Poles get closer to top of winter-unconquered seven-thousander

Polish climbers aim for the first-ever successful winter ascent on Batura Sar (7,795 metres a.s.l.) in Karakoram, Pakistan. After two weeks in action, three members of the expedition: Rafał Fronia, Mariusz Hatala and Kacper Kłoda set up a camp at an altitude of 5,930 metres.

As it stands, the weather is favourable and, should such conditions remain over the next few days, top priorities for the team will include mapping out further routes and the delivery of supplies and gear at an altitude of over 6,000 metres.

Batura Sar is this year's goal of the unification expedition organised to select a group of climbers, which at the turn of 2020 and 2021 will attempt to climb K2 (8,611 metres a.s.l.), the only eight-thousander yet to be conquered in winter.

"It is a very interesting peak, a high and little-explored seven-thousander, which will allow us to test ourselves at an altitude of close to 8,000 in difficult winter conditions, "said Piotr Tomala, the head of the expedition and the Artur Hajzer’s Polish Winter Himalaizm programme.

The expedition is set to return to the country in mid-March. Batura Sar is the 25th highest mountain in the world. First conquered in 1976, so far, only one unsuccessful ascent attempt in winter has taken place. In July 1988, Paweł Kubalski and Zygmunt Heinrich reached the summit, the first Poles to do so.

Poland was the first nation to conquer 10 out of 14 eight-thousanders during winter. Polish climbers have also reached the highest altitude in winter on K2, called Chogori ("The Big Mountain") by the locals. In the 2002/03 season, the expedition that set off under the command of Krzysztof Wielicki, approached the mountain from the Chinese side and reached a height of 7,650 metres on the northern pillar.