While Messner would finish a year ahead of Kukuczka, it would take Messner
16 years to complete this feat compared to only 8 for Kukuczka.
Kukuczka was born in Katowice (Poland) in 1948, and died attempting the
South Face of Lhotse on October 24, 1989 at an altitude of about 8200 meters.
A second-hand rope he had picked up in a market in Katmandu snapped during the
climb plunging him to his death. During his quest for the 14 summits Kukuczka
would establish nine new routes and would perform one solo summit, four in
alpine style, and four during the winter. In fact given that Kukuczka
established so many new routes and made many of his ascents during the winter
combined with operating from an impoverished communist country (Kukuczka's
equipment was often hand-made and clothes second-hand) many consider his
achievement to be greater that Messner's.
On May 19, 1980 Kukuczka and Andrzej Czok (on the Polish National
Expedition led by Andrezej Zswada) established a new Everest route by
following the South Pillar on the right-hand edge of the Southwest Face.
It is one of 15 established routes.
His 8000-meter climbs included:
1979 - Lhotse
1980 - Mount Everest
1981 - Makalu (solo)
1982 - Broad Peak
1983 - Gasherbrum II
1983 - Gasherbrum I
1984 - Broad Peak
1985 - Dhaulagiri
1985 - Cho Oyu
1985 - Nanga Parbat
1986 - Kangchenjunga
1986 - K2
1986 - Manaslu
1987 - Annapurna I
1987 - Shishapangma
1989 - Lhotse Unclimbed South Face
in winter (died)