The mBank Lotto Himalayan
Triptych 2006 Expedition – Broad Peak taken!!! Fatal accident in the
Yesterday, on 8th July at 2p.m. local time Piotr Pustelnik (HiMountain
Team) and Peter Hamor (Slovakia) reached the summit of the 12th highest
mountain in the world, Broad Peak (8047m, via the normal route).
It’s the third 8000-er conquered by the mBank Lotto Himalayan Triptych 2006
Expedition this year. In April, Piotr Morawski and Peter Hamor summitted Cho
Oyu (8222m); in May Peter Hamor climbed the main peak of Annapurna (8091m);
while Piotr Pustelnik and Piotr Morawski reached its Eastern summit (8010m).
The bid for the summit of BP was launched from C3 (7200m) by the whole
core-team, including Piotr Morawski. However, at the altitude of about 7900m,
they met an extremely exhausted and deteriorating Austrian climber, probably
after a bivouac. Piotr Morawski assisted him safely down to C3 and will
make a solo bid for the summit on 9th July.
Higher up on the ridge Pustelnik and Hamor found yet another
mountaineer; tragically he had already passed away. After saying the last
rites, Pustelnik and Hamor continued their climb.
Broad Peak (8047m) was climbed for the first time in 1957, so far only 268
people (including 10 women and 12 Poles) have successfully repeated this feat.
Unfortunately, the mountain has also played witness to 19 fatal accidents.
The two members of the Pustelnik’s team, including Piotr Pustelnik himself,
gained the summit after 4 days of climbing. What is more, this was their first
climb during this third stage of the “Himalayan
Triptych Expedition”, as they arrived at the BP base camp only on 2nd July,
having left Poland on 20th June.
The team should
descend to BC (4500m) on 10th July, but the expedition will be far from over
then. They will then endeavour to ascent BP once more, this time via a new
untested route along the South ridge, and in alpine-style.
Finally, the two remaining members of Pustelnik’s team, Kinga
Baranowska (HiMountain) and Andrzej Rusowicz, are at C3 at the moment are
planning to get to the top via the normal route. As they haven’t yet
become fully acclimatised to the altitude, they will be continuing with their
climb but at a slower pace.
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
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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
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
„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
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
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
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....
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
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
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
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
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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