Wanda Rutkiewicz, one of the greatest female climbers of all time, died 28 years ago

May 13, 2020

Wanda Rutkiewicz, a Polish climber, was the first female to have climbed K2 (8611 m), also the first Pole, first European woman & 3rd woman in history to have climbed Mount Everest. She died on Kangchenjunga, aged 49, probably on 13th May 1992.

Rutkiewicz was born on  February 4th 1943. She studied electrical engineering at Wroclaw University of Technology. Her first major expedition was to the Pamir Mountains. Afterwards she began to lead her own expeditions.

10 years after reaching Mount Everest in 1978, she became the first woman to climb K2, the world’s second-highest mountain (considered to be the deadliest peak in existence). She did it without using supplemental oxygen.

During her climbing career she successfully climbed the following mountains:

  • 1975 – Gasherbrum
  • 1978 – Mount Everest
  • 1985 – Nanga Parbat
  • 1986 – K2
  • 1987 – Shishapangma
  • 1989 – Gasherbrum II
  • 1990 – Gasherbrum I
  • 1991 – Cho Oyu
  • 1991 – Annapurna I
  • 1992 – Kanchenjunga

6 years later after reaching K2 Rutkiewicz died on Kanchenjunga – the world’s third highest mountain. She was 49.

Her body was never found.

Google Doodle celebrated Wanda Rutkiewicz on the 41st anniversary of her ascent of Mount Everest

Climbing Mount Everest has cost so many lives. More than 300 climbers have met with their end on Mount Everest till now.

Below is a more comprehensive statistic on Mount Everest deaths published by climbinggearlab.com.

Mount Everest Death Statistics Table By Nationality

SN Nationality Death Count
1 Nepal 115
2 India 24
3 Japan 21
4 United States 19
5 United Kingdom 18
6 China 12
7 South Korea 11
8 Australia 8
9 Germany 7
10 Poland 7
11 Russia 7
12 Canada 6
13 Czechoslovakia 5
14 France 5
15 Spain 4
16 Austria 3
17 Bulgaria 3
18 Ireland 3
19 Italy 3
20 New Zealand 3
21 Czech Republic 2
22 Denmark 2
23 Hungary 2
24 Switzerland 2
25 Taiwan 2
26 Yugoslavia 2
27 Bangladesh 1
28 Belgium 1
29 Brazil 1
30 Cambodia 1
31 Chile 1
32 Macedonia 1
33 Netherlands 1
34 Slovakia 1
35 Slovenia 1
36 Sweden 1
37 Ukraine 1
38 Vietnam 1
39 Unknown 1

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