Russians all set to tame the “Savage” K-2 in an unprecedented winter expedition: Part 2
"The visibility is so limited that one of our friends, who is a guest with the expedition, got lost on the glacier on his way back from the toilet. This comical adventure could have ended in tragedy. The upper base has started to resemble a strange kind
of sanatorium, crowded with patients, where it’s impossible to be cured." said Monika.
The team led by the renowned Polish climber Krzysztof Wielicki included Jacques Olek, Jacek Berbeka, Marcin Kaczkan, Piotr Morawski, Jerzy Natkanski, Maciej Pawlikowski, Jan Szulc and Dariusz Zaluski – basically the cream of Polish winter climbing.
With things spinning out of control, Wielicki had to make quick decisions to either go on with the unprecedented feat or to abandon the expedition in order to avoid any casualties. Denis Urubko and Marcin Kaczkan, although have never touched an 8000er, decided
to take the risk.
Moving over to Camp 3 (C3), Denis and Marcin spent the night in one sleeping bag at temperatures as low as -30 degree Celsius, enough o freeze the bone matter within. The duo moved to the Camp 4 only to find their camp 3 destroyed overnight with raging blizzards
and hurricanes. The medical kit along with several life saving items were blown away.
They went to sleep, but not for long."Something’s wrong with Marcin," Denis radioed to BC. "He is not responding to what I’m saying. He can’t even tie his boots."
What could have been a new chapter in the history of mountaineering, turned into a life-saving evacuation operation as both climbers somehow managed to return to the lower altitudes.
"We waited to see if Denis and Marcin would manage," the expedition journalist recalled. "We were relieved to hear that they had left. At one moment we could see them briefly on a snowy field below camp IV through a hole in the clouds. Slowly, but unassisted,
Marcin was walking down holding on to the fixed ropes."
The other day, Wielicki finally decided to set aside his ambition of conquering the savage beast in the dead of the winter and announced the end of the expedition. Wielicki later returned in the year 2009 for a similar winter expedition for the Nanga Parbat
but had to return unsuccessful.
The ambitious Polish climber worked relentlessly afterwards to chart out a viable plan for the K-2 summit in winters in the proceeding years. He advocated of an assault group which would fix ropes up to the 7000 meters through the Cesen route while the rest
of the team will follow the trail. He insisted that the expedition should start somewhere at the end of December as the climbers get burned out just by existing in the conditions. Wielicki was able to lure in sponsorship for the gigantic task-he never returned
The Russian team has now landed in Islamabad and held a group-photo session with the officials of the Alpine Club of Pakistan. The team was briefed yesterday by new ACP Secretary Abu Zafarat at the Alpine Club of Pakistan.