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K2 1986: In Memoriam Tadeusz Piotrowski

Author(s): Piotrowska, Danuta, ed.

Copyright: 2015, Poland
Specifications: 1st, square 8vo, pp.144, photo frontis, 102 bw photos, sketch, map, photo eps, pictorial cloth
Condition: signed, issued w/o dj, cloth new

Tadeusz Piotrowski (1939-1986) was one of the great Polish mountaineers specializing in winter ascents. These included Trollryggen (Norway, 1972, 1974, 1977), Noshaq (Afghanistan, 1973), Tirich Mir (Afghanistan, 1978), Rakaposhi (Pakistan, 1979), Distaghil Sar (Pakistan, 1980), and Api (Nepal, 1983). Jerzy Kukuczka stated that Piotrowski ‘was at the turn of the sixties and seventies the most outstanding Polish mountain climber, a specialist in winter climbs’.

In 1986, Piotrowski was a member of Dr. Karl Herrligkoffer’s semi-commercial ‘Karakoram Expedition 1986’ which had permits for both Broad Peak and K2, and would thus split into two groups upon arrival. Six members (Piotrowski, Jerzy Kukuczka, three Swiss, and a German) started their attempt on the Central Rib of the South Face, to the right of Messner’s ‘Magic Line’, the hardest line yet attempted on K2. The Swiss and German dropped out leaving just Piotrowski and Kukuczka to complete the ascent. After four days of continuous climbing with minimal equipment and food they reached the summit late in the day having completed this new route, the ‘Polish Line’. (As of 2016 it has yet to be repeated.) This was Kukuczka’s 11th 8000er. Since their ascent route was so steep they had decided to descend via the ‘normal route’, the Abruzzi Ridge. Darkness forced them to bivouac, without tent or sleeping bags, at 8300m and the following day they only descended to 7900m, feeling their way down the unfamiliar route. The next day, while descending in bad weather and at 7800m, Piotrowski lost both of his crampons and fell to his death.

This is primarily a photo book of the expedition’s approach and climb together with Piotrowski’s diary from Warsaw to the base of K2 and a section from Kukuczka’s book ‘Mój Pionowy Świat’. Also included is a section on Piotrowski’s numerous climbs from 1964-1986. In Polish, no English translation.

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