Polish K2 expedition abandoned due to bad weather

W. Daffue

A Polish attempt to scale the world's second highest peak, K2, in winter has been called off due to adverse weather conditions, the expedition's leader, Krysztof Wielicki, announced on Monday.

"In agreement with the team, I have decided today to end the K2 mountain-climbing expedition," Wielicki wrote on the Polish Wintertime Mountaineering (PHZ) website, citing unfavourable atmospheric conditions.

The communique underscored that the expedition's priority was the safety of its participants. A reconnaissance operation conducted on Monday morning by team members Adam Bielecki and Janusz Golab showed that on the route to camp C1, all of the ropes were covered with snow, a tent at the forward base was damaged and there was a high probability that the C1, C2 and C3 camps had been destroyed. Heavy snowfall in recent days has created a high risk of avalanches, and weather forecasts predict worsening conditions until March 11.

A winter ascent of K2 has only been attempted on three occasions. At the turn of 1987 and 1988, an international team led by Andrzej Zawada attempted the climb, in 2003 it was attempted by a team lead by Wielecki, and in 2012, a group of Russian climbers attempted the feat. No one has yet managed to conquer the 7,650-metre summit in winter.