23 February 2003


Silvio Mondinelli phoned Feb.21 :

First of all the members of Broad Peak Winter expedition would like to thanks the team of K2 winter expedition for the nice message that they wrote to them. They take this opportunity to send their motto: hold out and hopefully we will say to each other "OLA" from the top of the the 2 mountain that, if the weather conditions will change for the better, we will be able to reach. Gnaro (Silvio) in particular would like also to send a special "Good Luck" to his good friend Denis Urubko and hope to see him on Nanga Parbat next summer when it will be warmer!!!

The message from Netia K2 Winter K2 expedition to FILO Broad Peak Winter expedition:

All the members of Netia K2 Polish Winter Expedition are sending warm regards to you from the frozen world of North Face of K2. We are sorry that you have lost your equipment taken by the wind. Many of us know this situation from other winter expedition last years: to Nanga Parbat or Makalu when higher camps disappeared. We have got information from the senior of Pakistan meteorologist Muhammed Hanif, who sent us serious weather warning before 15th of February, that the weather system which came last week was the strongest since 50 years in Pakistan. We have hurricane [winds] like you, but thanks to Mr Hanif whose weather forecasts during our expedition are excellent, we tried to protect our camps before. Now we know that camp I (6030 m) survived. Denis Urubko and Marcin Kaczkan are there. We also see by monocular camp III (7150 m). The tent of camp II (6780 m) was put on a ground and cover by stones, so we have hope that also is not destroyed. We do not know what happened to camp IV (7630 m) because it is behind the rock and we can not see it from the base camp.

We repeated to Denis Urubko by the radio your message. All the best to Silvio.

You lost everything. We are inviting you for a good dinner with warm friendship! But seriously we would like to share with you our last weather forecast. You can not believe, but read it, please.

Best Wishes,

Be careful,

On behalf of the team of Netia Polish K2 Winter Expedition

Monika Rogozinska


The stars are visible

Friday was the start of a mountain operation that can be regarded as the attack on the summit of K2. It should last about a week. Krzysztof Wielicki, the head of the expedition, has been encouraged to start the attack by a weather improvement.

Somebody at the base shouted at night that the stars are visible. In the morning, we were able to see K2 in the sunshine at last. Everyone was delighted and despite the wind and the temperature of minus 20 degrees, the hustle and bustle has begun. First of all, we made our way towards the telescope. There is the tent of camp III (7150)! It did not give way to the hurricane winds. "It's a very decent, Russian tent" ("Efimof" - ed. note) - says Denis Urubko, a citizen of Kazakhstan who was born and educated in Russia, with genuine pride. We have also noticed a huge heap of snow on the spot where the tent of camp I (6030 m) should be standing. After consulting Urubko, Krzysztof Wielicki has decided to begin the operation.

First, a scouting team consisting of Jerzy Natkanski and Jacek Jawien set out in order to clear out the way: to pull out fixed ropes from underneath the snow, to unearth and repair the camps. They have run into spots cleaned by the wind to grey ice. There were also spots where the fixed ropes were covered with a layer of snow over one meter thick. Now and then, occasional gusts of wind made it difficult for them to breathe. We could see some small avalanches of dust falling down. They have dug up camp I. Only one pole of the tent was broken. The following day, they are to ascend to camp II that should be in a pretty good shape, since its dome had been put on the ground before the storm.

Denis Urubko and Marcin Kaczkan will follow this team after a day's delay. Then, Krzysztof Wielicki is to leave the base and climb alone for some time, following his friends. Those three want to try to reach the summit together: Urubko and Wielicki without using oxygen from cylinders, Kaczkan probably with oxygen. A team consisting of Dariusz Zaluski and Maciej Pawlikowski will be securing their return. Piotr Morawski, who had established camp IV, had to give up further climbing due to a chilblained toe and the danger of his remaining toes being frostbitten as well.

The attack on the summit of K2 has thus begun. Whether it is going to be successful or not is primarily up to the weather. At the moment, we have no updated forecasts. All day long, the peak of K2 has been reeking with snow and ice. The temperature at camp III was minus 35 degrees, despite a blue sky and the shining sun. A very strong wind was blowing. At camp IV, shielded from the gusts by rocks, it was below -40C. At the peak, a temperature of -50C is expected.

Monika Rogozinska