46 years, Australia
This article first appeared on ExplorersWeb. The original can be read here.
Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel has become the first person in history to ski down from the summit of the second highest mountain in the world. This follows a busy few days on K2, as 31 climbers summited on July 21. No word on whether Bargiel had to dodge any of those climbers as he hurtled downhill.
Within each generation of high-altitude alpinism, there are exceptional moments: Reinhold Messner’s solo climb of Everest in the 1980s, or House and Anderson’s alpine-style ascent of Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face in the noughties, for example. Given the notoriously harsh weather on K2, its extreme altitude, the exposure and the technical difficulty of the route, Bargiel’s descent must rank as one of those moments. That some of the world’s best extreme skiers have tried and failed only strengthens his achievement.