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Polish Climbers Share Details of New Chobutse Route

by thesummiters.com
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Polish Climbers Wadim Jablonski and Maciej Kimel, two intrepid climbers from Poland, etched their names in mountaineering history this fall. Their conquest? The opening of a thrilling new route up the daunting northeast pillar of Nepal’s Chobutse, standing tall at 6,686 meters in the awe-inspiring Rolwaling Valley. What makes their achievement all the more incredible is the backdrop of adversity—especially Kimel’s remarkable journey from injury to triumph—a story he shared intimately with ExplorersWeb.

Wadim Jablonski and Maciej Kimel
Wadim Jablonski and Maciej Kimel

The Accident: A Defining Moment

Kimel recounted a harrowing climbing accident in Poland’s Jura region back in May—a tragic fall on a trad route that resulted in a severe injury: a broken L1 vertebra. The prognosis was stark—doctors advised a mandatory rest of at least five months, effectively sidelining any expedition aspirations for the year.

But Kimel had other plans. “I knew that was BS,” he reflected. Against medical advice, after just one month of recovery, he commenced an intense regimen of cycling and gym workouts, defying the limitations set by his injury and reaffirming his unwavering determination.

A Journey into the Unknown: Fear Transformed

Their quest began with the aspiration to conquer a new route on a 6,000-meter peak within a tight schedule. Seeking logistical ease, they sought guidance and stumbled upon a recommendation from Paul Ramsden, a revered five-time Piolet d’Or winner, who pointed them towards Nepal’s Rolwaling Valley and specifically mentioned Chobutse.

Upon confronting the formidable peak, Kimel found himself wrestling with an intensity of fear and terror he had never encountered. However, as they ascended the chosen rock pillar, fear gradually gave way to an overwhelming sense of joy, fueled by the sheer beauty of their surroundings.

Maciej Kimel's Photo
Maciej Kimel’s Photo

The Challenge: Triumph in Adversity

The duo, embracing the ethos of alpine climbing, embarked on a singular attempt despite limited knowledge of the wall they were about to scale. Departing from Advanced Base Camp at an altitude of 4,900 meters on October 14, they made steady progress, reaching 6,500 meters before settling into a precarious snow cave for a night’s rest and finally conquering the summit the next day.

Kimel vividly recounted the treacherous terrain they encountered—most notably, the hazardous snow ridge starting at 6,100 meters, devoid of protection, with steep inclines of up to 70 degrees. The descent, initially anticipated to be a day-long affair, stretched into an arduous three-day ordeal through perilous terrain marred by seracs and loose rocks.

“Just Breathe”: A Message of Strength

In an emblematic gesture, the climbers christened their grueling 1,600-meter route “Just Breathe,” drawing inspiration from a chance encounter. At their Advanced Base Camp, they crossed paths with a Buddhist monk who shared profound wisdom about dealing with fear and negative emotions—advice encapsulated in the simple yet powerful act of breathing.

Looking Ahead: The Pursuit of New Heights

Kimel’s indomitable spirit refuses to be contained. His next frontier? A winter ascent of Trango Tower in Pakistan alongside Michal Krol—a challenge they previously attempted, reaching an impressive altitude of 5,600 meters with Janusz Golaband. This upcoming endeavor promises to be another chapter in their saga of audacious winter climbs, a testament to their unwavering courage and unyielding spirit.

Read More: Alpinists attempt tough northwest ridge on Malangphulang peak

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