First Winter Ascent of Broad Peak

Just before arriving downtown at work I got an email from relentlessly cheery Bob Schelfhout Aubertijn. He’s good at making a climbing-obsessed person’s day. This time he was simply spreading the news: The Polish expedition that has been working on summitting

Broad Peak in the Karakorum did it today, March 5, 2013.

I posted the news on Facebook and Twitter right away. It’s significant because of the other 8,000-meter peaks, only K2 and Nanga Parbat now remain unclimbed in winter. It’s also significant because the Poles once more are the leaders in this space, with only one first winter ascent to these highest of cold mountains to their credit thus far.

Congratulations to Maciej Berbeka, Adam Bielecki, Tomasz Kowalsk and Artur Malek. You’re in the history books. As Bernadette McDonald has pointed out, in Poland the key questions about any mountain are, when was the first ascent and when was the first ascent in winter. Now Broad Peak has a complete answer. Best of luck on the descent to them!

On a personal note, we’ve got a big snow storm coming and I’m really excited, as I consider myself snow-deprived here in Peaklessburg. If we all get the snow day I’m expecting, I’ll pretend I’m in the mountains for minute, sip some wine, spend quality time with the family and pray the power doesn’t go out.

Have a good night.

Updated March 10, 2013: Since posting this, Maciej and Tomek went missing during their the decent. There is no news about either climber.

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Comments

  1. You will have followed the events of this week, no doubt, and noticed that – again! – triumph and tragedy are two sides to the same coin. Winter ascents are essentially incomparable to “regular” ascents of the 8000ers and as such the risks are exponentially increasing, even more so in the Karakorams where these giants have a weather pattern all of their own.

  2. I have to hand it to the Poles; they have tossed many of those coins in as their ante in this adventure. They deserve all the respect for that.

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