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Winter Polish K2 Expedition called off


The Winter Polish K2 Expedition has been called off without a successful summit but with all members, including Denis Urubko, Marcin Kaczkan and Krzysztof Wielicki, are safely back in Base Camp.

Our K2 news on Thursday reported Denis Urubko and Marcin Kaczkan at Camp 4 (7800m) and Krzysztof Wielicki, the expedition leader, 500m lower down at Camp 3. After enduring two extreme months (some believe this to be the hardest winter in 40 years in the Karakoroum) this was obviously the moment to go for the summit.

But things turned out differently: Marcin Kaczkan developed Acute Mountain Sickness and was immediately helped by Urubko and Wielicki to descend as quickly as possible to Base Camp. As if this wasn't enough, while melting water during the rescue efforts Wielicki burnt his tent...

In the end all mountaineers returned safely. But the first winter ascent of K2 will without a doubt have to wait another year. Krzysztof Wielicki has decided to call the expedition off, not only because, as the latest episodes showed, only he and Denis Urubko are capable of making a summit bid, but also because time is running out. According to the expedition leader a further attempt would "mean a total lack of responsibility and good sense".

Published below is an email by Denis Urubko recounting the dramatic rescue efforts. It was sent to us from rwww.russianclimb.com and www.rp.pl

"Hello! This happened yesterday in the last camp at 7750m. Marcin could not feel anything. He saw nothing around him, was unable to speak and understand. Only a few primary instincts. We spent the night in small tent, which we brought with us, since our previous tent was swept by wind. We slept in one sleeping bag, without mats. Before this we had three hard days of climbing in harsh weather with heavy load.

We woke up and I was sure that we'll continue the climb, but in a half an hour I understood that Marcin is really sick. I decided to go down immediately, since he was unable to do anything and could understand my words only after 2-3 times.
You can imagine how much I was frightened! I almost started to panic. This guy has a wife and a newborn baby in Poland... If he will be unable to descend himself right now, I will have to die here. No drugs, nobody, who is able to really help us. Only unacclimatised Kshishtof with leg injury in Camp 3.

It is better not to recall my attempts to force him to move. But in 2 hours we were ready to descend. There was an amazing event: this night the wind blew away one of my crampons! I've put them at the tent entrance and in the morning I found that one of them is absent. Thanks God, it was only 15 meters below on the rocks and I managed to get it.

When Marcin was getting out of the tent he fell several times. I thought that it is the end... But at this moment he showed himself as a real man. He managed to raise and, with my help, he reached fixed ropes five meters away. This was a great deal. While I was packing the tent he waited for some 10 minutes.

Apparently, this made him more conscious. I made a belay, but he moved along the fixed ropes by himself. The first 100 meters of descend took 40 minutes. These moments were terrible for me. Wind, snow, I'm terribly hungry and thirsty. But next 100 meters we covered in just 25 minutes. Big progress! Marcin began to look normal and I removed the belay. We were moving very slowly, but everybody by himself. Only sometimes I helped him to do something and was talking to him, talking, talking....

We met Kshishtof above the Camp 3. He brought only some tea for Marcin. Even I got 30 grams. And we continued to descend from this huge mountain. We met other people only close to the Camp 1 and at 1930, in complete darkness, we reached it. Marcin got oxygen and water and stayed there. Me and Kshishtof came to ABC at 2230.

Now Marcin is OK. He descended to ABS and feels good. Me too :))

Denis, Feb. 27, 14-14"

Winter Polish Expedition K2, news
Piotr Moravski at Camp 2, K2. Photo www.rp.pl
Marcin Kaczkan at Camp 2, K2. Photo www.rp.pl
Denis Urubko at Camp 2, K2.





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