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 Slovenian History - in the making

CHO OYU September/October 2001

Slovenian Police officers climbing/skiing team

Goal: Team to summit Cho Oyu 8201 meters oxygen free and ski from the summit to base camp. Successful outcome will result in Slovenians having skied 4 summits of the 8000m+ and Cho Oyu being skied oxygen free. Second goal, have a policemen do so.

Members of the team: Viki Groslja, Rafko Vodisek-cop, Franc Rozman-cop, Alez Miklavcic-cop, Robert Kralj-cop, Maks Trop-cop, Davo Karnicar, Izidor Kofler-cop, Tone Skarja, Matej Brajnik-cop and Dr.Igor Tekavcic. The cops were all of various units from communication to specialists.

After acclimatizing in the Katmandu area and each member climbing three 5000m + each they were ready to leave for Tibet on Sept.15th/01. Having reached the northern side and climbing to 5700m they set up camp under 8201m. The first night Robert Kralj came down with severe case of pulmonary edema regardless of the acclimatization he had undertaken. Since Robert was in a very serious condition, the brilliant treatment of Dr. Igor Tekavcic successfully treating him in a few days gave the team a boost of confidence and a boost which no doubt was shaken by the event. Roberts’s recovery was such that he looked after himself in only few days.

Having established the next camp at 6400m, seven members of the team were able to overnight in 2 days with gear and supplies in place. Camp 2 and 3 were established at 7100m and 7500m. Karnicar pitched the first tent by himself at 7100m and Brajnik and Rozman pitched at 7500m. Not bad, boys. Acclimatization continued and Groselj skied on 29th of September from 7500m to 6600m, a trial run.

Due to weather conditions, the summit attempts tried on October 2nd and 4th were postponed until settled conditions arrived. The result being a damper on the team’s enthusiasm particularly since Karnicar had to leave for Slovenia. Minus a team member, the goal remained the same. Ski the mountain.

On October 10th/01 Viki Groslja reached the summit alone having carried the skies with him at all times and strapping the bindings, successfully skied from the summit to camp two at 7100m, thus reaching the goal of skiing oxygen free the 4th 8000m+ by a Slovenian.

Several attempts later, going down and up from camps and keeping focused, the next attempt occurred on 15th & 16th of October at which time Brajnik and Kralj skied from 6250m saddle bellow Nangpa La, Groslja skied from Dezavapari II at 6386m. Good day for skiing. No further attempts for the summit were made due to continually deteriorating weather. But hey, one Slovenian skied for the rest of us.

Upon return to Slovenia, the team was met at the airport by impressive delegation of Police association dignitaries who have supported the organizational team from the beginning of its planning stage. 

Team of strong climbers, combined with disciplined and methodical experience in their chosen profession has succeeded. That’s it boys, keep it legal.  

Cvetka, January  2002

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