Home SKI EXPEDITION Polish Duo to Ascend Kangchenjunga and Makalu Without Oxygen, Followed by Ski Descent

Polish Duo to Ascend Kangchenjunga and Makalu Without Oxygen, Followed by Ski Descent

by thesummiters.com
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Two Climbers from Poland, are gearing up to address the mighty peaks “Kangchenjunga and Makalu”. What sets their expedition apart? They’re choosing to climb these giant mountains without the aid of extra oxygen, a troubling feat known as a no oxygen climb. To add to the excitement one of them plans to ski down the slopes after reaching the summit.

Their previous conquests of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri without bottled oxygen caught the climbing world off guard. Bartek Ziemski and Oswald Rodrigo Pereira flew under the radar but left an indelible mark with their unsupported ascents and subsequent ski descents.

Now as they prepare to face Kangchenjunga and Makalu the third and fifth highest peaks on the planet respectively, they are reviving themselves for an even tougher challenge. Both mountains present unique obstacles for climbers sans oxygen, and skiing down them adds another layer of complexity.

Before embarking on their journey, Ziemski and Pereira took the time to share insights about their upcoming adventure with ExplorersWeb.

First up on the agenda Kangchenjunga

The climbers will head there first, adjusting to the altitude as they make their way to Base Camp. Once there, they’ll tackle the mountain in the same style they used last year on Annapurna and Dhaulagiri—no extra oxygen or outside help, except for the fixed ropes.

“Last year was a real trial for us,” Pereira shared with ExplorersWeb before departing for Kathmandu. We kind of came out of nowhere with this wild idea of climbing two of the tallest peaks with just a small team. Then Bartek [Ziemski] skied down, and I filmed. It wasn’t easy, but it really tested our teamwork and friendship.

But that wasn’t their only challenge. After taking a breather in Kathmandu following Dhaulagiri, they rushed back to the mountain upon receiving an SOS from Carlos Soria’s team. Soria had injured his leg while traversing the final stretch before the summit ridge. Ziemski and Pereira played a crucial role in the high-altitude rescue.

While they appreciated the praise for their previous climbs, Pereira sees it as just a warm-up for this year, which promises to be the real test.

Once they reach the summit, Ziemski will ski down, while Pereira descends on foot, capturing his partner’s descent on film.

I’ll admit, keeping up with Bartek’s speed, even on the climb up, was quite the challenge for me last year, Pereira confessed. That’s why I’ve trained even harder this spring. I’ve also got some new filming tricks up my sleeve, having learned from last year’s expedition. Overall, though, our tactics remain pretty much the same.

Skiing on ice and rock

Ziemski has been diligently preparing for the season by racking up as many vertical meters as possible.

“I seek out challenges and avoid easy runs,” he remarked. “Despite the harsh winter conditions, I’ve managed to get in plenty of quality skiing.”

We inquired about Ziemski’s readiness for very icy conditions, similar to what Adrian Ballinger encountered when skiing down Makalu in 2022.

The snow conditions in the Alps this winter have been a great help, Ziemski replied. I’ve had ample practice on extremely hard snow. However, we’ll have to adapt to the conditions we find when we arrive.

On Kangchenjunga, the most daunting hurdle is the upper section, from the final camp up to the summit, which involves primarily rock and mixed climbing. Last year, the experienced high-altitude skier Luis Stitzinger from Germany tragically lost his life while attempting to ski down Kangchenjunga.

The Polish climbers mentioned that they extensively researched Kangchenjunga, primarily by seeking insights from those who have previously tackled the mountain.

The section near the summit is indeed the greatest challenge, and we’ll only know its feasibility once we’re up there, they explained. Our objective is to discover a route that allows for a smooth, uninterrupted descent, although we acknowledge it may be exceedingly difficult.

“As for Luis Stitzinger, we closely followed his journey. Our hearts go out to his family, and his experience definitely serves as a sobering reminder of the risks involved.”

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