On Sunday, Andrzej Bargiel of Poland made the first full ski descent of K2, the second highest mountain in the world.
Bargiel, 30, started his ascent Thursday, climbing via the Cesen Route without the use of supplemental oxygen. Up to Camp 3, he was supported by a team of fellow Polish mountaineers—including his brother Bartek—and Sherpas. He left Camp 3 alone at 4 a.m. local time Sunday and reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. He then unstrapped his skis from his pack and descended the hazardous and steep southern face to base camp using a mixture of routes to navigate the 28,251-foot mountain’s massive ice blocks and crevasses.
“It’s a very technical descent, leading down the middle of the face, so I’m very happy it turned out well,” Bargiel told CNN. “I’m glad I don’t have to come back.”
It was Bargiel’s second attempt to ski down the mountain. He had to abandon his first attempt last year due to high avalanche and rockfall risk.
K2 is considered to be the world’s most dangerous mountain due to the technical difficulty of climbing it. While over 4,000 people have summited Everest, fewer than 350 have topped K2. Efforts to ski down the mountain in the past have resulted in tragedy: in 2009, Michele Fait of Italy died after a fall, and the next year Swede Fredrik Ericsson fell to his death from the Bottleneck, a steep and narrow gulley near the summit.
After his success, Bargiel updated his Instagram bio, which previously read, “Currently on a quest to make first full ski descent from K2,” with “MISSION COMPLETE.”
Andrzej’s brother used a drone to film his descent.
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