Andrzej Bargiel: World’s First Ski Descent Of K2

Climbing Mount K2, which is also the world’s second tallest peak and the most dangerous mountain in the world, is close to impossible for a lot of mountaineers and climbers. Skiing from the mountain’s top is not even near being a fantasy for many as it is possibly the most dangerous experience or even a thought to a lot of people. However, Andrzej Bargiel, a Polish skier, proved that nothing is impossible. Bargiel had been skiing since 2006, and he shocked the mountaineering community by skiing from Mount K2 in 2018. Descending from the mountain was a nightmare itself, but skiing from the mountain had been a more than deadly experience. Regardless, Bargiel made it out alive and did what no one else could even imagine.

Andrzej Bargiel has had an interesting life and experience. There are lots of things one needs to know about his journey skiing in K2, so make sure to read till the end of this article!

Early Life Of Andrzej Bargiel: First Person To Ski From K2

Early life of Andrzej Bargiel First person to ski from K2

Andrzej Bargiel grew up in a small town in Poland. He was surrounded by mountains growing up. The skier always looked at the mountains as his safe place and had always been one to be looking to either climb or ski since a very young age. Thanks to his brother, Bargiel learned how to ski and went on his very first ski in 2006. While a lot of people would only imagine ever climbing the world’s most dangerous mountain, Andrzej made sure he proved that anything is possible with the right amount of determination and passion. The skier has always thought of himself as a skier ever since his career started, and he has always been very passionate about the mountains.

Though his career started in 2006, he always had been a skier as he went skiing during winters with his family. As he was born and brought up in a farm family, his whole family had always been physically active. Moreover, carrying a ski board every chance they got to the hills was a norm for the family. So, Bargiel found out about his passion very early on in his life. At age 12, his brother Grzesiek, who worked as a mountain rescuer, took him to the Tatra Mountains in the Polish village of Białka Tatrzańska in Poland. The passion soon turned into a willingness to do that for the rest of his life. Once at the Tatra Mountains, he learned that he had to take his dreams seriously; not only did he start training intensively, but he also started dreaming of skiing from some of the tallest and most dangerous mountains in the world. He trained with his brother, who had the biggest influence in his life, and he trained alone, even at night.

After his visit to his brother’s work, he started competing in several skiing competitions where he scored pretty impressively for someone just beginning his journey in skiing. As he was pursuing his dream as a skier, it took him a few years to finally get noticed by other accomplished skiers. From polishing his physical skills to sharpening his will to become a professional skier, Bargiel only kept pushing himself from the year 2010 and on. While he started building closer connections to the Polish mountaineering community, he eventually got to know people from Himalayan expeditions in South Asia. Participating in only climbing activities was never a consideration for him as he felt something was missing. He would later, finally, find satisfaction in skiing in the Himalayas.

World’s First Ski Descent Of K2

Andrzej Bargiel finally got to ski from the world’s second-tallest and deadliest mountain, K2, in 2018. While many mountaineers, no matter how trained and experienced, dread climbing and descending the mountain, Bargiel became the first person to ski descent from K2. Along with a few other people from the Polish mountaineering community, Andrzej got an admirable amount of support from his brother. His brother promised to film him throughout his skiing journey with the help of a drone.

K2 stands tall at the height of the Polish village of Białka Tatrzańska. And only 300 people have succeeded in climbing the mountain. Likewise, 77 people have died on the peak during their attempt. At only 30 years old, Bargiel overpowered the possibility of getting perished in the avalanches and bad weather conditions in the mountain on 22 July 2018. It took the mountain skier around 7 hours to finally complete his goals. Though there were several challenges on the way, the Polish mountaineer was absolutely sure about his win as he had always persevered and been focused on his goals of doing the impossible for years.

Andrzej Bargiel About His Ski Descent Of K2

Andrzej Bargiel About His Ski Descent Of K2

In an interview with RSNG, Bargiel talked about his journey through the mountain. He said,“ The awareness of just how dangerous K2 is certainly didn’t fill me with confidence, but I tried not to think too much about the risk. I just knew that it was possible and that if you’re prepared enough and the conditions are appropriate, you can do it safely. If at any point there were any doubts or the conditions were uncertain, I was ready to stop the whole project. But I fully believed that it would work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it”.

He added, “It wasn’t particularly complicated for me because I train a lot – whether that’s running in the mountains, going to the gym or cycling – and I spend most of my time in the mountains. I have been doing sports for many years and I had full confidence in my physical ability to reach the summit. Of course, you also have to be skiing a lot in very steep and exposed areas to feel confident over such terrain. Years of consistent work and gaining experience allowed me to make the right decisions and estimate and analyze risks during this type of challenge.”

There had never been someone as confident as Andrzej when it came to skiing from the most impossible mountain in the world. On top of this, he also shared about how he did not even slightly feel accomplished or fulfilled when he reached the top of K2. That just was not his only goal. To him, reaching the top of K2 was nothing but an “intermediate goal”. He took a few videos from the top and started preparing for the descent soon after. The magnitude of difficulty and the fear of falling from one of the tallest summits had always been there for him. For him, having control of his body and the situation was what gave him the most power. Bargiel would not go to the spots on the mountain where he felt the most doubtful. And Messner Traverse was an absolute terror for him throughout his journey down K2. Seracs causing avalanches had to be avoided at all costs.

Overcoming all the challenges was not easy for him. Even though he felt like in incharge of everything when he was on the summit, descending was not an easy task, going through his doubts and finally taking the leap took him lots of courage and confidence. What was deemed humanly not achievable was finally achieved when Bargiel didn’t let his fears win. Getting his goals accomplished had been a matter of both pride and relief for him. The unfavorable conditions of the mountains, however, did not let him celebrate all that long when he landed. 30 seconds in the mountain could lead him to his deathbed. Hence, he got through as soon as possible after his success.

Besides this, Andrzej’s descent taught him to be fearless. He started aiming to ski descent not from all seven summits in the world as soon as he descended K2. His goal did not seem far from reachable after this event.

Sponsors For Andrzej Bargiel’s Ski Descent Of K2 And His Documentary

Sponsors for Andrzej Bargiel’s ski descent of K2 and his documentary

Very fittingly to the activity, Redbull came forth as a sponsor for the adventurous journey of Bargiel. It was the production company for the Polish skier’s documentary, The Impossible Descent. This documentary films the entire journey from Andrzej and his teammates going up the mountain to him doing what was far from anyone’s wildest dreams. The film shows the intimate details of the perceptions of the entire expedition and what happened in the climb and descent.

July 19, 2018, was the day the skier and his team left the base camp of K2 at a height of 16,400 feet. The ascent itself was a challenge. Bargiel left half his team and kept going up the mountain on his own until he finally met up with Polish mountaineer Janusz Gołąb. Janusz started suffering from intense back ache and was not able to go further. As a responsible fellow mountaineer, Bargiel decided to delay his own climb and stayed back so he could take care of the rather tired and pained mountaineer. The delay cost him 36 hours of progress. Since Andrzej’s brother was filming his journey through a drone, medications were delivered with the help of the drone, too. The same drone helped capture a lost English mountaineer, who was supposedly dead in the opinions of his teammates, later on.

After having taken care of their fellow mountaineer, Bargiel set to move towards Camp IV and finally to the summit. He did this all without the help of supplemental oxygen. After reaching the top of the mountain, he only took half an hour to get his ski straps on. Before his descent, he spoke to the radio, saying, “I’m going down”. There surely were crevasses, the threat of getting perished in the mountain due to possible avalanches, ice chunks flying with him, as well as the blinding white trails. But, as the documentary truly justifies, his journey was no less than the wildest unimaginable dream coming true. Though not as smooth sailing as had been thought initially, the descent was a success and only one such event in the history of mountaineering in the whole world.

Andrzej Bargiel’s Will To Ski On Mount Everest And The Obligations

Andrzej Bargiel’s will to ski on Mount Everest and the obligations

Though he climbed the most dangerous and the second tallest mountain in the world, Bargiel was not happy with what he had achieved. So, he was set out to climb the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest in 2019.

The mountain skier did not take any supplemental oxygen to the peak and set out for Nepal with the confidence and goal of skiing from another deadliest mountain in the world. He got a permit along with a team with the help of Pioneer Adventure which also included Sherpas guiding the climbers in the mountain. The Sherpa team was assigned in the expedition by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee. The route they began the journey from was the Khumbu Icefall.

Bargiel could not complete his dream of skiing from Mount Everest in 2019 due to safety issues. The bad weather conditions and the likelihood of fatal accidents made the mountaineer hold his goal back. One of the biggest concerns that Bargiel showed was the fact that the mountains were melting and that they wouldn’t be the same in the years to come. In the next decade, these peaks are likely to not even be the same due to global warming. So, he did not want to push his goal any further in time.

Unfortunately, due to situations not favoring Bargiel, his journey has been postponed since 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Andrzej Bargiel

What is Andrzej Bargiel famous for?

Andrzej Bargiel is famous for his solo ski descent from Mount K2.

When did Andrzej Bargiel climb K2?

Andrzej climbed K2 on July 22, 2018.

Which is the greatest challenging destination for skiing in Nepal?

Greatest challenging destination for skiing in Nepal are Everest region, Annapurna region, Kanchanjunga, Dhaulagiri, Cho Oyu, Dolpo etc.

Did Andrzej Bargiel descent from Mount Everest?

No, Bargiel has been postponing his descent from Mount Everest since 2019.

Why did Andrzej Bargiel climb K2?

Bargiel climbed K2 because he was always passionate about mountains and wanted to descend from the seven summits.


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