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STOLEN DREAMS

JULY 2019, 3 55

Only those who are madly in love with risk or have the means indulged in mountaineering. Sometimes these two intersect. As in all areas, the alpinists engaged in this have changing, developing, inaccessible aims and dreams.

Until 1953, probably, hundreds of thousands of alpinists were looking at Mount Everest (then called Chomolungma, now called like this by the locals) with enthusiasm. Who will be the first? Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made it after the failed expeditions.

Later, the alpinists focused on the mountains that had never been "peaked." Especially, other mountains of 8000m in height above the sea level. They started from the K2 (Annapurna I was the first Mount in Eight-thousanders climbed in 1950 before the Mount Everest) in 1954. And the intensive confrontation which lasted for 10 years ended in 1964 on the peak of Shishapangma Mount, the last mount in Eight-thousanders. Eight-thousanders followed each other. Of course, first of all, they were peaked on the seasonal months (the time is different for every mountain).  

Then the new wave of adrenaline had started. Who could climb all the Eight-thousanders? Compared to levels of English proficiency, this is no longer for the "Advanced" level, but the fight for the "Native" level. It was madness.

But who was the first crazy? Of course, Reinhold Messner!! Just imagine, regardless that he lost his brother in one of the mountains over 8000m (Nanga Parbat), he returned to the mountains. He completed the list in 1986. Fourteen summits in the Eight-thousanders’ list!

Was it the end? Of course, not. There are crazy people, and there are crazier ones!

The next goals were to climb all the summits first without oxygen cylinders and then to climb them all during the winter, which is still going on and takes many lives. The first winter ascent to the summit of the Eight-thousanders was done by Polish Krzysztof Wielicki (I have already written about it on my previous post) who is currently leading the K2 expedition. He together with his fellow-countryman Leszek Cichy was the first who ascended the Mount Everest in winter 1980. Later in the 80s, six summits (over 8000m height) were also climbed up by the Poles in the winter. There is no need to stress out how many giant alpinists Poland brought up.  

The 90s were quiet and other 7 peaks in the Eight-thousanders did not see any alpinists in winter time. The new wave started in 2000. The wave which was brought by Simone Moro, Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki (are the last two familiar?) and et al.  All the summits were ascended in the winter one by one until 2016. Simone Moro had winter record on three of them. Denis Urubko had written his name under two records! Denis and Moro wrote the history together.