To take on this challenge, I had to answer a lot of questions – says Andrzej Bargiel, a well-known ski mountaineer, mountain runner and climber.
The world heard about him for good in July 2018. He then climbed the K2 summit (8,611 m) and was the first man in history to descend from it. He went upstairs and took equipment weighing a total of 10 kg. His skis are 170cm long – as he says, the shorter the skis are, the lighter they are and the easier it is to avoid obstacles on such skis. During the climb to the top, the team accompanying him took part in three rescue operations. It just goes to show that mountaineering is a very demanding sport. What were the preparations for this historic journey like?
Expedition to K2
† The whole process was definitely quite demanding – Andrzej Bargiel tells us. † I was very concentrated while driving. I was probably scared earlier in this process. To take on this challenge, I had to answer a lot of questions. I had to work, get to know this mountain and get used to it. I had to find the right space to draw the exit line, plan the exact timing, what time I would drive through specific segments. I had to check them all and know one hundred percent that this exit is possible. I spent a lot of time in the mountains, on the slopes of K2.
Access to K2 is a major problem for many. Andrzej Bargiel went one step further. It is worth adding that he was not the first to attempt to descend this mountain. Another outstanding ski mountaineer tried for him, Slovenian Davo Karnicar, who in 2000 became the first man on Earth to descend from Mount Everest, and won the Earth Ski Crown a few years later. In 2017 he unfortunately had to give up his climb to the top due to a back injury.
It is worth adding that in the same year Bargiel also made an attempt to conquer K2, but bad weather conditions forced him to give up. However, that journey only confirmed his belief that his purpose was very real.
However, the Congress itself was not without its problems. Bargiel was excellently prepared. He carefully checked the route and his brother also supported him with a drone. In the mountains, however, the weather is also important. Visibility was too poor in the higher parts of K2 and the skier in the fourth camp had to take a mandatory one-hour break. When it broke, nothing could stop him. He descended the well-known routes, but also the virgin slopes of the mountain, where no one has ever set foot. By 7.30 pm the Congress was over and the whole world heard about the Pole’s amazing achievement.
† From my perspective it doesn’t look that terrible. I need to be focused and implement the assumptions I made and made before – explains Andrzej Bargiel.
In these easier areas there is room to enjoy the environment. It’s impressive because the scale is huge. You see and feel that you are very high. If you look down and try to see the base, you see such tiny dots.
Driving pleasure comes first
Previously, Andrzej Bargiel was the first skier in the world to descend Broad Peak. After the expedition to K2, he did a similar feat on the top of Yawash Sar II (6178 m above sea level). Interestingly, the stress and anxiety that comes naturally from descending such gargantuan heights has never taken away from the driving pleasure.
† I enjoy skiing because it’s fun. Sometimes, when the terrain is easier and there is good quality snow, you can meander it nicely. There is a moment of relaxation. The faster you go down, the more energy you have, there appears to be more oxygen, the pressure is back to human level and you feel better despite increasing fatigue. You exercise longer and longer and you feel better and better because you have more oxygen in the air.
Respect for nature and conscious choices
All these expeditions have taught the skier to respect the elements and nature. The only time he got lost in the mountains, near Kasprowy Wierch, the weather surprised him. Conditions in the house were fine when he left, but during the day there was a lot of snow and visibility deteriorated considerably.
This shows that even the most experienced mountaineers have little to say when nature comes into its own. The experience so far has led Andrzej Bargiel to try to live in harmony with our planet and look for pro-ecological solutions in many areas of life. After all, caring for nature does not only mean proper waste separation or water conservation, but also conscious choices of everyday objects.
The mountaineer focused, among other things, on driving an electric car. He opted for the Mercedes EQB 300. He mentions the advantages of his car in the same breath.
† The range is decent and it’s enough for me every day. I also have a charger behind my house which is a great comfort. I don’t have to go to the station and have my car ready every day. […] Connecting the car takes a few seconds. I also appreciate the peace of mind in this car. It is also very comfortable. I also feel that I participate in this transformation. I try to make my travels more ecological. Apart from that, I also like the lack of a gearbox. This electrical and automotive transformation must happen as soon as possible – concludes Bargiel.