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    33th death anniversary of the greatest Polish climber of all times – Jerzy Kukuczka

    33 years ago, on October 24, Jerzy Kukuczka fell of the south face of Lhotse. The wall at an altitude of 8,380 m a.s.l. was an obstacle in an attempt to climb the summit with Ryszard Pawłowski. Kukuczka was the leader of the Expedition of the Silesian Himalayan Group.

    Jerzy Kukuczka was born in 1948 in Katowice. He died tragically in 1989 while trying to conquer the legendary southern wall of Lhotse, unreachable for any climber at the time. He is considered the greatest climber in history by many theoreticians. The most recognizable of his feats is the capture of the Crown of the Himalayas and Karakoram. He did this as the second man in the world. However, this was not the essence of his high altitude activities. First of all, the most valuable feature of Kukuczka’s achievements was a pioneering and innovative approach to himalaism. Of the fourteen eighteen thousand peaks constituting the Crown of the Himalayas, ten have climbed new routes, climbed four peaks first in winter, thirteen without oxygen, seven in alpine style, and one alone. He reached all the peaks in half the time of his predecessor – Reinhold Messner.

    Although Kukuczka’s tragic death took place many years ago, his character remains alive. His person constantly appears in the media, new books, articles, films and diploma theses are created. In the environment of climbers, he is often mentioned during mountain festivals, lectures, meetings. Several streets of Polish cities and the Katowice housing estate were named after him. He also became the patron of many schools and the University of Physical Education in Katowice. There is no doubt that Jerzy Kukuczka is a character who has permanently entered the history of Polish sport and, despite the passage of time, remains alive and valued.
    On the way to the Himalayan peaks Kukuczka was accompanied by excellent partners such as Wojtek Kurtyka, Artur Hajzer, Andrzej Czok, Krzysztof Wielicki, Tadeusz Piotrowski, Andrzej Zyga Heinrich, Tadeusz Piotrowski and Carlos Carsolio.

     

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