The goal of this expedition was my third ascent of a 7,000-meter peak. It was more than that, however: Baruntse, a peak in Makalu-Barun region of eastern Nepal, was a final test before my planned ascent of an 8000-m summit in summer 2024. With 3 such peaks under my belt, I knew I can attempt a mountain 1,000 meters higher.
An additional incentive was the fact, that the mountain had only 1 Polish ascent, made in 2011. Since then, no one from Poland has stood on the summit.
After trekking in the Makalu-Barun region, we and our trekking group reached the base camp below the mountain. Here we stayed, waiting for the weather window. The time was nerve-wracking, as the small teams could not agree among themselves on the issue of fixing the summit part, and we feared that no one would take up the challenge. Eventually, after much negotiation, we set off, aiming for the day with the least wind predicted.
The approach to Camp 1 on the West Col was already a good test of strength. From an altitude of 6150m, we moved at night across steep slope, leading towards the ridge. At first without difficulty, Baruntse becomed a challenge with its summit ridge, heavily exposed and full of cornices. Eventually we all stood on the summit at 1 pm on October 30. Great credit for this goes to our Sherpa guides, who secured key parts of the route. Amazingly, we were also the first team to stand on this 7000-m peak in 2023 (!).
At the summit, my watch indicated 7163 meters. This means that the true height of the summit is, reported by Nepalese maps, 7152 meters. It means that in that moment I stood on my highest mountain. The experience gained on it will pay off when attempting an eight-thousander next season.