Jerzy Kukuczka

Jerzy Kukuczka (24 March 1948 in Katowice, Poland – 24 October 1989 Lhotse, Nepal) was a Polish alpine and high-altitude climber. Born in Katowice, his family origin is Silesian Goral.[1] On 18 September 1987, he became the second man (after Reinhold Messner), to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders in the world; a feat which took him less than 8 years to accomplish. He is the only person in the world who has climbed two eight-thousanders in one winter. Altogether, he ascended four eight-thousanders in winter, including three as first ascents. Along with Tadeusz Piotrowski, Kukuczka established a new route on K2 in alpine style (the so-called "Polish Line"), which no one has repeated.

Jerzy Kukuczka
Jerzy Kukuczka Mount Everest 1980
Jerzy Kukuczka on Mount Everest, 1980
Born24 March 1948
Died24 October 1989 (aged 41)
Katowice - Graffiti Jerzy Kukuczka
Kukuczka on graffiti in Katowice


Kukuczka is widely considered among the climbing community to be one of the best high-altitude climbers in history.[2] He ascended all fourteen eight-thousanders in just seven years, 11 months and 14 days - He held the world record for shortest time span to summit the eight-thousanders for nearly 27 years until May 2014 when Kim Chang-ho beat his mark by one month and eight days.[3] Unlike many prominent high-altitude climbers of his time, the routes Kukuczka chose on the Himalayan giants were usually original, many of them first ascents and often done in the grip of winter wind and cold.[4] During his career, Kukuczka established ten new routes (still unbeaten record) and climbed four summits in winter. He was one of an elite group of Polish Himalayan mountaineers who specialized in winter ascents (called Ice Warriors).

In an era in Poland where even the most basic foods were scarce, Kukuczka was able successfully to mount and equip numerous ventures to the far-flung reaches of the world. Usually pressed for cash and equipment, he painted factory chimneys to earn precious złotys to finance his mountaineering dreams.[5]

Year Location Mountain Route Comments
1979 Nepal Lhotse West Face Normal Route
1980 Nepal Mount Everest South Pillar New Route
1981 Nepal Makalu Variation to Makalu La/North-West Ridge New Route, Alpine Style, Solo.
1982 Pakistan Broad Peak West Spur Normal Route, Alpine Style.
1983 Pakistan Gasherbrum II South-East Spur New Route, Alpine Style.
1983 Pakistan Gasherbrum I South-West Face New Route, Alpine Style.
1984 Pakistan Broad Peak Traverse of North, Middle, Rocky and Main Summits New Route, Alpine Style.
1985 Nepal Dhaulagiri North-East Spur Normal Route, First Winter Ascent.[6]
1985 Nepal Cho Oyu South-East Pillar Second Winter Ascent
1985 Pakistan Nanga Parbat South-East Pillar New Route.
1986 Nepal Kanchenjunga South-West Face Normal Route, First Winter Ascent.
1986 Pakistan K2 South Face New Route, Alpine Style.
1986 Nepal Manaslu North-East Face New Route, Alpine Style.
1987 Nepal Annapurna I North Face Normal Route, First Winter Ascent.
1987 China Shishapangma West Ridge New Route, Alpine Style, Ski Descent.
1988 Nepal Annapurna East South Face New Route, Alpine Style.

He climbed all summits, except for Mount Everest, without the use of supplemental oxygen.


Kukuczka died attempting to climb the unclimbed South Face of Lhotse in Nepal on 24 October 1989. He was leading a pitch at an altitude of about 8,200 meters on a 6 mm secondhand rope he had picked up in a market in Kathmandu (according to Ryszard Pawłowski, Kukuczka's climbing partner on the tragic day, the main single rope used by the team was too jammed to be used and the climbers decided to use transport rope instead). When he lost his footing and fell, the cord was either cut or snapped from the fall, plunging Kukuczka ~2000 meters to his death. Kukuczka's body was never found, but the official version was that he was buried in an icy crevasse near the place of fall. Such a step was dictated by the need to find the body to pay compensation to the deceased's family.

Memorial - Rafal Cholda, Czeslaw Jakiel and Jerzy Kukuczka

Jerzy Kukuczka's memorial with Lhotse in the background

Istebna 1091

Memorial plaque in Istebna

Rzeźba ku pamięci himalaistów

Monument of Polish mountaineers in Katowice

See also


  • Kukuczka, Jerzy (1992). My Vertical World: Climbing the 8000-Metre Peaks. Mountaineers Books. p. 189pp. ISBN 0-89886-344-9.
  • Wąsikowski, Piotr (1996). Dwa razy Everest. PiT.
  • Kukuczka, Jerzy (1990). Na szczytach swiata. Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza. p. 193pp. ISBN 83-03-03166-X.

External links


  1. ^ Kukuczka, Jerry (2015). "Challenge the Vertical".
  2. ^ Doubrawa-Cochlin, Ingeborga. "A Tribute to Jerzy Kukuczka (1948- 1989)". The Alpine Journal: 32–34. ISSN 0065-6569.
  3. ^ Korean Everest Sea to Summit marred by tragedy
  4. ^ Ruggera, M.D., Gary (1993). "Book Reviews: My Vertical World. Jerzy Kukuczka". American Alpine Journal. 50: 300–301.
  5. ^ Ruggera, M.D., Gary (1993). "Book Reviews: My Vertical World. Jerzy Kukuczka". American Alpine Journal. 50: 300–301.
  6. ^ Xexplorers web:The meaning of winter in 8000+ climbing
Andrzej Czok

Andrzej Czok (November 11, 1948 – January 11, 1986) was a Polish mountaineer best known for the first winter ascent of Dhaulagiri on January 21, 1985 with Jerzy Kukuczka and for the first ascent of Mount Everest through South Pillar in 1980 (new route also with Jerzy Kukuczka). He died while making a winter attempt on Kangchenjunga.

Annapurna Massif

Annapurna (; Sanskrit, Nepali, Newar: अनन्पूर्णा) is a massif in the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft), and sixteen more over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). The massif is 55 kilometres (34 mi) long, and is bounded by the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the west, the Marshyangdi River on the north and east, and by Pokhara Valley on the south. At the western end the massif encloses a high basin called the Annapurna Sanctuary. Annapurna I Main is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) above sea level, and in 1950 Maurice Herzog led a French expedition to its summit, making it the first of the eight-thousanders to be climbed.

The entire massif and surrounding area are protected within the 7,629-square-kilometre (2,946 sq mi) Annapurna Conservation Area, the first and largest conservation area in Nepal. The Annapurna Conservation Area is home to several world-class treks, including Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna Circuit.

Historically, the Annapurna peaks are among the world's most dangerous mountains to climb, although in more recent history, using only figures from 1990 and after, Kangchenjunga has a higher fatality rate. By March 2012, there had been 191 summit ascents of Annapurna I Main, and 61 climbing fatalities on the mountain. This fatality-to-summit ratio (1:3.1, or 32%) is the highest of any of the eight-thousanders. In particular, the ascent via the south face is considered, by some, the most difficult of all climbs. In October 2014, at least 43 people were killed as a result of snowstorms and avalanches on and around Annapurna, in Nepal's worst ever trekking disaster.

Armando Aste

Armando Aste (6 January 1926 – 1 September 2017) was one of the most influential Italian alpinists of the postwar period.

Aste was born in Rovereto near Trento, Trentino. He led the first Italian ascent of the Eiger north face in 1962, together with Pierlorenzo Acquistapace, Gildo Airoldi, Andrea Mellano, Romano Perego and Franco Solina. He also climbed for the first time the South Tower of Paine in Patagonia, one of the three Torres del Paine. Due to his numerous ascents in the Italian Dolomites, climbing routes have been named after him (e.g. the Aste-Susatti route in the Monte Civetta, near Belluno, Italy, first ascent by Armando Aste and Fausto Susatti on 26–28 July 1954).

Further selected first ascents in the Dolomites by Armando Aste were:

Cima del Focobon, together with Franco Solina, 16–19 August 1958;

Piz Seranto south face, with Franco Solina, 10–15 August 1959;

Crozzon di Brenta, with Milo Navasa, 26–28 August 1959;

Marmolada d'Ombretta, with Franco Solina, 24–29 August 1964. Reinhold Messner was the first person who climbed this route again, which is called today the "Aste route" or "Via dell'Ideale". Jerzy Kukuczka was the first to dare the ascent at the end of winter (17–23 March 1973).His most important books are Pilastri del Cielo (Nordpress, Italy, 2000) and Cuore di Roccia (Manfrini Stampatori, Italy, 1988).

Artur Hajzer

Artur Hajzer (28 June 1962 – 7 July 2013) was a Polish mountaineer. Hajzer climbed seven eight-thousanders, several via new routes (Manaslu’s NE face in 1986, Shishapangma’s east ridge in 1987) and made the first winter climb of Annapurna on February 3, 1987. He also summited Annapurna East (8010m) via a new route up the SE face in 1988. All these climbs were done together with Jerzy Kukuczka, without supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. Artur also attempted Lhotse South Face three times, reaching 8200 m in 1985, 8300 m in 1987 and 7200 m (alpine style) in 1989. He also organised a rescue operation on Mount Everest’s West Ridge for Andrzej Marciniak in 1989. On September 30, 2011, he summited Makalu with Adam Bielecki and Tomasz Wolfart. In July 2013 he died after falling in the Japanese Coloir after an attempt to reach the summit of Gasherbrum I.


Biarchedi Peak (Urdu: بیارچیڈی‎) is a mountain peak on the south of the Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan. In its southwest is Masherbrum (7,806 m) and in its east is the Mitre Peak (6,010 m). In its northeast is the Biarchedi Glacier that flows north into the Baltoro Glacier.

Carlos Carsolio

Carlos Carsolio Larrea (born 4 October 1962 in Mexico City) is a Mexican mountain climber. Carsolio is known for being the fourth man (first non-European) and the second youngest to climb the world's 14 eight-thousander mountain peaks, all of them without supplementary oxygen (but he required emergency oxygen on his descent from Makalu in 1988).


The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation or UIAA recognise eight-thousanders as the 14 mountains that are more than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) in height above sea level, and are considered to be sufficiently independent from neighbouring peaks. However, there is no precise definition of the criteria used to assess independence, and since 2012 the UIAA has been involved in a process to consider whether the list should be expanded to 20 mountains. All eight-thousanders are located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia, and their summits are in the death zone.

The first person to summit all 14 eight-thousanders was Italian Reinhold Messner in 1986, who completed the feat without the aid of supplementary oxygen. In 2010, Spaniard Edurne Pasaban became the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders, but with the aid of supplementary oxygen; in 2011 Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner became the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders without the aid of supplementary oxygen. From 1950–1964, all eight-thousanders were summited. As of May 2019, K2 remains the only eight-thousander not summited in a Winter ascent.

European Universities Beach Volleyball Championships

European Universities Beach Volleyball Championships were the first organised in 2004. Apart from 2014, they have been organized annually.

The European Universities Beach Volleyball Championships are coordinated by the European University Sports Association along with the 18 other sports on the program of the European universities championships.


Istebna [istɛbna] (listen) is a large village and the seat of Gmina Istebna, Cieszyn County in Silesian Voivodeship, southern Poland. The village is situated in the Silesian Beskids mountain range, near to the borders with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in the historical region of Cieszyn Silesia. The Olza River flows through the village.

Janusz Majer

Janusz Majer (born September 25, 1946) a Polish alpinist, himalaist and traveler. He is co-founder and co-owner (together with Artur Hajzer) ADD Company the owner Alpinus brand (1993–2001), co-founder of Mount Company – the owner HiMountain brand which produces outdoor clothing and equipment and co-owner of large chain of HiMountain Chain Shops in Poland. From 23 November 2013 the head of the program "Polish Himalayas", part of which is the program "Polish Winter Himalaism them. Artur Hajzer".

Jerzy Porębski

Jerzy Porębski (born 28 February 1956 in Bielsko-Biała, Poland) is a Polish documentary film producer, scriptwriter, screenwriter, director and agent for mountaineering books. Mountain culture consultant. His films mainly concern mountaineering and mountain rescue themes. He is interested in explorers, challenges, mountaineering, mountain culture and history. In 2016 co-founder and member of the board of mountain culture foundation "Historie dobrodruzstvi" in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Kim Chang-ho (climber)

Kim Chang-ho (Korean: 김창호) was a South Korean mountain climber. Kim began climbing after reading about Alexander the Great's exploits.In 2012, he won the Piolets d'or Asia award with An Chi-young when they made the first ever ascent of Himjung (7,092m) in Nepal; the British Mountaineering Council noted that, "Kim also made the first ascent of 7,762m Batura II. Together with Batura I West (7,775m), which remains virgin, Batura II was one of the highest unclimbed named summits in the Karakoram (and indeed Asia)".In 2013, he became the first Korean to climb all of the world's 14 mountains over 8,000 metres without using supplementary oxygen; in doing so he also set the record for completing the feat in the shortest time. His new world record of seven years, 10 months and six days was over a month quicker than the previous one, held by Jerzy Kukuczka of Poland. Unusually, Kim used an "eco-friendly" approach, taking 60 days to reach the Mount Everest base camp using "kayak, bicycle and foot" rather than flying to Lukla.He was killed, along with several others including fellow South Korean climbers and local mountain guides, in Nepal in October, 2018, when a snowstorm destroyed the 3500m-altitude base camp beneath Mount Gurja in the Dhaulagiri.

Krzysztof Wielicki

Krzysztof Wielicki (born January 5, 1950 in Szklarka Przygodzicka, municipality Ostrzeszów, Poland) is a Polish alpine and high-altitude climber, regarded as one of the greatest Polish climbers in history. He is the fifth man to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders and the first ever to climb Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, and Lhotse in the winter. He is a member of The Explorers Club.


Lhotse (Nepali: ल्होत्से L'hōtsē [loːtsi]; Tibetan: ལྷོ་རྩེ, lho rtse) is the fourth highest mountain in the world at 8,516 metres (27,940 ft), after Mount Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga. Part of the Everest massif, Lhotse is connected to the latter peak via the South Col. Lhotse means “South Peak” in Tibetan. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres (27,940 ft) above sea level, the mountain comprises the smaller peaks Lhotse Middle (East) at 8,414 m (27,605 ft), and Lhotse Shar at 8,383 m (27,503 ft). The summit is on the border between Tibet of China and the Khumbu region of Nepal.

Michał Pietrzak

Michał Pietrzak (Polish pronunciation: [ˈmixaw ˈpjɛtʂak]; born 3 April 1989) is a Polish athlete specialising in the 400 metres and 400 metres hurdles. He has won two medals in the 4 × 400 metres relay at the European Athletics Championships.

Park Young-seok

Park Young-seok (Korean: 박영석; Hanja: 朴英碩: November 2, 1963 – October 2011 on Annapurna) was a South Korean mountaineer.

In May 2005, he became the first person in the world to complete a Explorers Grand Slam. He climbed the world's 14 Eight-thousanders, the Seven Summits, and trekked to both poles. He holds the world's third fastest time (behind Kim Chang-ho of South Korea and Jerzy Kukuczka of Poland) for ascending the 14 Eight-thousanders, the Guinness World Record for climbing six of the 8,000-meter Himalayan peaks within one year, and another record for reaching the South Pole on foot in 44 days, self-sufficient and without any food re-supplies.

Ryszard Pawłowski

Ryszard Pawłowski (24 June 1950 in Bogatynia) - Polish alpine and high-altitude climber and photographer. Member of The Explorers Club.

Ryszard Pawlowski is the founder and co-owner of the Patagonia Mountain Agency. He has been climbing since 1970 and is an alpinism instructor and guide. He has climbed the mountains of North and South America, the Himalayas, Alps, Caucasus, Pamirs and Tian Shan.

He has summitted Mt. Everest five times - 13 May 1994, 12 May 1995, 18 May 1999, 20 May 2012 and 25 May 2014.

He has climbed with - Jerzy Kukuczka, Piotr Pustelnik, Janusz Majer, Krzysztof Wielicki.

He has summited ten of the fourteen 8000 metre peaks including K2.

Wojciech Kurtyka

Wojciech Kurtyka (also Voytek Kurtyka, born 25 July 1947, in Skrzynka near Kłodzko) is a Polish mountaineer and rock climber, one of the pioneers of the alpine style of climbing the biggest walls in the Greater Ranges. He lived in Wrocław up to 1974 when he moved to Kraków. He graduated as engineer in electronics (in 1973 at Wrocław University of Technology). In 1985 he conquered the "Shining Wall" Gasherbrum IV, which Climbing magazine declared to be the greatest achievement of mountaineering in the twentieth century. In 2016, he received the Piolet d'Or for lifetime achievement in mountaineering.

Zygmunt Andrzej Heinrich

Zygmunt Andrzej Heinrich (21 July 1937 in Łbowo, central Poland – 27 May 1989 in Mount Everest) was a Polish mountaineer. He died in an avalanche on the northwest slopes of Mount Everest in 1989.


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