Golden Age of Polish Winter Himalaism

text by Kamil Jasiński
If you were born in 70s/80s you might have heard of great media battle between Messner and Kukuczka. Both working hard on ascending all 8000ers, collecting “Crown of the World”.

I like an expression that if something can’t be done you just have to send there a person who don’t know that. At first climbing above 8000 meters wasn’t considered as possible, French did it. Then everyone started shivering when thinking of doing it in the winter. So Poles started doing it. They were called Ice Warriors.

15everest-uczestnicy-wyprawyphot. Bogdan Jankowski (Mt. Everest Expedition, winter 1980)


They trained in polish Kraków-Częstochowa Uplands, and Hight Tatras. Great part of set routes in these places are called with their names. They ascend Everest (1980), Manaslu (1984), Dhaulagiri I (1985), Cho Oyu (1985), Kangchenjunga (1986), Annapurna I (1987), Lhotse (1988). All in winter and of which one solo climb of Krzysztof Wielicki on Lhotse. It’s nine names of climbers who reached the top, and much more involved and as important. During these years they explored incredible routes, achieved what was considered as impossible.
The moment in history, at first sight, hard for all poles. Associated with closed borders. Happened to be the greatest time for polish climbing. Now history continues by a young team lead by Ice Warriors.They already achieved first winter ascents on Gasherbrum I and Broad Peak. Preparing for hardest of them all, K2.