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In memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)

In memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)

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In memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)

Page Type: Article

Object Title: In memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)

Activities: Mountaineering, Sport Climbing


Page By: Ivona

Created/Edited: May 11, 2008 / Apr 22, 2010

Object ID: 402961

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Page Score: 99.54%  - 117 Votes 

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Introduction and the most important atteinments

Wanda Rutkiewicz on Nanga Parbat (1985)
Wanda Rutkiewicz on Mount Everest 1978
Wanda Rutkiewicz before summit of Mount Everest 1978
I would like to remind SP community of wonderful woman,because of 16 th anniversary of her disappearance on Kangchenjunga 12th or 13th May in 1992.
This summit would have been her ninth 8000 meter peak and now she could probably have been the first woman who would reach all 14 8000meter peaks.She wanted to do it.She died on Kangchenjunga somewhere over 8000 meters while attempting via the southwest face route.She climbed with Carlos Carsolio. They started together at 3:30 am 12.05.1992 from camp
IV - 7950 meters. After about a dozen hours of climbing in a deep snow Carlos reached the top. He went down and met Wanda around 8200-8300 meters on the way down. She decided to stay there on a bivouac and started solo for the top the next day. No one ever saw Wanda again... She was the most famous Polish woman Alpine and Himalayan mountain climber :

Her 8000 meter peaks:

16.10.1978- Mount Everest- she was first European woman,
first Polish and third woman who reached it.
15.07.1985- Nanga Parbat-with Krystyna Palmowska and Anna Czerwinska.
They bacame first only women's team who scaled this peak.
23.06.1986- K2-the first ever woman on the top this peak,also first Polish.
18.09.1987- Shisha Pangma
12.07.1989- Gasherbrum II
16.07.1990- Gasherbrum I with Ewa Panejko-Pankiewicz
26.09.1991- Cho Oyu- solo ascent
22.10.1991- Annapurna- solo ascent via South Face

Her other more important atteinments:

1968- East Face of Trollryggen in Norway,with Halina Krüger-Syrokomska,
first women's ascent
1970- Pik Lenin (7134m),Pamir
1972- Noshaq (7492 m),Hindukush
1973- North Face of Eiger (3970m) first women's team ascent
with Danuta Gellner and Stefania Egierszdorff
1975- she was leading of Gasherbrum's expedition-very successful.
They reached virgin summit of Gasherbrum III (7946m) and after that
2 women( Halina Krüger-Syrokomska,Anna Okopinska) from this team
reached Gasherbrum II (8035m)
1978- North Face of Matterhorn in winter- women's team ascent
1985- Aconcagua- alpine style via South Face

Family and her life..

Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)
Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)
Wanda was born 4th February 1943 in the village Plungiany(today's Lithuania).Her family moved to Wroclaw in Western Poland after II world war. Wanda was touched by death in her family as a young girl.In 1949 died her elder brother.He was playing near the active mine.She had younger sister and brother as well.In 1972 died her father.Wanda didn't have strong relationship with him but he left her great passion for sport.She was training high jumping,volley-ball,jogging,shot-putting.Her mountain's adventure started at rocks near Jelenia Gora and climbing course in Tatra's in 1962.She liked climbing with women and was very independent.Wanda wanted to fight with stereotype of weak woman.Her climbing trainers were showing photos from different climbing accidents all the time,but she didn't give up;). She was a student of engineering college in Wroclaw,so her studies were also „occupied” by men;).Wanda was working as an engineer in Wroclaw and Warszawa.She had 2 husbands,but her great love was a German doctor climber Kurt Lyncekrüger who fell down and died on her eyes during their climb on Broad Peak.She broke her trip then.It was very hurtful event in her life and last life's partner.

About Wanda Rutkiewicz

Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)
„She lost 30 friends or partners during her 25-years of climbing.What an uncompromising spirit and unsubdued energy provide her again in the mountains”

„She doesn't have family and children,mountains are meaning of her life...”

Wanda said: „I had very interesting men but they have never created my life”

You can read about Wanda Rutkiewicz in books :
English language:
Jennifer Jordan „The life and death of the first women of K2”
Gertrude Reinisch „A Caravan of Dreams”
German language:
Gertrude Reinisch „Karawane der Träume”
Luisa Francia „Der untere Himmel. Frauen in eisigen Höhen”


Wanda Rutkiewicz on Nanga Parbat (1985)Wanda Rutkiewicz on Mount Everest 1978Wanda Rutkiewicz before summit of Mount Everest 1978Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)


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Voted 10/10

Thank you for writing about Wanda Rutkiewicz - a climber that we should not forget.
Posted May 19, 2008 9:06 am

IvonaRe: Thanks


Hasn't voted

That was one of my aims;)
thanks for voting!
Posted May 19, 2008 12:22 pm

Rob RicksVery humbling

Rob Ricks

Voted 10/10

Thanks for the inspiration. Obviously she lived a very rich life. A person like that makes me want to work harder to achieve my goals. She must have been a great person to be around.
Posted May 19, 2008 11:54 am

IvonaRe: Very humbling


Hasn't voted

I recommend you books about her.Wanda was really amazing person.
Thanks for your kind comment
Posted May 19, 2008 12:25 pm



Hasn't voted

thanks Ivona, when I was child and started with my mouteineering, she was my idol.
Posted May 19, 2008 1:50 pm

IvonaRe: nice


Hasn't voted

You're welcome! I'm glad to hear it.She is still my idol as well...and will be forever!

Posted May 19, 2008 3:54 pm

CharlesThanks for that!


Voted 10/10

Posted May 19, 2008 4:53 pm

IvonaRe: Thanks for that!


Hasn't voted

I'm glad you like it.
thanks for your vote!
Posted May 19, 2008 5:19 pm

fossanagreat piece


Voted 10/10

Thank you for putting this together. Wanda's accomplishments are most worthy of celebration (as is her Zeit Magazin quote).
Posted May 20, 2008 4:49 pm

IvonaRe: great piece


Hasn't voted

thanks for Your comment!
Posted May 21, 2008 3:17 pm



Hasn't voted

It's not a far time when I begin to climb. i know here with "My Vertical Universe" book.
Salute to her n all lost mountaineers.
A good sample for a newbies like me ;)
Posted May 21, 2008 3:49 pm

IvonaRe: Nice


Hasn't voted

thanks for your vote
Posted May 21, 2008 4:29 pm

paulrichard10Unsung Climbers

Hasn't voted

I've always been impressed by the Polish (modern) tradition of mountaineering/climbing. Many outside the climbing community are unaware of the accomplishments of Polish climbers.

Wanda Rutkiewicz had an incredible resume and it saddens me that she passed on.
Posted May 21, 2008 4:00 pm

IvonaRe: Unsung Climbers


Hasn't voted

thanks for Your compliments!
Posted May 22, 2008 10:22 am

reinhard2So many good comments


Voted 10/10

- I can only line up with the best of them!
Posted May 22, 2008 3:26 pm

IvonaRe: So many good comments


Hasn't voted

I'm glad you like it and that I could present Wanda,one of the most wonderful woman in climbing world.
Posted May 22, 2008 5:31 pm

chel3178Very Inspiring!


Voted 9/10

I thought this was a very inspiring story for women mountaineers and those of us interested in mountaineering. She began climbing during a time when there was still a lot of sexism and she obviously didn't let that slow her down! I also liked what she said about relationships and how men never "created her." Times have changed but women still face unique challenges. However without women like her we wouldn't be where we are today. May she rest in peace.
Posted May 31, 2008 10:11 pm

KerstinThank you


Voted 10/10

for creating this page about a great mountaineer. Has anyone here read the book about her called "A Caravan of Dreams"? I'd highly recommend it.
Posted Oct 12, 2008 11:08 pm

IvonaRe: Thank you


Hasn't voted

I'm glad to hear so many warm comments.Personally I read this book twice with great passion every time.Wanda is close to my heart!
Thank you Kerstin
Posted Oct 13, 2008 10:58 am

runawayreignbowRest in peace


Voted 10/10

what a loss, what an amazing woman and a true inspiration.
Posted Oct 20, 2008 8:50 am

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