Polish mountaineers, on Thursday, said they would set a new tradition by sending their expeditions again in winters after setting a record scaling Gasherbrum I for the first time in freezing weather.
After his return from Gasherbrum I, Polish team leader Artur Huszer said his compatriots would continue to scale Pakistan’s high-altitude peaks in winters.
Though the team leader could not scale the peak, his companions, Adam Bielecki and Janusz Golab became the first mountaineers to climb Gasherbrum I in winter.
This is only the second of Pakistan’s 8,000-metre peaks to be scaled in winter. The first, Gasherbrum II, was conquered by Simone Moro, Cory Richards, and Denis Urubko last winter.
Moro and Urubko attempted Nanga Parbat in Pakistan this year but gave up the attempt.
The Polish team climbed the Hidden Peak from the northwest this time.
Out of six climbers, two of them succeeded in reaching the peak and hoisted the Polish flag amid strong winds at minus 50 degrees Celsius.
The two climbers reached their destination on the 49th day after the start of the journey. They were rushed to Poland and were admitted in a hospital for treatment of frostbite after being airlifted from the base camp.
The team leader said that the international expedition ascended the mountain from the northwest, while the three climbers, who lost their lives had attempted to climb from the south. They are believed to have been blown off the ridge by strong winds.
Ambassador of Poland, Dr Andrzej Ananicz hosted a reception for the Polish team and congratulated them on their feat. He said nine out of14 peaks higher than 8000 metres across the world were conquered by Polish mountaineers for the first time.
Gasherbrum I is also known as the Hidden Peak because of the fact that its summit is hidden by clouds.
The climbers including high-altitude porter Nisar Sadpara, Austrian Gerfried Goschl, the team leader and Swiss Cedric Hahlen were close to the 8,068m-high summit when they went missing.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2012.
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