Our athletes are friends and partners for us. Together with them we develop our highly functional BLACKYAK products. Their missions are as unique as the feedback and input they give us. After all, they are out and about all year round in all weather conditions and in every conceivable terrain. They are constantly testing our new products to find and eliminate any weaknesses. On their expeditions, they trust our products and prototypes to successfully complete their missions.
Jost Kobusch is a dreamer. In a positive sense. Because whenever Jost dreams of something, he sets out to make it happen. He approaches his goals sure and steady, step-by-step, and does not stop until he has achieved them. This is how the boy with a fear of heights became the extreme moun- taineer, Jost Kobusch. His final goal: Everest. Alone. In winter. Without the help of bottled oxygen, of course. Although he did not reach the summit on his first attempt, he learned a great deal and will try again. And again. Until he achieves his objective.
Now Jost is also flying!
Hahaha, yes, I fly. Of course, not completely without equipment, I have a license for paragliding. When I moved to Chamonix, the opportunity simply presented itself: I can train more intensively by climbing up the mountains and preserve my joints by flying down with the paraglider.
You just mentioned your joints. During your winter expedition on Everest you hurt your foot, right?
Exactly, the strain, the temperatures, the many walks have left their mark and it took some time before I was able to perform prop- erly again. Now I would like to prepare myself with even better training, on the one hand, and with more care on the other.
How do you prepare for your adventures?
There’s no quick preparation guidebook for an Everest winter-climb. Basically, you pre- pare your whole lifetime. I do lots of Level 1 endurance training, lots of climbing, lots of mountaineering. It’s a mix, basically I do sports every day.
I love to do routes with partners, but when I do my bigger projects, soloing, I reach a state of deep flow. It’s a very meditative state and that’s where I learn a lot about myself. That’s a process I enjoy a lot. And of course: it’s the most difficult way to do it – so I love it!
I would like to climb all 8000m peaks alone and without bottled oxygen. But what most appeals to me is to try the Seven Summits Solo in winter – I couldn‘t imagine a greater challenge!
But in the end, it is always worth it, isn’t it? And that‘s what I like so much about BLACKYAK. Us athletes, we get the chance to turn the clothes we dream of into reality. There are hardly any limits to our creativity, and we create products that were not avail- able on the market before. The BLACKYAK development department takes our input seriously and pays attention to the highest functional demands. And I like this philos- ophy: Something new, never seen before, is created - in the end, this benefits all outdoor enthusiasts.
Minus two-digit degrees, complete exhaustion, and a seemingly endless ice wall before him: In January 2018, Adam Bielecki accomplished one of the most remarkable feats in the recent history of Himalayan mountaineering. He and Denis Urubko saved Elisabeth Revol on Nanga Parbat. Read this exclusive interview about what “the alpinist who won’t stop smiling” gets up to when he is not volunteering for alpine rescue missions, and what keeps him going.
Adam, in Poland you are a superstar. You are recognized on the streets and fill all your lecture venues. How did you achieve such popularity?
In Poland, there is a long tradition of Himalayan mountaineering. We even have a national team that is supported by the state. We are especially known for our winter expeditions. I also have a passion for it and have already climbed some peaks and new routes in winter. Due to the TV coverage some people already know me.
That is a bit of an understatement. What makes you so good at what you do?
When I was a young kid, I dreamed of being a professional climber. Since then I have trained to achieve my goals almost every day. I am very ambitious and persistent; I think these are some of the qualities you need to achieve your goals in Himalayan expeditions.
Would you say that mountaineers are a different breed of people?
Well, I guess a common thing about climbers is that they usually have strong personalities and they’re stubborn. Stubbornness is really necessary to get to the summit. But besides that, I don’t really think that there’s anything special about climbers, it’s just another social group, crazy and obsessed about mountains.
Where does this obsession come from – for you personally? What do you like most about your sport?
I think climbing is a very complex human behaviour and it’s hard to explain why we do it in just one sentence. Climbing consists of many aspects. There are ethical aspects, interpersonal aspects, spiritual ones but also aesthetic and athletic aspects to climbing. Maybe what attracts me most is explora- tion or the adventure of climbing. I really like establishing new routes, making first winter ascents and being in places where no one ever was.
Will you try to climb K2 in winter again?
We mountaineers don't like to talk much about our upcoming expeditions in advance, but K2 is the last 8000m high mountain un- climbed in winter. Of course, I will try to climb it again if the chance arises.
In 2018 you wore the newly devel- oped Watusi Down Suit.
What advantages did you get from it and how were you involved in the development of the suit?
I like to refer to the Watusi Down Suit as my baby. We put in an incredible amount of work and the result is just great, there is no better suit on the market for me. The developers at BLACKYAK have fulfilled my every wish. The ratio of weight to warmth-retention is a new benchmark and so it is possible to be much more agile on the mountain. I hope that with this suit I will one day stand on K2 in winter.