedition also intends to knit the team together and give those who need it high-altitude experience for the Poles’ much-anticipated 2020-21 attempt on winter K2.