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Turkish journalist, blogger and media expert. Writes regular columns for Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Arab Weekly, Vocal Europe and HuffPost.
Climbing to peaks is an obsession as old as the history of humankind. Nothing stops it, nothing. No risk changes a climber's mind from wanting to reach new heights, under any conditions. So, after the death of renowned mountaineer Ueli Steck - known for his rapid ascents of the Alps which earned him the nickname the “Swiss Machine” - in an accident in Nepal near Mount Everest, a group of Polish climbers will attempt K2 in winter - a feat never accomplished.
K2, arguably the most difficult one to attempt, yields only to Everest in height, but it is much deadlier. Atop K2's near-vertical slopes, glacial icefalls dislodge car-size hunks of ice, and winds around the summit often reach hurricane speeds.
Ten Polish mountaineers will hope to make history by conquering the summit next winter. Only four of the team will try to make it to the top; each have lost partners on climbs and they know very well that they may not return alive.
Here they are, the Polish climbers, known as the best of the best to climb the Himalayas in winter conditions. They are obsessed, obstinate, fearless. They are the prisoners of their dreams; captives of their ambitions.
What is it with them? How is it so that Poles, these daredevil men, have developed such skills? As they prepare for the K2 adventure, we learn much about history, and all the elements that make them of the "right stuff".