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Polish team attempting to scale K2 in winter reaches base camp

Updated January 12, 2018

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MOUNTAINEER Ali Sadpara prepares to start his adventure from the Everest base camp.—Dawn
MOUNTAINEER Ali Sadpara prepares to start his adventure from the Everest base camp.—Dawn

GILGIT: A team of 13 Polish mountaineers who are on an expedition these days to scale K2 — a task no one has so far accomplished in winter — reached the K2 base camp on Wednesday evening, according to the last satellite message received from its team leader.

The Polish team, which is being supported by some local and high porters, reached the K2 base camp after completing seven-day trekking.

K2, the world’s largest highest peak, is one of the deadliest mountains on Earth.

Another group, comprising Pakistani porter-turned-climber Moham­mad Ali Sadpara of Gilgit-Baltistan, Spanish mountaineer Alex Txikon and six Nepali porters, has begun its adventure from the Everest base camp in a bid to set world record of scaling Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, without supplemental oxygen.

The group would trek on the most dangerous route to Mount Everest called Khumbu icefall, Mr Sadpara informed this correspondent in a message on WhatsApp.

The Polish team arrived in Skardu on Dec 31 in a bid to become the first to scale K2 in wintertime. With more than 100 porters, the Polish mountaineers began their journey towards the K2 base camp on Jan 1.

According to a spokesperson for the team, Michal Leksinski, Polish mountaineers team leader Krzysztof Wielicki said in the message that high cloudiness was blowing strongly at the base camp where a warehouse is under construction.

Krzysztof Wielicki, 67, made the headlines in 1980 when he became the first person to climb Mount Everest in wintertime. In the past Mr Wielicki led three different winter expeditions from different routes to climb K2 in winter, but failed.

The Polish team included world record holder Denis Urubko, medical rescuer Jaroslaw Botor, filmmaker Pariusz Zaluski and base manager Piotr Snopczynski. Other mountaineers are Jansuz Golab, Adam Bielecki, Rafal Fronia, Marek Chmie­larski, Marcin Kaczkan, Artur Malek, Piotr Tomala and Maciej Bedrejczuk.

Meanwhile, Ali Sadpara informed this correspondent on Wednesday that his team had started fixing ropes and ladders on crevasses. He said strong winds were blowing at the Everest base camp and the weather pattern changed from time to time. “We are not able to take pictures, satellite internet is limited, we would not able to be in touch with you more,” he said in the message.

Mr Sadpara sent a video clip of an incident in which the base camp coordinator, identified as Nauam, suffered a fall and received an open wound.

According to Mr Sadpara, the affected person was rescued by a helicopter and he is currently in a hospital.

An expert of mountaineering and the organiser of Biafo Tours Pakistan, Karim Shah Nizari, told Dawn that reaching the K3 base camp at this time of the year was itself not an easy task.

According to him, at top area of K2 winds speed begins to rival those of hurricanes. Narrow jet streams tear across the mountainside, threatening to take down anyone on its slopes. The wind is just one risk of climbing K2.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018