Andrzej Bargiel with a world's first! The Polish ski tourer became the first person to ski down K2.
© Marek Ogień/Red Bull Content Pool
Ski Touring

Andrzej Bargiel completes first descent of K2 on skis

Sunday, July 22, 2018, will surely go down in the history of Himalayan mountaineering and skiing, as the Polish ski mountaineer completes an incredible world first. Read the full story here.
By Nelly Pluto-Prandzynska
3 min readPublished on
Andrzej Bargiel became the first person to ski down from the summit of K2 – the world’s second highest mountain (8,611m above sea level), and the world's most technical one to climb (and thus the most dangerous). This is a great achievement for the Pole who, after an abandoned expedition a year ago, finally made his biggest dream come true.
This year, Bargiel’s K2 expedition turned out to be a huge success. Following a few weeks spent in Karakorum, on Thursday, July 19, late in the afternoon the Pole began his ascent to the second base camp, in the hopes of attacking the summit on Saturday, July 21. The next day, in the morning, the whole crew moved on to the third base camp located at 7,000m. On Sunday, July 22, the actual K2 summit attack began.
See Bargiel begin his summit attack:
When Bargiel finally reached the summit, he simply put on his skis and started skiing down. He was able to link snowy sections throughout his entire descent. From the summit, he descended along the shoulder towards the Cesen Route, passing below huge seracs, then via the extremely difficult Messner traverse, and via the arête on the Kukuczka-Piotrowski route. Next, he had to face some snow fields full of crevasses. He managed to overcome all the difficulties and achieved his dream, achieving the impossible in the process.
Skiing down K2 has been the goal and the dream of a few high mountain skiers for years, so this feat has opened a new, very important chapter in the history of both Himalayan mountaineering and skiing. Bargiel also became the 13th Pole to reach the top of the world’s second-highest mountain. He managed to do that during his second K2 expedition after aborting 2017's attempt due to high temperatures and dangerous conditions. This year, he was able to rely on the support of his brother, Bartłomiej, Janusz Gołąb, Piotr Pawlus, Marek Ogień and a team of highly experienced Sherpas.
Speaking straight after completing the descent, Bargiel said: "I’m very happy that I’ve managed to ski down the summit of K2 and get back to the base safely! I started to climb K2 at 4 in the morning on Sunday. The weather was good. Some problems appeared when I reached the peak and started to ski down. It was very cloudy and I had to wait for it to clear up at Base IV because the next phase of my downhill was going to be very difficult and technical on an extremely steep wall. I feel huge happiness and, to be honest, it was my second attempt, so I’m glad that I won’t be coming here again."
Check out the photos as Andrzej Bargiel becomes the first person to ski down from the summit of K2:

Part of this story

Andrzej Bargiel

A Polish ski tourer, Andrzej Bargiel made headlines around the world when completing the first-ever descent of K2 on skis.

View Profile