President Duda decorates ‘hero’ mountain climbers

President Andrzej Duda decorated three high-altitude climbers with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on Monday, for their part in a winter 2018 mountain rescue on Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat.

The three mountaineers decorated on Monday were Adam Bielecki, Denis Urubko and Piotr Tomala.

President Duda emphasised that the four climbers fully deserved the honours.

“Always, whenever people are ready to risk their lives, or even sacrifice their lives to save another person, it is an extraordinary stance,” he stressed. The president also drew attention to the difficult conditions that prevailed at Nanga Parbat at the time of rescue.

In addition, the president granted the same decoration to Jarosław Botor, who also took part in the rescue operation but was unable to be present at the ceremony. The Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta will be presented to him on another occasion.

At the end of January 2018, the participants of a Polish K2 winter expedition took part in a rescue operation on the slopes of Nanga Parbat.

The four climbers were able to rescue exhausted French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol and return her to base from a height of approximately 6,100 metres, but they failed to reach her climbing partner Tomasz Mackiewicz, who died on the mountain.

The Order of Polonia Restituta is a Polish state order established in 1921. It is conferred on both military and civilians as well as on foreigners for outstanding achievements.