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Missing Climbers Declared Dead on Broad Peak

On March 6, 2013, Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski of Poland went missing on Broad Peak in Pakistan. They have just been declared dead by the expedition team leader. The day prior they had just made the first winter ascent of the mountain with Artur Malek and Adam Bielecki, also of Poland.

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Photo of Broad Peak fromhttp://polishwinterhimalaism.plOn March 6, 2013, Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski of Poland went missing on Broad Peak in Pakistan. They have just been declared dead by the expedition team leader. The day prior to their disappearance they had made the first winter ascent of the mountain with Artur Malek and Adam Bielecki, also of Poland.

Malek and Bielecki were able to make it safely down to Camp 4 (7,400 feet) after summiting. However, Berbeka and Kowalski had to bivy at 7,900 feet. The last reported contact with the missing climbers was at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6. Given the time that has elapsed since last contact and the severity of the environment, expedition team members are now certain the two climbers are deceased.

“Taking into account the time that has passed since the last contact, altitude where it took place, their condition, current weather conditions and all other factors, I have to claim openly that both climbers are dead,” writes Krzysztof Wielicki, the expedition leader, on the team’s official website.

“The expedition has come to an end. We are packing the base camp and start to descend. March via the Baltoro Glacier will take approximately 5 days. We will come back to Poland on approximately 20th March.”

For Kowalski, age 27, this was his first ascent of an 8,000-meter peak. Berbeka, age 59, had completed first winter ascents of Manaslu in 1984 and Cho Oyu in 1985.

Read the original report on the missing climbers on Rock and Ice here.

Photo of Tomasz Kowalski by Artur Malek. Courtesy of Piotr Drozdz and the Polish Winter Himalaism Archive. Photo of Maciej Berbeka by Adam Bielecki. Courtesy of Piotr Drozdz and the Polish Winter Himalaism Archive.