On the 16th of October 1978 at 13:45, Polish Himalayan mountaineer Wanda Rutkiewicz stood on top of the world’s highest mountain. Just hours later, at around 17:15, the cardinals in Rome elected Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyła as Pope.
Although Wojtyła’s election ran as the most important event in the media at the time, the next day Rutkiewicz dominated news coverage – the first European woman to climb Mount Everest and the third woman ever to do so. According to Rutkiewicz herself, she braved the last 50 meters without oxygen as her mask had frozen.
One could say that the 16th, 17th and 18th of October 1978 became “the 3 great Polish days.”