Two Polish mountaineers, Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy, reached the top of the world’s highest peak in 1980, going down in history as the first people to get there in winter.Over the last 30 years, seven people have so far completed the challenge in winter time, however, in Summer, the journey is easier, so 3,500 have managed to summit Everest.
The 20-strong group which initially set off for the mountain was whittled down to two – the final leg of the journey upwards took seven hours, said Leszek Cichy to Polish Radio.
There isn’t much snow in the Himalayas in winter, as it is blown off by heavy wind. Mount Everest is fortified against mountaineers with large slabs of ice, strong winds and frost. The temperatures in tents at night dropped to minus 40˚C.
“We were high up on the ridge, the nearest people were several hours walking distance away from us. The only thing that allows us to keep in touch was radio. The wind was strong. And, as we were descending, dusk set in and snow from western face blew in the air. And we found ourselves on the border between what is real and unreal, on the border between shadow and the sun, night and day, and also, in a way, between life and death,” Cichy said, referring to the last stages of the ascent.
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