So this góral named Andrzej Bargiel decided to climb K2 carrying his favorite pair of skis, then ski down. He asked his brother Bartek to bring up the snacks and take the drone footage. His brother said sure.
This was on July 22, 2018; a report made it into the August issue of Polish-American Journal. I was so relaxed and comfortable in my reading chair, despite ink glomming on my fingers from the exercise of turning the pages of the print edition, when this shocking report destroyed the peace of that athletic endeavor.
From the PAJ item:
Andrzej Bargiel, 30, has become the first person to ski down the world’s second-highest mountain. With skis in hand, the highlander from Zakopane climbed the 28,251-foot peak and skied back down to base camp intact.
He didn’t use any oxygen.
The downhill “run” took him a little over seven hours. When you look at the drone camera footage, you can see that it was seven hours at steepness rating “Ridiculous”.
Last year, he had attempted the same daredevil feat but had to abandon the bid due to bad weather. . .
There are moments in the footage when cloud obscures everything. What can you do if the cloud settles in for a few days as you sit there on a 45- or 50-degree slope of snow with a crevasse on either side?
. . . Three years ago, Bargiel became the first skier in the world to descend from the nearby 26,295-foot Broad Peak. He has now skied from the summits of five of the 14 highest mountains.
Here is another good compilation of the day’s footage.
The górale of the Tatra Mountains are famed for mountaineering and for the white-wooled sheep they raise. The traditional images are like these:
Nowadays, it’s bye-bye Tatras and hello Karakorums.
It’s a different look.
And there are no sheep to rescue on K2!
Is this nuts? Of course it is admirable and valuable to pursue excellence and expand its definition. And of course, if someone has skills, he feels compelled to exercise them and perfect them. But suppose you had his talents: would you look around for an application of them that produced immediate practical benefit? Or would consider it simply a good, even a necessity, to keep up and advance the traditional skills just so one’s descendants can do daring rescue ops on Luna some day? What do Ratburgers think?