Andrzej Maria Zawada

Visionary, Himalayan mountaineer, mountain climbing leader, man of action. When he started climbing in the 1950s, he was already reaching for the highest goals. He loved climbing in winter. In 1959, together with his team, he managed, for the first time ever in winter, to cross a seventy-five kilometres long Main Ridge of the Tatra Mountains. Winter passages, second in history: Bonatti routes on the Grand Pilier d'Angle of Mont Blanc in 1965 and the north wall of Aiguille Blanche de Peutérey were a prelude to what was inevitable in 1971.

At that time, he successfully led an expedition to the virgin Kunyang Chhish 7852 m above sea level, marking, for the first time after World War II, Polish presence in the highest mountains. In 1974 he lead the expedition to Lhotse 8501 m a.s.l. which managed, for the first time in the history of mountaineering, to cover eight thousand metres in winter. In 1980 he achieved the impossible. Under his supervision, the national expedition to Mount Everest 8848 m a.s.l. managed to conquer the Himalayan giant for the first time in winter. Since then, global Himalayan mountaineering was supposed to acquire a new chapter in history, written by Polish “Ice Warriors.” He fought until the very end with the mountain giants of the Himalayas and Karakoram. He died in August, 2000, while planning his next winter expedition to K2.

Continuing the legacy of Andrzej Zawada, Poles were the first to climb as much as eleven of the fourteen summits of eight-thousanders in winter. Today, only K2 awaits for daredevils.