Krzysztof Wielicki

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Krzysztof Wielicki
2018 - Pol’and’Rock Festival - Krzysztof Wielicki 02.jpg
Wielicki at the Pol'and'Rock Festival 2018
Personal information
Born (1950-01-05) 5 January 1950 (age 73)
Szklarka Przygodzicka, Poland
Climbing career
Known forFirst to climb Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, and Lhotse in winter

Krzysztof Jerzy Wielicki (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkʐɨʂtɔf vjɛˈlit͡skʲi]; born 5 January 1950) 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 winter. He is a member of The Explorers Club.


He was born on 5 January 1950 in Szklarka Przygodzicka, Greater Poland. He graduated from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology (WUST) where he studied electronics. He chaired the Tourism Committee in the Polish Students' Association at the Faculty of Electronics at the WUST. He started climbing in Sokoliki in May 1970. In 1972, he participated in his first climbing course and a winter camp led by Wanda Rutkiewicz.[1][2]

In 1973, he achieved first major international climbing successes during a camp in the Dolomites. Together with Bogdan Nowaczyk, he became the first climber to complete within one day the Via Italiano-Francese on Punta Civetta. He later travelled to climb in the Caucasus Mountains, Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains.

On 17 February 1980, as a member of Polish national expedition led by Andrzej Zawada, Wielicki and fellow climber Leszek Cichy became the first to climb an eight-thousander in the winter. He was also the first to make successful winter ascents of Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, and Lhotse, three out of four highest mountains in the world.[3][4]

He climbed Broad Peak during a solo expedition and made the first ever ascent of an eight-thousander from a base within 24 hours. He climbed Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma alone establishing new routes. He also made a solo ascent of Gasherbrum II and Nanga Parbat, a feat that was only witnessed by a few Pakistani shepherds. He participated in a number of expeditions on K2. In 1996, he made an ascent of the mountain along the north pillar together with two Italian climbers.[5]

He organized the 2002-2003 Polish winter expedition on K2, which failed to reach the summit. He made another attempt to climb an eight-thousander in the winter by organizing an expedition on Nanga Parbat (2006-2007) but was forced to turn back due to adverse weather conditions. In 2013, he led an expedition to climb Broad Peak in the winter. On 5 March, Adam Bielecki, Artur Małek, Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski reached the summit for the first time in history during winter (Berbeka and Kowalski died while descending from the mountain).[6] In 2018, he led another unsuccessful expedition to reach the summit of K2 in the winter.[7]

In January 2022, he released his autobiography entitled Solo. Moje samotne wspinaczki (Solo. My Solitary Climbs) which "delves into the climber’s circumstances, emotions and motivations that led him to undertake each of his solitary ascents".[8]


In 2001, he received the Lowell Thomas Award conferred by The Explorers Club. He was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 2003, for his outstanding achievements in alpinism and for popularizing the sport of climbing. In 2015, he was awarded Wrocław University of Science and Technology Medal for his achievements in alpinism.[9]

In 2017, the International Astronomical Union approved the name of asteroid discovered by Vincenzo Silvano Casulli as 173094 Wielicki in honour of the Polish climber.[10]

In 2018, he received jointly with Reinhold Messner the Princess of Asturias Award in the category of Sports.[11] The 2019 Piolet d'Or was awarded in September 2019 to Wielicki as the 11th Lifetime Achievement award.[12][13][14]

Major ascents[edit]

Year Mountain Height (in metres) Remarks
1980 Mount Everest 8848 First winter ascent of an 8000-meter peak (with Leszek Cichy)
1984 Broad Peak 8051 First one-day ascent of an 8000-meter peak (solo)
1984, 1992 Manaslu 8163 New route on the South-South-East Face
1986 Kangchenjunga 8586 First winter ascent of Kangchenjunga (with Jerzy Kukuczka)
1986 Makalu 8485 Alpine style
1988 Lhotse 8516 First winter ascent of Lhotse (solo)
1990 Dhaulagiri 8167 New route, solo expedition
1991 Annapurna Massif 8091 Bonington route
1993 Cho Oyu 8201 Polish route
1993 Shishapangma 8027 New route on the South Face, solo expedition, in 24 hours
1995, 2006 Gasherbrum II 8035 Solo expedition
1995 Gasherbrum I 8080 Alpine style
1996 K2 8611 Japanese route
1996 Nanga Parbat 8126 Kinshofer route, solo expedition

See also[edit]

Preceded by Princess of Asturias Award for Sports
(with Reinhold Messner)

Succeeded by


  1. ^ "W Newsweeku: Czy Krzysztof Wielicki poprowadzi jeszcze Polaków w Himalaje?". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  2. ^ "Krzysztof Wielicki the famous Polish climber". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  3. ^ "Scaling the World's Most Lethal Mountain, in the Dead of Winter". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  4. ^ "35 lat temu Leszek Cichy i Krzysztof Wielicki jako pierwsi zdobyli zimą Mount Everest". Archived from the original on 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  5. ^ "W Newsweeku: Czy Krzysztof Wielicki poprowadzi jeszcze Polaków w Himalaje?". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  6. ^ "W Newsweeku: Czy Krzysztof Wielicki poprowadzi jeszcze Polaków w Himalaje?". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  7. ^ "Polish mountaineers end attempt to climb K2 in winter". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  8. ^ "Alpine legend Krzysztof Wielicki takes readers inside the mind of solo mountaineering in new tell-all biography". Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Zjazd absolwentów i zwiedzanie Politechniki Wrocławskiej". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  10. ^ "JPL Small-Body Database Browser". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  11. ^ "PRINCESS OF ASTURIAS AWARD FOR SPORTS 2018". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  12. ^ "The Lifetime Achievement Award". Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  13. ^ "Krzysztof Wielicki awarded Piolet d'Or Lifetime Achievement Award". Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  14. ^ "Piolet d'Or Carrière dla Krzysztofa Wielickiego!".

External links[edit]