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Conquering the Skies Czech-Style

“Conquering the skies” is the title of a book by Radek Jaros (with Arnost Tabasek) that has just been published. Unfortunately, the book is available in Czech only. It covers expeditions to Everest 1994 (led by Josef Rakoncaj) and 1998 (led by Zdenek Hruby), Kangchenjunga 2000 (led by Josef Simunek) and 2002 (led by Zdenek Hruby) and K2 2001 (led by Zdenek Hruby). Radek, a passionate photographer, summitted Everest in 1998 and Kangchenjunga in 2002, and reached 8100m on K2, each time without bottled oxygen or high-altitude porters. Although the book includes Radek’s personal accounts from each of these expeditions, its real core are the photographs from the three tallest peaks in the world.

Radek (with Jiri Skoda) have also finished a short documentary movie from the 2002 three-man Czech PRE Expedition to Kangchenjunga that summitted on the South-West Face. The narration of the movie is only in Czech, too, but the authors and the producer are working on its English version -- for those outside of the Czech Republic, who would like to see the documentary from an extraordinarily tough climb, as well as the magnificent views from the ascent.

What have the members of the 2002 Czech PRE Expedition to Kangchenjunga been doing since?

Radek Jaros, a professional climber, a photographer and a motivational speaker enjoyed the chance to return to rock-climbing, mainly in the Czech Republic, as well as climbing in the Alps in Austria and Italy. The book, the film, and a calendar claimed, however,  a lot of his time.

Martin Minarik (Manaslu, Kangchenjunga, both without bottled oxygen) is a co-owner of a tour operator Romantic Czech Tours based in Blatnicka, Czech Republic, and in Seattle. He spend much of his summer and fall with his American clients in the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia. His clients loved the romantic old cities and towns of Central Europe and of the Mediterranean, but they much enjoyed mountains of the region, as well, which gave Martin some excellent opportunities for climbing.

What are the plans of members of the 2002 Czech PRE Kangchenjunga Expedition for the next season? After the ambitious tiny expedition this year they are seriously thinking about an even more challenging undertaking (to be disclosed at a due time). Martin and Radek will, however, have to do without their good friend, a prominent Czech climber and a successful expedition leader, Zdenek Hruby (Gasherbrum I and II, Cho-Oyu, Lhotse; North Col on Everest; 8100m on K2, all without bottled oxygen or high-altitude porters).

Zdenek, a respected Czech economist and an accomplished civil servant, has in the meantime become Deputy Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic. In the near future, instead of conquering the skies, Zdenek will be conquering the fiscal stability and an early European Union membership of his country. 

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