Wednesday, 1 Aug 2018

Skiing down K2

On 22 July Polish mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel became the first person to complete a successful ski descent of the worlds second highest mountain, K2.

While much less famous than Everest, K2 perhaps deserves more respect. Following this record-breaking season, still only an estimated 417 people have ever stood on the peak, and a full quarter of those who have gone after the summit have died in their attempt. It's considered by far most technical and deadliest peak in the world.
A handful of other accomplished mountaineers have tried to ski it before, including Italian Hans Kammerlander andAmerican Dave Watson, who skied down from approximately 400m below the summit. While both survived their attempts, two mountaineers – Italian Michele Fait in 2009 and Fredrik Ericsson in 2010– both fell to their deaths while attempting the ski descent. K2's most dangerous obstacle is said to be the 'Bottleneck' – a narrow, 50° couloir that has an extremely large serac hanging above it.

Bartiel's descent also benefitted another nearby climber. While filming drone footage, Bartiel's brother, Bartek, spotted and helped rescue Scottish climber Rick Allen who had been missing, presumed dead after becoming separated from his group.

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