Poland’s Witkowsko Sisters’ Expedition to Deosai as First Female Winter Traverse

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Tazeen Akhtar
Pakistan owes a lot to our Polish friends in terms of their love and support for our country in all sectors including defence, energy, technology as well as tourism and not only for exploring our attractions but also for introducing them to their countrymen and the world. When Pakistan came into existence , Polish pilots of Air force were in the region who helped Pakistan raise our Air Force with their expertise shared with Pakistan.
In tourism, the Polish Mountaineers stand number one in bridging the gaps and making the success stories of climbing the deadly mountains in our North. Mountaineers Monika Witkowsko and Joanna Witkowsko are the fresh ambassadors bringing both countries further closer and cooperating. Both sisters explored the fascinating Deosai from 27 January to 5 February 2024 that was the first winter traverse of Deosai the plains that are situated at the highest place on the earth.
The Witkowska sisters are seasoned mountaineers with a passion for exploring challenging terrains. They have conquered several peaks worldwide, including Mont Blanc and Mount Elbrus, and are known for their adventurous spirit and commitment to pushing their limits.
Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation arranged a press conference to introduce the adventurous ladies and present their story and video to the summit of Pakistan’s largest mountain to the press.
The tourists dared to experience the expedition from January 27th to February 5th, 2024, in sub-zero temperatures, treacherous snow conditions only to be in the stark beauty of the vast plains, becoming the first to achieve this challenging winter crossing. Their accomplishment not only pushes the boundaries of human endurance but also shines a spotlight on the breathtaking landscapes of Pakistan’s northern regions.

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Witkowska sisters captivated the audience with their inspiring tale, sharing the challenges they faced and the triumphs they celebrated throughout their journey. They also presented a captivating video documenting their expedition, offering a glimpse into the stark beauty and demanding terrain of the Deosai Plains during the harsh winter months.
Mr. Aftab Ur Rehman Rana, Managing Director PTDC expressed his deep appreciation for the mountaineers’ remarkable feat, highlighting its significance in promoting adventure tourism in Pakistan.
He stated, “The successful winter traverse of the Deosai Plains by Monika and Joanna Witkowska is a testament to their courage, determination, and love for adventure. Their achievement will undoubtedly inspire others to explore the hidden gems of Pakistan and contribute to the growth of our tourism industry.”
The Deosai Plains, also known as the “Roof of the World,” are a unique high-altitude plateau located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Renowned for their diverse wildlife, serene beauty, and challenging terrain, the plains attract adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts worldwide.
The successful winter traverse of the Deosai Plains by the Witkowska sisters is a significant milestone for Pakistani tourism. It showcases the country’s potential for adventure tourism and highlights the breathtaking landscapes that await exploration. This achievement is sure to inspire more adventurers to embark on their own journeys in Pakistan, contributing to the growth and development of the tourism sector.

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Deosai, the second highest plateau in the world after Tibet, witnessed this historic expedition as Monika and Joanna traversed its challenging terrain alone, enduring harsh weather conditions with temperatures dropping as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius. Their ten-day journey from January 27th to February 5th, 2024, showcased extraordinary physical endurance and determination.
Mr. Aftab ur Rehman Rana, the Managing Director of PTDC, congratulated the duo on their exceptional feat and highlighted the significant impact of their expedition on promoting winter tourism in Pakistan. He emphasized that such endeavors would attract more adventure tourists to explore Pakistan’s mountainous regions during the winter season, traditionally considered an off-season for tourism.
Mr. Rana further elaborated on the beauty and biodiversity of Deosai, affectionately known as the “Land of the Giants,” which has been designated as a national park. He mentioned the conservation efforts that have led to an increase in the brown bear population, making Deosai an ideal destination for ecotourism during the summer months.
In her remarks, Monika Witkowska expressed gratitude for the warm welcome and reception extended by PTDC. As an avid traveler and K2 climber, she emphasized the challenges they faced during the expedition, starting from Shushar lake and concluding near Sadpara village. Joanna Mostowska, a ski expert and mother of four, echoed Monika’s sentiments and praised the hospitality of the Pakistani people, affirming that Pakistan is a safe destination for international tourists.
The reception concluded with the presentation of shields, ajraks, and souvenirs to the guests, symbolizing the enduring friendship and cultural exchange between Poland and Pakistan

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