K2, No O2: Polish Man Completes Historical First Ski Descent

One daring ski mountaineer spent over 70 hours on K2 — without supplemental oxygen — just to ski down.

On July 22, 2018, Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel clicked into his bindings at an altitude of 8,611 m and proceeded to ski into history. Today, on the 2-year anniversary of the mission, Red Bull released a feature-length documentary that reveals how Bargiel made it up (and down) the second-tallest mountain in the world.

In the film, you see POV footage of Bargiel skiing from the summit, through the Death Zone, down to Camp 4, Camp 3, and beyond. He not only accomplished the feat without supplemental O2 but also did it in one go, without taking off his skis once.

“This terrain is really complicated, and you need to ‘read’ the mountain well,” said Bargiel. “Take a wrong turn, and I could fall several hundred meters. To be in the right place at the right time, you need all the data.”

Andrzej Bargiel descending K2 on skis
Andrzej Bargiel descending K2 on skis, the first person in history to do so

His ascent alone was 60 hours, and the ski descent around 8 hours.

When Bargiel descended K2 on skis in 2018, it had never yet been attempted before and has not been done since. And once you see the steep, high-altitude, whiteout footage, you’ll understand why.

This documentary was also only possible with the use of filming drones. Check out more info on the film at Red Bull Media House. The full film runs 65 minutes.

Watch 2 Athletes Climb K2 Without Supplemental Oxygen
Watch 2 Athletes Climb K2 Without Supplemental Oxygen

Is K2 the world's most dangerous mountain? Without oxygen, it definitely could be.  Read more…

Mary Murphy
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Mary is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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