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‘Hello, it’s Andrzej! I reached the summit a couple of minutes ago!’

/ Mountain News

Last Thursday we were writing about Andrzej Bargiel's attack at Manaslu. Today we'd like to invite you for the latest news from this expedition, where Andrzej Bargiel shares detailes from reaching the summit!

28.09.2014

Whew! Just a bit more. 200 metres left to the summit. My legs start failing, my mind refuses to work properly, I am no longer sure what’s going on. There is only one thought in my head: keep moving, you’re almost there. If someone could bring me back the strength I had when I was leaving the base camp, reaching the summit would take me 10 minutes. But in the state I am now, I will have to climb for about an hour. I recall the moment of setting off… Complete darkness, heavy rain. I warm up, reset the watch, say good bye to Marcin, approach Renzi, perform the ritual, start climbing… I had so much energy back then!

fot: Marcin Kin, andrzejbargiel.com

***

It took me about an hour to reach camp I. It was raining heavily all the way up. I was drenched to the skin. Fortunately I was able to change my clothes in the camp. I continued the hike, there was no time to lose. I passed by camp II and finally arrived at camp III. Grzegorz and Dariusz were waiting for me. It’s been 4 hours and 30 minutes since I left the base camp.

***

Phew! I’m almost there. It’s probably here. No more footmarks, no way to keep climbing. Yes, for certain, I am at the summit! I did it! My legs ache. I can hardly breathe. Wait! What time is it? I look at my watch: 12:06. I’m at the summit of Manaslu… I count quickly. 10 PM to 12 PM… 14 hours! Wow! I made it! I’ve broken the world record! I can’t believe it.
The moment of excitement is interrupted by the radio call from my team-mates. ‘Andrzej, how are you doing? Andrzej, report back, please. Andrzeeeeej!’ – my brother is worried. It takes me a while to get back to reality and realise the voices I’m hearing come from the radio, not from my head.

***

It’s been around 7 hours since me and Grzegorz left Dariusz and set off from camp III. We climbed to camp IV one after the other. It was the best moment of the fight. Me and my brother, together, climbing on one of the highest mountains on Earth… The sun is rising as we keep walking, shoulder to shoulder, closer and closer to the longed-for summit. I recall my youth years when Grzegorz introduced me to the world of mountaineering. We would spend all the time together in the Tatra mountains.
I’m sad to see Grzegorz is losing energy. I have to keep my pace, though. I know he will be OK. He can climb more slowly. When I start skiing down, I will for sure meet him close to the peak.

fot: Marcin Kin, andrzejbargiel.com

***

Hey, how much time have I been here already?! I must report back to the guys, tell them I reached the summit! ‘Hello, hey, it’s Andrzej! I reached the summit a couple of minutes ago!’ ‘Wow, that’s great, bro! Congrats! We are so happy for you!’ – they reply. ‘Take it easy now. Put on the skis and go down very slowly! Remember about the very steep, icy part between camp IV and camp III! I’ll be waiting in camp III with Dariusz! Congratulations, once more!’
Grzegorz? In camp III? Shoot! He’s turned back?! Damn it! He was right. The acclimatisation was too short. We should have made one more ascent… Anyways… Now I have to get going, as soon as possible. I keep losing strength. My time at the summit is over. I put on the skis… it’s so difficult right now! OK, now I’m ready. I can start skiing down!

***

I start moving. Skiing down an eight-thousander – this is what all this effort was made for! The slope is super hard and icy. Normally I would complain, but now it’s a real blast! I enjoy each and every turn I make.

fot: Marcin Kin, andrzejbargiel.com

***

I have no idea how much time it has taken. I feel like I got to camp III in a blink of an eye. I don’t remember passing by camp IV. I must have missed it. But I do remember people I pass. It was hard to recognise anyone. They were all covered, wearing super thick suits, with oxygen masks on their faces. The only difference was the backpack size. The ones with huge rucksacks must have been Sherpas, the ones behind them, with much smaller bags – their clients.

***

I see Grzegorz and Dariusz running towards me from camp III. Dariusz is holding his camera and filming my arrival. Grzegorz gives me something to drink. I’m dead on my feet. I need to rest. I need to drink more. And more. The tea tastes better than ever before.

***

How long have I stayed in camp III? I don’t remember exactly. What I do recall is a dense fog I saw coming from the lower parts of the mountain. I thought it was temporary, but I was wrong.
‘I have no choice, I will ski down in these conditions’ – I thought. I set off again. Dariusz and Grzegorz were finishing packing. The way down was unpleasant. It was getting really dangerous. ‘I don’t stand a chance!’ – I screamed to myself. At the altitude of 6,500 metres I had to take off my skis. It was the end of my dreams to make the first full descent on skis in the history of Manaslu. I did the route from camp II to camp I on foot. Then I put on the skis and skied to the end of the glacier. I was on my last legs.

fot: Marcin Kin, andrzejbargiel.com

***

I arrived at the base camp after 21 hours. I was feeling unsatisfied. ‘I could have done much faster if it wasn’t for the weather’ – I was thinking. Still, I have set another record! Climbing the summit and getting back to the base camp took me 21 hours and 14 minutes! It’s a tremendous success, but I am not aware of it yet. I am dead tired.

source: andrzejbargiel.com

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