Polish mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel etched his name in the annals of history when he reached the summit of Gasherbrum I, standing at 8,080 metres, at 4:15 am local time before undertaking an unparalleled ski descent without supplemental oxygen.
This unprecedented achievement establishes him as the first person to have skied from the summits of all the Karakoram eight-thousanders, marking a milestone in mountaineering history.
Andrzej Bargiel is no stranger to monumental feats. In 2015, he was the first man to ski down Broad Peak (8,051 m), and in 2018, he achieved the seemingly impossible, skiing down K2 (8,611 m) without removing his skis or using supplemental oxygen.
Bargiel’s harrowing descent of K2 involved dodging ice falling at bullet-like speeds, traversing a narrow and treacherous route, and navigating crevasse-filled paths back to base camp. The tale of Bargiel’s journey to the summit of K2 and his impossible descent is captured in the documentary ‘The Impossible Descent‘.
Bargiel’s Karakoram journey, marked by breathtaking ascents and perilous descents, began with his expedition to Pakistan on June 30. The goal was to scale both Gasherbrum peaks without supplemental oxygen and ski down their summits—a goal that has now been accomplished, demonstrating the awe-inspiring allure of the Karakoram.
Preparation for this monumental task started well before the expedition. Andrzej and fellow climber Janusz Gołąb climbed Khosar Gang (6,400 m) as part of acclimatization. His journey with Gasherbrum II was successful, with Andrzej reaching the peak and completing the ski descent on July 19. The lack of ample weather windows made a single outing traverse between the two peaks untenable.
A mere few days after a successful ski descent of Gasherbrum II (8,035 m), the team started their ascent of Gasherbrum I on July 25, at 2:00 AM local time. Andrzej Bargiel alongside Janusz Gołąb and Maciej Sulima reached camp 2. Bargiel reached the peak of Gasherbrum I at dawn on July 26, before starting his ski descent that ended in a triumphant return to the camp a few hours later. This achievement underscores the growing allure of the Karakoram range, which boasts the greatest concentration of the highest peaks globally and the largest glacial system outside the polar regions.
Andrzej Bargiel has written a new chapter in mountaineering history, pushing the limits of what is possible. His feats not only highlight the incredible allure of the Karakoram but also demonstrate the power of determination, skill, and courage in facing some of the world’s most formidable peaks.
While scaling and skiing down the Karakoram eight-thousanders are incredible achievements, they also serve as a testament to the Karakoram’s rich natural and cultural heritage. Spanning the borders of three countries, Pakistan, India, and China, the Karakoram range is a treasure trove of diverse flora and fauna, a testament to the region’s seismic activity, and an arena for astonishing feats of human achievement.
– This achievement further cements Andrzej Bargiel’s status as one of the most accomplished mountaineers of our time. He continues to redefine the limits of what’s possible in the mountains.
To learn more about Andrzej’s daring descents and record-breaking feats watch ‘The Impossible Descent’ HERE.
Header image: Andrzej Bargiel seen post summit and ski descent of Gasherbrum II, Pakistan on July 19, 2023. Credit: Bartłomiej Pawlikowski / Red Bull Content Pool