In memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)

In memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz (1943-1992)

Page Type Page Type: Article
Activities Activities: Mountaineering, Sport Climbing

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”


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 52

Afzal - May 11, 2008 2:54 pm - Voted 10/10

Great Article about Great Women Climber!

Thanks for writing article on Wanda Rutkiewicz, unrivalled leader of feminine mountaineering. Wanda Rutkiewicz was a most forceful, determined person and lady-mountaineer. In re-cognition of her numerous contributions to feminine mountaineering she received many awards and distinctions, including the prestigious Sitara-e Imtiaz (Star of Distinction) award of Pakistan.


Ivona - May 11, 2008 3:00 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great Article about Great Women Climber!

She was able to do all these great climbs due to your beautiful country as well.She is worthy of our memory.
Thank you Afzal for your valuable comments

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Ejnar Fjerdingstad - May 12, 2008 9:45 am - Voted 10/10

What a

woman! What an example to everybody!


Ivona - May 12, 2008 1:37 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: What a

I admire her as well.She made a choice in her life and was constant!


Corax - May 12, 2008 4:43 pm - Voted 10/10

Good addition

Wanda really deserves a place here on SP.


Ivona - May 13, 2008 3:43 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Good addition

yes,I agree as woman on SP;)


tleaf - May 12, 2008 5:22 pm - Voted 10/10


article on Wanda! I was a big fan of hers and remember when she disappeard. Thank you.


Ivona - May 13, 2008 3:50 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Excellent

I thought that this currant anniversary would be the best time to write about her.I'm glad that I can present the first great woman on SP


rpc - May 12, 2008 7:04 pm - Voted 10/10

good article!

thank you for writing & posting up!


Ivona - May 13, 2008 3:50 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: good article!

thank you!


lcarreau - May 13, 2008 12:38 pm - Voted 10/10

Wanda was doing

what she loved the most, and her spirit did not waiver; instead,
it continued its ascent into the clouds. Nice article, Ivona!!
What became of her Doctor climbing friend? Did he also meet with
tragedy? We can all learn something from this fascinating woman!


Ivona - May 13, 2008 3:57 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Wanda was doing

Larry,the doctor died during their climb on Broad Peak.He was climing with Wanda then.
I admire Wanda because of her determination and great life energy.
Thanks for Your vote!


alpinistahombre - May 16, 2008 8:24 am - Voted 10/10


I don't have the words... for such great accomplishments


Ivona - May 16, 2008 10:59 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Outstanding!

thanks for Your vote!

Foxy Long Bottoms

Foxy Long Bottoms - May 16, 2008 6:07 pm - Voted 10/10


I love this quote about her: "I had very interesting men but they have never created my life"


Ivona - May 16, 2008 6:57 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Thanks!

yes,indeed ;) interesting statement;)


Cyrill - May 17, 2008 2:41 pm - Voted 10/10


one of the few excluded


Ivona - May 19, 2008 12:17 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: interesting

thank You Cyrill!


blazin - May 17, 2008 5:32 pm - Voted 10/10


...(apologies for lapsing into non-english)...

wlasnie z kumplem wczoraj gadalismy o rutkiwewicz, ale zupelnie zapomnialem ze akurat padla rocznica jej smierci. wielkie dzieki za informacje, niech wszycy wiedza o dziejach polskich alpinistow!


Ivona - May 19, 2008 12:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: super!

dokladnie tak samo uwazam;)

Viewing: 1-20 of 52