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  Everest and K2 Summiter Piotr Pustelnik Broad Peak 2006: Unexpected Summits


The mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych  2006 Expedition, Broad Peak: Unexpected summit push tonight!

Today (7th July), the mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006 core-team (Pustelnik – HiMountain Team, Morawski, and Hamor) reached C3 (7200m) on the BP’s normal route. They were planning to do this only in order to acclimatize further and leave some tents and supplies to use on their descent when they have climbed the mountain via a new route – alpine style – along the South ridge.

Having reached C3 though, probably encouraged by the continuing exceptionally good weather, they decided to take advantage of this and launch a summit bid via the normal route. The fine weather is forecast to last for the next 5-6 days. Another reason for the sudden decision is that yesterday (6th July) a Dane Wilco van Rooijen and an Irishman Gerrard McDonnell summited Broad Peak, hence the route is well marked and the ropes are fixed.

Some other teams have established C4 at 7800m, which Pustelnik’s team is planning to pass by, but it’s a helpful safety measure in case of an unanticipated emergency.

Despite not planning to attempt the summit, on the spur of the moment, having analysed the current situation at C3, the three Peters have decided to go ahead with the attempt.

Their decision is somewhat controversial as Piotr Pustelnik hasn’t got
suitable boots, but only ones that are used at lower altitudes (up to
6500m). “I’m a bit worried about frostbites but it’s remarkably warm,” he wrote in his latest text message sent at 9 p.m. local time.

What is more, the last time the team was at altitudes of over 8000m, was on 21st May (during their expedition on Annapurna). This is over 40  days ago, which is quite a long time, so tonight’s climb will be neither easy nor fast. It’s also worth noting that this is the team’s first instance of mountaineering activity during this expedition as they had only just reached the Base Camp a few days ago.

The bid for the summit should begin tonight, 7th July, at 9 p.m. GMT
(or 8th July, 2 a.m. Pakistani time). It’s difficult to estimate the length of the climb, as it can take from 8 to 14 hours.

Piotr Pustelnik has already attempted Broad Peak in vain three times in the past. Each time the failure was brought about by accidents to his climbing partners.

If the team’s endeavour proves successful, they will still try to climb
the new route along the South ridge. Perhaps after three unlucky
attempts, Piotr Pustelnik will reach the summit twice? Fingers crossed!!!

Earlier: According to a text message received last night, the team is planning to split into two today. Kinga Baranowska and Andrzej Rusowicz will remain in C2, while ‘Tres Pedros’ (the three Peters) will go up to C3. This is far from surprising as Kinga and Andrzej aren’t acclimatised at all – reaching C2 at 6200m must have been demanding enough for them. If they manage to rest and acclimatise a bit more now in C2, perhaps  they will go up as well. It’s possible, though difficult to predict. The weather is forecast to stay fine until Monday

Day 105 (5th of July): "Piotr Pustelnik - mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006, part three Broad Peak; hello again."

A warm welcome to everyone, this time from C2 on the normal route on Broad Peak (approx. 6200m), which we have reached today. We have managed to find two suitable platforms and pitch two tents. The whole team, all five of us, are here now on our second day above the BC.

As you probably know, yesterday we got to our C1, which is about 200-250 meters below the usual C1. Though this is hardly important in view of the fact that our high altitude porter broke his leg yesterday. He’s been safely evacuated to a hospital in Skardu today... So, the five of us with heavier loads have climbed up to C2.

The main idea behind this climb, for the three of us that is, is acclimatisation and putting up tents ready for our descent after sumitting via the planned new route. While for the remaining two members of our team, it’s a routine acclimatisation before making a bid for the summit via the normal route.

We’ll stay up here for about 3-4 days, perhaps longer, depending on the weather forecast, which we don’t know at the moment. At present the weather is fine, it’s even too warm I’d say: Piotr’s thermometer was showing 44 degrees, which was rather weird but was most likely caused by the scorching sun.

We’re all feeling well, and apart from slight dehydration which we’re trying to counteract by drinking, everything is going as expected.

We’ll have a rest day tomorrow and then we’ll climb up to C3, which we’re hoping to set up at around 7200m. We’ll pitch the tents there and spend the night, and depending on the conditions decide whether we need any further acclimatisation.

Once again best wishes to everyone and we’ll carry on keeping you up to day about our ascent. From a PlusGSM satellite phone, Piotr Pustelnik.

mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006 - day 104 

The mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych  2006 Expedition at C1 but a high altitude porter has had an accident.

Today, 4th July, Piotr Pustelnik and the rest of the team have reached the lower C1 on the normal Broad Peak route. 

Part of the team, i.e. Kinga Baranowska and Andrzej Rusowicz, are planning to climb the normal route to the summit; while Piotr Pustelnik, Peter Hamor, and Piotr Morawski, after acclimatising on the normal route, are going to attempt climbing a new route – alpine style – along the South ridge.

Unfortunately, today’s climb started with an accident; a high altitude porter who was hit by a falling stone on the very first fixed rope. It looked very serious – suspected broken bone – hence he had to be carried back to BC. The team, however, managed to get back on the route and climb up to C1.

“We’re all tired but fine. Tomorrow, after reducing the amount of equipment, we will start climbing up to C2,” said Piotr in his latest text.

Earlier: The mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006 Expedition reached Broad Peak Base Camp. 

Without any misfortunes or unexpected delays, all members of the expedition safely reached Base Camp. Unfortunately, the last few days on the trail were no longer blessed with good weather, though the climbers did get a glimpse of Broad Peak while trekking pass Urdukas. „We can see Broad Peak. There is a lot of snow up there,” stated a short text message that they sent.

„The weather is pretty grim at the moment but according to a weather forecast, it should improve from Tuesday. I’ve got a bit of a cough but I’m hoping that the day after tomorrow (4 July), we wll be able to start climbing the normal route,” said Piotr Pustelnik (HiMountain Team).

The weather is expected to start clearing from Tuesday and the window should last 6 or 7 days. All we can do is hope that the team will be able to make best use of it!

The build-up of snow higher up is good news as it means that the more difficult rocky parts of the route should be covered with snow, making the climb easier on the normal as well as the planned new route. The fact that 4 people have already summited Broad Peak recently, suggests that so far the conditions are favourable for climbers this year. 

This afternoon we received the following message: „The whole team is leaving tomorrow for about 5-6 days, taking enough equipment for three camps.” 

First dispatch: "A warm welcome to everyone from Piotr Pustelnik - mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006 – in Karakorum. It’s the beginning of the third stage of our project, i.e. the expedition to Broad Peak. At the moment all of us, as well as our porters, are in Askole the final village before the start of the five-day trek to Base Camp. So far everything has been going according to plan: no delays of any sort and keeping our fingers crossed there won’t be any. Unfortunately, Don Bowie hasn’t joined us yet and I’m slightly concerned that he may never do. Still, we have a multilingual group of 13 here: apart from the five of us, there’s also a group from Spain and two Italians, who have joined our climbing permit. Tomorrow (27th of June) we will have the usual colourful procedure of sharing the loads among the porters. I’ve seen it umpteen times yet every time I find it just as moving; hence I’m looking forward to it this time
as well! The weather is fine, no particular problems so far. Apparently there isn’t much snow in the mountains so I reckon we will get to Base Camp without getting wet, which will definitely be a big bonus. Anyway, keep your fingers crossed and we will do our best to move quickly towards the highest mountains in Karakorum. Till my next dispatch then! From a PlusGSM satellite phone, Piotr Pustelnik" Best regards, Wojtek Jemiolo

mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006: In the last stage of the adventure, Piotr Pustelnik bids farewell to the eight-thousanders. No Crown, but...

On June 20th a team led by Piotr Pustelnik (HiMountain Team) left Okęcie airport for Pakistan. The goal of the expedition was to climb the twelfth highest mountain in the world - Broad Peak (8047m above sea level). This is the third stage of the climbing adventure known as the mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006. Earlier, in April, the mountaineers climbed Cho Oyu, and attacked Annapurna in May.

The triple expedition was organised with the intention of enabling Piotr Pustelnik to win the Himalayan Crown (14 eight-thousanders); only Annapurna and Broad Peak were left to be climbed. Generally known as the “easy eight-thousander”, Cho Oyu was to be a place for acclimatising;  to minimize the time spent on dangerous Annapurna, and to climb it with one shot in a bold, Alpine style. However, only Peter Hamor from Slovakia managed to reach the main peak, and Piotr Pustelnik with Piotr Morawski (Marmot Team), having trekked the eastern peak (8010 m), instead of continuing with the climb decided to save the life of their Tibetan guide Lotse, who had lost his sight in the process.

After the dramatic expedition, and during his brief stay in Poland, Piotr Pustelnik (HiMountain Team) declared his career was over: “There will be no Crown” – he stated in an interview with the local supplement of “Gazeta Wyborcza” in Łódź.

mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006 is not over yet. Piotr Pustelnik wants to climb Broad Peak: “.... I want to bid farewell to the eight-thousanders and Karakorum, where I started my adventure with climbing 16 years ago” – he remarked just before leaving. What is more important is the fact that we are not talking about collecting eight-thousanders. It’s not a matter of conquering another peak. The mountaineers want to pave the way in Alpine style on a new and difficult route running over the southern ridge. Just as throughout the whole Triptych, the backbone of the team consists of Piotr Pustelnik, Piotr Morawski, Peter Hamor and Don Bowie. In order to refresh their acclimatisation, the climbers will first trek along the traditional route (supposedly up to a level of around 7000m above sea level). At this stage they will be accompanied by Kinga Baranowska (HiMountain Team) and Andrzej Rusowicz, who are determined to climb the mountain using the traditional route.

In the end, Piotr Pustelnik has raised the bar high and he is ending his adventure with the eight-thousanders in a grand style. He proved this during his attack on Annapurna. The summit resisted Piotr three times, just like Broad Peak.

Piotr is persistent....

Background: Piotr Pustelnik is ending his career among the highest peaks of the world. Today he leaves for his last expedition to Broad Peak (8047 m). - I’m done with eight-thousand-meter-high mountains. It’s the end. It’s over - says Piotr Pustelnik.

The world-famous mountaineer from Łódź has climbed 12 eight-thousand-meter high peaks. Only two mountains remain to be conquered in order to win him the Himalayan Crown, i.e. all 14 peaks over 8 thousand meters high. These are Annapurna and Broad Peak. But there will be no Crown. He disclosed to us first that after 16 years he is finally ending his career with the highest peaks in the world.

The decision was made during the attack on Annapurna (8091 m), which ended three weeks ago. This was Pustelnik’s third attempt at conquering the mountain, and the third time to no avail, though the peak was not far. - I don’t want to force myself into the 14-mountain magic, as this mountain, which I tried to conquer for the third time, sucked up all my climbing skills, my humanity - says Piotr Pustelnik.

The Annapurna expedition was very dramatic. The weather was against them. Piotr Pustelnik, together with Piotr Morawski, Peter Hamor from Slovakia and the Tibetan climber Lotse spent a long time in their tents waiting for the weather to improve. If this wasn’t enough, their rations ran low, and when the weather finally did improve, all they were left with was soup in packets. Next, they had one teabag per day, and in the end they drank only pure water. - Luckily we had enough gas and we were able to boil it, but we had become too weak to climb to the peak. We had to eat something, but there was nothing to be eaten - says the mountaineer.

The real drama lay ahead. When they started climbing the eastern peak of Annapurna (8010 m), the Tibetan guide began to lose his sight. The experienced mountaineers knew this was the beginning of snow conjunctivitis and which lasts about five days, provided that the climber is brought down. Peter Hamor went towards the peak (and conquered it), whereas the Tibetan Lotse together with Piotr Pustelnik and Piotr Morawski started the descent. This time they took the difficult route and secured themselves with ropes. During the descent Lotse lost his sight completely.

The decision to retreat and give up the quest was not an easy one. - Piotr and I told ourselves: there are two solutions: we behave humanely and stay with Lotse until he regains his sight, or we turn away from him. The latter solution would never allow us to look in the mirror again. We have to decide who we wanted to be. Today, I can speak calmly of it, but those conversations were not calm in the least - reveals Piotr Pustelnik.

Extremely exhausted, they continued the descent. Lotse regained his sight after three days. Piotr Pustelnik entered the base camp with his mind fixed on finishing with eight-thousand-meter high mountains.

I don’t want to trek along the eight-thousanders

"Gazeta": Are you sad?

Piotr Pustelnik: - I’m very happy to have made the decision. My capacity with the high mountains is coming to an end. Sportsmen also come to the end of their careers, it’s better to end it on a nice expedition rather than to get a kick in the butt and return in shame with your tail curled up.

Why Broad Peak, then?

- I need to finish my “Himalayan Triptych” [Cho Oyu, Annapurna, Broad Peak - ed.], that’s for sure. I want to bid the mountains farewell in Karakorum, where I started my adventure with climbing.

What will you do now?

- I will climb smaller mountains; I will carry out other projects. I don’t want to keep trekking the eight-thousanders, because I will lose my life to it.

You once received the Fair Play award for saving an Italian climber on K2. You gave him intravenous injections while both of you were dangling on a line. You brought him down with the help of Rysiek Pawłowski and you managed to get back up to climb to the K2 peak. Now you deserve the Fair Play award again.

- Normal, humane behaviour should not be the subject of awards.

Interview by: Wioletta Gnacikowska

The career of Piotr Pustelnik

Piotr has climbed 12 eight-thousand-meter-high peaks and has been on them 13 times (climbing Gasherbrum II twice). Only Annapurna, which denied him success for the third time now and Broad Peak remain for him to win the Himalayan Crown. He has attempted to climb Broad Peak twice already. Now he is trying for a third time.

1. Gasherbrum II - July 19th, 1990
2. Nanga Parbat - July 12th, 1992
3. Cho-Oyu - September 24th, 1993
4. Shisha Pangma - October 6th, 1993
5. Dhaulagiri - September 26th, 1994
6. Mount Everest - May 12th, 1995
7. K2 - August 14th, 1996
8. Gasherbrum I - July 15th, 1997
9. Gasherbrum II - July 21st, 1997
10. Lhotse May 15th, 2000
11. Kanczendzonga - May 15th, 2001
12. Makalu - May 16th, 2002
13. Manaslu - May 17th, 2003

 

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