Polish mountaineering legend honored in Spain

Krzysztof Wielicki (L) and Reinhold Messner (R) in 2014. Photo: PAP / Adam Warżawa

Himalayan mountaineer Krzysztof Wielicki received the Princess of Asturia Award.

Failed Polish K2 expedition returns home

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Mr Wielicki is the first Polish laureate of Princess of Asturia Award in the field of sport, but there are several others, who received it in other fields. These were: composer Krzysztof Penderecki (in 2001), reporter Ryszard Kapuściński (2003), sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (2010) and poet Adam Zagajewski (2017).

Krzysztof Wielicki was the first man (along with Leszek Cichy) to climb Mount Everest in winter, the Earth’s highest mountain with a height of 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level. He was also the fifth mountaineer in the history to climb “The Crown of the Himalaya and Karakorum” - all mountains that are more than 8,000 m (26,247 ft) high above sea level.

This year, Mr Wielicki was the leader of an unsuccessful Polish winter expedition to K2, the second highest mountain in the world. Nobody in history managed to ascend to its peak in winter.

Polish alpinist was honored along with another famous mountaineer, Italian Reinhold Messner, who was the first man to climb the Crown of the Himalaya and Karakorum.

Princess of Asturia Awards are given by the Princess of Asturias Foundation to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs. Awards are given in several fields. There has been a sports award since 1987.