Skiers Bargiel and Smithwick Return to Karakorum

Andrzej Bargiel stunned the adventure world by skiing down K2. Now he’s back to the Karakorum for more triple black diamond skiing.

Spring expeditions are rare in Pakistan: too cold and snowy to climb. However, its endless ranges provide infinite options for skiers, who can take advantage of the still thick layer of snow covering lower peaks and crevasses.

The aesthetic, dagger-sharp Laila Peak. Photo: Andrzej Bargiel


Poland’s Andrzej Bargiel, who stunned the world by skiing down K2 (after climbing it without supplementary O2), and American Luke Smithwick are going to make most of the season.

Bargiel intends to climb and ski the amazing ramp of Laila Peak (6,096m), repeating the feat achieved by a French expedition in May 2018. After this warm-up, he will head for a virgin mountain: Yawash Sar (6,178m). A team led by Kzysztof Wielicki attempted its first ascent in 2018 but turned around at 5,800m.

Skiing the west face of unclimbed Yawash Shar is Bargiel’s second goal of the season. Photo: Andrzej Bargiel


As for Luke Smithwick, this will be his 76th Himalayan expedition and part of a 20-year project to explore the Greater Ranges, looking for the best “500 Lines” to ski. Smithwick is already in Baltistan and will travel in the Karakorum for two months.

Luke Smithwick in Pakistan last fall. Photo: Luke Smithwick