JUL 18, 2016
Andrzej Bargiel departured for his next adventure. This time, the aim will not be any of the eight-thousanders. Nevertheless, the goal that the Polish extreme skier set for himself is even more ambitious than the previous ones.
The aim of the expedition is to conquer five highest peaks of the former Soviet Union, which is a prestigious mountaineering award called “Snow Leopard”. This is also the title name of the expedition. Previously some hundreds of climbers won the trophy but Bargiel wants to achieve this goal in his own style. By using skis on his way up as well as during the descents, he aims to break few speed records. The uniqueness of this project is greatly enlarged by the fact that the expedition involves the presence of the CANAL + DISCOVERY crew - a strategic partner of the project – that will create a documentary series illustrating Andrzej’s struggles with an ambitious and dangerous challenge. The premiere of the series "Andrzej Bargiel - Snow Leopard" will take place in autumn on CANAL + DISCOVERY channel.
“This is definitely the most challenging expedition of my life!”
The Snow Leopard Award includes five peaks reaching over 7000 meters. The first one, which Andrzej will face, after landing in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and transfer to the city of Osh, is situated in the Pamir range - Lenin Peak (7134 m). On the easiest of the five peaks the polish skier will probably spend the most time, passing the monotonous process of acclimatization. After a successful summit, the crew will fly to Tajikistan to challenge the last two peaks on the list: Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m) and the highest peak of the country and the Pamir mountains - Communism Peak (7495 m). It is still commonly known under its former Soviet name, although since 1998 its name has been officially changed to Ismoil Somoni Peak. As fourth in line comes Pobeda Peak situated on the boarder between Kyrgyzstan and China, the highest peak in the mountains of Tien Shan, which is also considered to be the most dangerous one. Last, but not least, is Kazakhstan’s highest Khan Tengri (7010 m) with its capricious weather.
The previous Snow Leopard’s speed record belongs to Denis Urubko and Andrey Molotov and was set back in 1999. The Russians climbed five peaks in 42 days. Bargiel plans to complete the task in 30 days.
In 2010 Andrzej won the Elbrus Race and established the speed record on the highest peak of Caucasus that remains unbeaten to this day. He was three-time Polish champion in ski mountaineering and scored third place in ISMF overall world cup ranking in 2009. In 2013 Bargiel skied down from Shishapangma (8013 m), while in 2014 he broke few speed records on Manaslu (8156 m), using skis on his way up as well as on the way down. Finally last year he became the first man in the world to successfully attempt the ski descent from top of Broad Peak (8051 m) situated in the Pakistani Karakoram.
As in the previous expeditions, it’s not only the goal that matters. Bargiel claims that the way to achieve it, the adventure and the whole experience that comes along is far more important to him.
The filmmakers and the supporting team went to Kyrgyzstan by Mercedes car provided by the expedition partner – Sobiesław Zasada Automotive. The crew including Bargiel’s younger brother – Bartek, and the well-known action sports photographer who was with Bargiel on Shishapangma and Manaslu– Marcin Kin, drove over 5000 km through Russia and Kazakhstan to bring all the necessary gear down to the base at Lenin Peak. Among the participants of the project is also a very experienced mountaineer Mariusz Załuski, who supported Andrzej on all of his previous expeditions.
The expedition is expected to last until 20th of August.