A dream to climb

Mar 15th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest, Pakistan

In my brain people divide not into men and women, villagers and urban, but into those who go to the mountains and those who don’t. The latter will never understand that urge.
(Freedom Climbers)

Several days ago all mountain lovers in Poland celebrated success of Adam Bielecki and Janusz Gołąb, Polish climbers who for the first time in history climbed Gasherbrum I (one of the eighthousanders located in Pakistan) in winters and without the oxygen gear.

Now the whole expedition is stuck in the base-camp because of bad weather and the only contact with them is via satellite phones. Another international group, an Austrian Gerfried Goeschl (leader), Swiss Cedric Hahlen and Pakistani Nisar Hussain attacked the summit also on March 9th. At the moment there is no contact with them and their fate remains unknown.

Why people choose such a fate? Why do they spend their last financial resources to go and sweat, struggle with wind, freezing cold, high altitude and oxygen deprivation? I hike myself and my dad used to climb when he was young. It is impossible to explain. In my brain people divide not into men and women, villagers and urban, but into those who go to the mountains and those who don’t. The latter will never understand that urge.

But if I try to explain to myself why I do that? Somehow in struggle and pain, when I know my limits, I know the Divine. When I look at the pure and simple beauty of harsh walls and peaks and I know I had to really work hard to see it, that I am chosen to watch it, I feel the Creator of the world much closer. Climbers and hikers may die one day because of what they do. But I am sure if they had a choice to go again, they would.

Winter Himalaism is Polish specialty by now. 9 of peaks above 8000 m of height were climbed for the first time in winter by Polish teams. Remaining 3 are Nanga Parbat, K2, and Broad Peak, all in Pakistan. I remember my Indian friend telling me his memoirs of the autumn trek to Goecha La – a 4950m pass over the Talung glacier in Sikkim facing the Eastern face of Kanchenjunga. During this considerably low trek he had taste of changing altitude and oxygen deprivation due to lower atmospheric pressure. When he described what Polish do in climbing he said: Its the kind of plans that most people would call insane but they push boundaries of human endurance. Nanga Parbat has a route called Polish line … and its probably the most difficult route to the top.

Bernadette MacDonald who wrote Freedom Climbers tried to analyze what is the secret behind this special trait that makes Polish do that among so many other nations. During the presentation of the book last Monday in Warsaw she said that it was the love of freedom that makes it, competitiveness, and this special thought that nothing is impossible. There is a goal, a plan, and action to achieve it. With no limitations of typical human brain that would tell them Man you will never succeed, nobody before you did.


Two brave Pakistani porters-climbers went to search for the lost international team.

Polish wait till the weather improves to get help.

They dream to come home.

And they probably dream of K2.

I hope they will have that chance.




Agnieszka Piasecka

About the author

Aga is a student of International Relations at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw, Poland. She had also been awarded with grants to perform research in Korea and has long term personal interest in East and South Asian contemporary socioeconomic and political affairs. She maintains a blog at www.coastalasiaunrevealed.blogspot.com.

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  1. Our Prophet (SAWW) used to hike all the way till Hira cave, which is a secluded spot up in the mountains of Makkah. There the first words of the Holy Quran were revealed. Think deep & just imagine….when you can’t read or write, the first words that were revealed were “Read”. I am not trying to mix emotions & Islam, but what I am trying to highlight is the peace, that the inner soul gets when you are on the top.

    Climbing the top is only for a handful of people, a handful of people that the Almighty Allah chooses. I have been only to a few mountain tops, and there is nothing more relaxing and peaceful, than the sight of other mountains below you.

    Climbing is passion, it is peaceful, it is challenging, every next step can take your life, but it is worth every step.

  2. I so much agrree with you 🙂 And I am sorry for not taking a look at this entry earlier, the system did not inform me about a comment.

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