Andrzej Bargiel, the man who became the first to successfully complete a descent of the world’s second highest peak, K2, last summer, has announced his intention to become the first to ski down Everest without using supplementary Oxygen, this autumn.
Speaking in an interview in his native Poland, Bargiel said he plans to climb at the end of September, late in the season when its likely there will be more snow and fewer climbers. Whilst he says the team has ideas on routes and approaches to the challenge, they’ll adjust these according to the actual conditions during his time on the world’s highest mountain.
The first descent of Everest on skis was made in 1970 by Japanese skier Yuichiro Miura but he started several hundred metres below the summit and wore a parachute. His descent ended after five or six turns with a fall but his attempt was made in to a film, “The Man who Skied Everest”.
The first complete descent from the summit was made by Slovenian skier Davo Karničar in 2000 and American Kit DesLauriers skied the mountain in 2006 as part of her successful quest to become the first woman to ski the highest peaks on seven continents. However both these skiers and others who have made the descent have used supplemental oxygen.
Bargiel was named ‘Explorer of the Year’ by National Geographic for his K2 achievement, which was also completed without supplementary oxygen. Several skiers had attempted to ski K2 previously but none had succeeded and in 2010 ski mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson died in a fall during his attempt.