AUG 12, 2016
Andrzej Bargiel conquered the 4th seven-thousander on his way to complete the Snow Leopard challenge in a record-breaking pace. On Wednesday at 11.42 am local time he reached the summit of Chan Tengri, the second highest peak of Tian-Shan laying on the boarder between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China. He left the base early in the morning just to stand on top after 8 hours and 17 minutes climbing.
It was a spontaneous decision to go on Chan Tengri the same day as the crew first reached the base camp on South Inylchek glacier. Considering the weather forecast showing only a narrow window, in which the summit attempt was possible, Andrzej decided to face the less challenging of the two remaining peaks. There was simply no time left to prepare for Peak Pobeda, famous for it’s capricious weather and harsh conditions.
As the clouds covered the sky while Andrzej was still on top, he decided to play it safe during the descent. Top parts of Chan Tengri represent steep, marble and exposed slopes, with usually lack of snow, leaving alpinists to climb their way up and down on solid rocks. It wasn’t any different that time. Andrzej was able to put his skis again on 6300 meters and descent the whole remaining route back to the base. He checked-in at South Inylchek at 3 pm local time, stopping the clock at 11 hours and 35 minutes. It’s 40 minutes faster than Denis Urubko, who holds the overall Snow Leopard’s speed record, set back in the days during the extreme competition organized on Khan Tengri in the end of the 20th century. His phenomenal ascent record (7h40m) from year 2000 however still remains unbeaten.
26 days after climbing Lenin Peak, Andrzej has now 4 out of 5 Snow Leopard peaks off his list. On 25th of July he reached Peak Korzhenevskaya just to follow on Ismoil Somoni Peak 7 days later. He still has two more weeks to beat the speed record belonging to Urubko and Molotov. With only Peak Pobeda remaining, Andrzej is about to face the most difficult of the Snow Leopard challenges. The weather in Tian-Shan is very unpredictable and while it should snow for the next couple of days, the crew is already preparing for the next window and an opportunity to launch the final summit attack.
CANAL+DISCOVERY channel is the strategic partner of the project. The filming crew that accompanies Bargiel during the expedition will create a documentary series illustrating his struggles with an ambitious and dangerous challenge. The project is furthermore supported by Atomic, Salomon, Sobiesław Zasada Automotive, Pajak Sport and IMM – Insitute of Media Monitoring.