A Polish ski mountaineer is to make a second attempt to become the first person to ski down K2, the world’s second highest mountain at 8,611 metres in altitude.
Although Mount Everest has been skied down multiple times now over the past two decades, a ski descent of K2 is proving even more challenging with multiple attempts abandoned or ending in the death of the skier attempting it.
Andrzej Bargiel first attempted of ski down K2 last year but opted to abandon his attempt then due to the high avalanche and rockfall dangers at the time.
He is now back in the region building up to his attempt, and is acclimatising by climbing and skiing down Gasherbrum II, itself the 13th highest mountain in the world at 8,035m but seen as the most accessible of the 8000m peaks in the region to experienced extreme athletes like Bargiel who has previously climbed and skied down Shisapangma (also called Gosainthān), the 14th highest mountain in the world and lowest of the world’s 14 8,000m+ peaks, at 8,027 metres above sea level.
The first known attempt to ski down K2 was made in 2001 when Italian Hans Kammerlander attempted it but turned round 400m from the summit on his ascent after seeing a Korean climber fall to his death in front of him.
In 2010, Swedish ski-mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson died after falling about 1000 metres when he had been close to the summit on his ascent.
Speaking about skiing K2, Kammerlander is reported to have said, “somebody will do it, but he’ll need a lot of ability and a whole lot of luck.”
Images of Andrzej Bargiel training in La Grave, France, copyright Red Bull Content Pool