Polish climbers prepare for historic wintertime attempt on K2

ZAKOPANE, Poland, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Polish climbers hope to pull off a mountaineering first with a wintertime ascent of the world's second highest peak, K2, the only one of the 14 exceeding 8,000 meters (26,200 ft) not to have been conquered at the most testing time of the year.

After months of training and organization the team, run by Krzysztof Wielicki, are completing their final preparations before leaving Poland on Dec. 29 for the six day journey to base camp at 5,030 meters (16,500 ft).

From there they will monitor weather on the notoriously challenging mountain, waiting for a moment to attempt the summit.

"We are mentally prepared to stay there even to the end of the winter to have 'weather window’ to scale K2," team member Janusz Golab told Reuters.

First conquered by Italians in 1954, K2 is in the Karakorum mountains along the border between China and Pakistan and is notorious for high winds, especially steep and icy slopes and high fatality rates among climbers.

In winter months, scant snowfall means the summit approach can turn into bare ice. (Reporting by Kacper Pempel, Writing by Mark Hanrahan, Editing by William Maclean)

12/22/2017 10:23

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