The new feature length documentary is called The Impossible Descent but when ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel skied down from the peak to the base of K2 it was actually Mission Possible as he became the first to descend from 8,611m without removing his skis...
Released on 22nd July, the feature length documentary of Red Bull TV shows the incredible ascent - and descent on skis - by Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel as he achieved a world first. See his descent, below (warning contains vertiginous content!).
On the second anniversary of Bargiel's success, the 65 minute documentary, K2: The Impossible Descent (scroll down for the link to view), reveals how he completed the challenge through remarkable mountaineering and skiing skills, sheer determination plus the essential aid of a support crew and, as it turned out, lifesaving drone technology.
This seemingly impossible challenge had never been completed before nor since. The ascent of K2 alone is an extraordinary achievement as one in four people who attempt it never returns.
The over 60 hour ascent up K2 without oxygen assistance followed by the immense challenge of skiing down, involved descending from the summit to the shoulder at 8,000m as quickly as possible to escape the notorious 'death zone', where the body is literally dying by the minute.
He then had to dodge ice falling at the speed of bullets to reach the treacherous Messner Traverse, a barely-climbed narrow route with deep caverns on either side, and on to the crevasse-filled Kukuczka-Piotrowski route back to base camp.
At the time, only Bargiel's team – including his brother Bartek – knew how perilously close the mission came to failure when his climbing partner Janusz Gołąb became sick. A drone flown by Andrzej's brother Bartek was used to carry up emergency medical supplies that stabilised Gołąb and left Bargiel free to continue to the 8,611m summit.
That wasn't the only drone rescue captured in 'The Impossible Descent', which details the extreme challenges of high-altitude ski mountaineering,
When British climber Rick Allen slipped from an ice cliff on the nearby Broad Peak, he was reported dead by his teammates, but spotted by Bartek who used the drone to guide the lost mountaineer back to safety. The drone came into play again, flying up to check the weather when clouds created a whiteout as Bargiel was attempting to pick his way through the technical descent.
"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 metres. To be in the right place at the right time, you need all the data."
The story of this world first ski descent of the Himalayan mountain was made by Red Bull Media House. The film was directed by Slawomir Batyra and its executive producers were Tom Fish and Michal Zamencki. Told from Bargiel and his team's perspective, the film features added comments from experts including Free Solo film co-director and ski mountaineer Jimmy Chin.
The cycling season for me would normally start in late March but 8 weeks of confinement meant I could only cycle within a one km radius of home, so other strategies were required to get cycling fit...more
There are now less than 70 days before the start of December and first lifts opening in the Northern Hemisphere ski resorts (just don't mention the 'c' word as in Covid-19). So time to get ski fit ?...more
Let's face it there are worse places for your van to break down than the Italian Alps where there's always an adventure to be had whether climbing, hiking, taking a bus to Chamonix or an Italian taxi...more
Another day, another great ski tour in Japan. It's so easy to fall into a rhythm every day of skinning up, skiing down, soaking in an onsen, having a beer, eating traditional Japanese food. And, then, waking up to repeat it all over again...more
NATIONAL SNOW SHOW LAUNCH. The phoenix has risen out of the ashes of the fallen Telegraph Ski & Snowboard show which closed, last year,even before the effect of Covid-19 on the ski industry. A new exhibition, the National Snow Show will open at the NEC in Birmingham, a two day event from 23rd-24th October, 2021...more
SKI K2 PEAK TO BASE? MISSION IMPOSSIBLE? OR POSSIBLE? Watch a new feature length documentary called The Impossible Descent, revealing how Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel became the first to ascend K2 without oxygen and to click into his bindings at 8,611m and descend without removing his skis...more
THE CORONAVIRUS EFFECT ON SKI RESORTS 2020/2021 Should you book your ski holiday now? Or wait and face rising prices? The ski industry is holding its breath praying there is no further fall out for skiing and ski resorts next winter...more
TOP TIPS FOR SKIING OFF PISTE AND POWDER. How do I ski powder? How is skiing off piste different to on piste? Do I need fat skis to freeride? Check out these tips from ski instructor, James King, to ski powder like a pro...more