Autumn 2014 | Speed on Manaslu: Andrzej Bargiel Titles New Record

Yesterday, on September 25th, several mountaineers reached the summit of Manaslu. Polish ski-mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel was one of them. However, unlike others who had been on the mountain for three or four days, Bargiel left Base Camp merely 14 hours and 05 minutes ago. The descent took him almost half of ascension time. Andrzej Bargiel had surpassed the speed records set by German Benedikt Böhm, couple of years ago.

Call it coincidence or cruelty of nature; when Andrzej Bargiel was on speed ascent, Benedikt Böhm was in the process of accepting the catastrophe that had struck his team that morning. His friends Andrea Zambaldi and Sebastian Haag were gone in an avalanche.

On Manaslu in 2012, Benedikt Böhm and Sebastian Haag along with their fellow Constantin Pade battled the fierce wind and icy cold conditions on the night between September 29th & 30th. They considered the retreat option but eventually continued the ascent as a group. At 11AM next morning, Böhm reached the summit, while his two partners stopped 150m below. His ascent time was 15 hours and round trip 23.5 hours. It was a “bittersweet” record after the deadly avalanche on the mountain, that year.

Andrzej Bargiel skiing down during acclimatization; Photo: Marcin Kin

Andrzej Bargiel launched the summit at around 10 PM (on September 24th) with the intention to reach C3 directly, “I will go straight to the C3, which should take about five hours.” However, it was raining heavily when he left Base Camp and he had to stop at C1 to change the clothes. Nonetheless, by 2:30AM, four and a half hours after leaving BC (4800m), he was in C3 (6800m). His brother Grzegorz Bargiel and teammate Darek Załuski, who reached there previous day, awaited him at C3.

It’s reported that conditions up there were difficult - “blustery” and “a lot of snow”. Andrzej rested in Camp 3 for an hour (instead of two, as planned), and all three team members continued the ascent. It appears that Grzegorz and Załuski stopped short of summit. Andrzej Bargiel reached the top at around 12:00PM local time. “It took him 14 hours and 5 minutes to get to the top! thus breaking the record for climbing the mountain!” exclaimed the home-team of Polish climber.

Andrzej Bargiel; Photo: Marcin Kin

It was planned that the climber would ski-descent the whole length of mountain “without taking off skies”. However, dense fog on way down prevented him in doing so. Andrzej reached BC with a round trip time of 21 hours and 14 minutes.
- Other summits on Manaslu, yesterday, include 12 members (6 Sherpa, 6 clients) from Altitude Junkies, 20 from Himalayan Experience (9 members, 2 guides and 9 Sherpas) and some other climbers.
- Recently, there was some confusion about speed record of Europe’s highest mountain, Elbrus. However, the organizers have confirmed that the record is still held by Andrzej Bargiel, who did it in 3 hours, 23 min and 37 sec during 2010 International Elbrus Race.
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