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OKD staff members gearing up for conquering Mount Everest, plan to start their climb from the bottom of Paskov Mine 850 meters below sea level

OKD staff members gearing up for conquering Mount Everest, plan to start their climb from the bottom of Paskov Mine 850 meters below sea level

OSTRAVA (16 March 2009) – By the end of March, OKD employees Věslav Chrzaszcz and Milan Pěgřímek will set out on a mountaineering expedition aiming to conquer Mount Everest. Their journey will get under way already on Friday, 20 March at the bottom of Paskov Mine shaft reaching down to the depth of 1156 meters under ground—thus, as a matter of fact, they will be starting their climb from the depth of 850 meters below sea level. If indeed the expedition reaches the summit of the Everest they will have negotiated an altitudinal difference of 9,698 meters.


A total of 142 eight-meter ladders are waiting for the mountain climbers in the Paskov Mine shaft. „They will be equipped with the most advanced protective and technical aids now available to all miners at the OKD under the Safety 2010 program,“ explained Václav Kabourek, Head of OKD's mining inspection unit.


OKD experts will keep an eye on the safety of the climb, and a physician from the Central Mine Rescue Station will be available to render assistance should the need arise. He will stand ready in the headgear tower cage which will always be kept at a close distance from the mountaineers. „We have already worked off our share of riding down and up the mines at OKD but climbing up the mine shaft on our own, by flexing our own muscles, will be a novelty for me. It's an original challenge,“ said Pěgřímek who works in the mine ventilation section of CSM Mine.


Then the expedition will take up again in one week's time, the climbers will leave Vienna for Kathmandu on 27 March. The next leg of their journey will be a transfer to Tibet, followed by acclimatization at base camp situated at an elevation of 5,200 meters above sea level. Depending on prevailing conditions they would like to reach the Everest summit approximately by 20 May, climbing from the north side of the mountain by the North East Ridge Route. „Getting properly acclimatized will be most important, we mustn't rush anything. We know that safety comes first and foremost, and that it can only be ensured by preparing ourselves with full responsibility,“ says Chrzaszcz who works as foreman at the Services Center where he takes part in repairs of mining machinery and equipment. His workplace is within the premises of Karviná Mine.


The idea of setting out for the expedition from deep underground has been conceived when planning the expedition's budget which will be supported in part also by OKD's contribution, specifically by Karviná Mine and CSM Mine acting as sponsors. „We are not interested in any cheap way of promoting the two of us or our employer, we are not after any entry in the Guiness Book of World Records. Starting the climb from the mine bottom amounts to the same kind of challenge for us as conquering the Everest, and combining the two appealed to use an as original idea. And simultaneously, as an opportunity for presenting the demanding work of miners who otherwise are unlikely to be frequently noted by the media except in cases of some unfortunate accident,“ Chrzaszcz added.


Technical notes for the media:


Věslav Chrzaszcz

  • Age 47, lives at Stonava.
  • An employee of OKD; he works as engineering workshop foreman in the Services Center which is a unit within the OKD organizational structure.
  • Member of TJ Baník Karviná Mountain Climbers' Club.
  • His previous climbs include, for example, Shisha Pangma (8043 meters above sea level, in 2005) and Mt. McKinley (6200 meters above sea level, in 2007).


Milan Pěgřímek

  • Age 55, lives atTěrlicko.
  • An employee of OKD; he works at CSM Mine, in the mine ventilation section.
  • Member of TJ Baník Karviná Mountain Climbers' Club.
  • Has done the same climbs as VCh—they climb in tandem. In addition, he has reached for example, Pik Kommunizma in the Pamir Mountains.



Mount Everest

  • Height above sea level: 8848 meters (according to some sources, 8850 meters based on GPS measurements taken in 1999).
  • Called Sagarmatha in Nepalese (meaning Head of the Sky).
  • The Tibetan name of the mountain is Qomolangma or Chomolungma (meaning Mother of the World).
  • The correct pronunciation (in Czech) is 'maunt everest' or 'maunt everist'.
  • Has been conquered by ten Czech mountain climbers until now.


Paskov Mine

  • Paskov Mine has been created by merging Paskov Works and Staříč Works. The history of either of the two is rather brief—mining at Paskov Works began in 1966, at Staříč as late as in 1971. Initially, Paskov and Staříč were independent mines which on the 1st of January, 1994 were merged to a single entity called Paskov Mine; coal mining at Paskov Works was terminated at the end of the 1990s.
  • The annual production of coal varies around one million tons, amounting to less than one tenth of OKD's total production.
  • There is a workforce of ca. 2,800 at Paskov Mine. In addition, ca. 500 employees of subcontractor companies take part in the coal extraction process.


Vladislav Sobol, Spokesman of OKD Corp.