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Voytek Kurtyka is one of the greatest alpinists of all time. Born in 1947, he was one of the leading lights of the Polish golden age of mountaineering that redefined Himalayan climbing in the 1970s and 1980s. His visionary approach to climbing resulted in many renowned ascents, such as the complete Broad Peak traverse, the ‘night-naked’ speed climbsof Cho Oyu and Shishapangma and, above all, the alpine-style first ascent of the west face of Gasherbrum IV. Dubbed the ‘climb of the century’, his route on GIV with the Austrian Robert Schauer is – as of 2017 – unrepeated.
His most frequent climbing partners were alpine legends of their time: Polish Himalayan giant Jerzy Kukuczka, Swiss mountain guide Erhard Loretan and British alpinist Alex MacIntyre. After repeated requests to accept the Piolets d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award (the Oscars of the climbing world), Kurtyka finally accepted the honour in the spring of 2016. A fiercely private individual, he has declined countless invitations for interviews, lectures and festival appearances, but he has agreed to collaborate with internationally renowned and award-winning author Bernadette McDonald on this long-awaited biography.Art of Freedom is a profound and moving profile of one of the international climbing world’s most respected, complex and reclusive mountaineers.
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