AUG 19, 2016
Andrzej Bargiel completed the Snow Leopard challenge in record-breaking 30 days
Andrzej Bargiel broke the Snow Leopard’s speed record, which was set back in 1999 by the two Russian mountaineers Denis Urubko and Andrei Molotov. On Sunday, 14th of August, he reached the top of Peak Pobeda (7439 m), the fifth and the final summit on the list. It was also the most dangerous and demanding mountain he faced during the whole expedition. Andrzej completed the challenge in 30 days after he first reached Lenin Peak on 16th of July, which is also faster than the previous record by 12 days.
The attack on Peak Pobeda came only 4 days after Andrzej’s successful attempt on Chan Tengri, where he capitalized on a brief weather window with a quick summit move. His effort in Tian-Shan was determined by harsh weather conditions. Despite the snowfall and uncertain forecast, Bargiel started his final mission on Saturday at 6.30 am. After 12 hours he checked-in at camp 5 on 6900 meters. From that point there was only 500 vertical meters to the summit, but the route was long and led through an exposed mountain ridge. Next morning he launched the attack and at 12.35 pm local time he reached the top of Peak Pobeda. After a short break he began his long descent back to the base camp on South Inylchek glacier. Following a harmless accident on 6300, when Andrzej lost his balance and one of his skis, he was forced to walk the remaining route back down. After long hours and an exceptional effort he safely returned to the base camp and thus completed another of his pioneer projects.
Andrzej is not only one of the first men to ski from each of the Snow Leopard peaks, but also he holds the new speed record in one of the most prestigious awards in mountaineering. He completed the challenge with his signature style, keeping fast pace at every single attempt. On 16th of July, it took him 15 hours 38 minutes to reach the summit and ski down to the base camp on Lenin Peak (7134 m). Then on 25th of July he needed 13 hours to repeat his success on Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m). On 2nd of August, the third and highest mountain Ismoil Somoni Peak (7495 m) came at a price of 27 hours and 15 minutes. Great effort was however rewarded with one the first ski descents in the history, followed by climbing Khan Tengri (7010 m) on 10th of August and skiing down from about 6300 m, which only took Andrzej 11 hours and 35 minutes. On 14th of August, Andrzej completed the Snow Leopard challenge on the last and the most difficult one of all five – Peak Pobeda (7439 m).