Climber Attempts 'Suicidal' K2 Ascent, Quickly Changes Mind

Denis Urubko abandoned team after argument, is forced back to base camp
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 26, 2018 9:45 AM CST
Rogue K2 Climber Tries Solo Ascent, Quickly Changes Mind
The view from the first base camp, at nearly 20,000 feet on K2's North Ridge in the Xinjiang province of China, is seen during the summer of 2000.   (AP Photo/John Heilprin)

A climber who abandoned a Polish team following a dispute with fellow mountaineers to attempt a solo ascent of K2, the world's second-highest peak, returned to base camp on Monday because of bad weather, reports the AP. The news dispelled concerns expressed by the other climbers after Denis Urubko walked away from the team on Sunday to attempt a summit on his own—something that Pakistani climber Mirza Ali Baig tells the BBC is "completely suicidal." Urubko, a Russian-Polish national, had reportedly argued with team members. He left base camp on Sunday without informing the expedition management, and an expedition spokesman later tweeted they had no radio communication with him. Asghar Ali Porik, chief of Jasmine Tours, which organized logistics for the Polish K2 expedition, said Urubko returned to base camp 2, located at an altitude of 21,982 feet.

"He is known as the 'Himalayan expert' among the mountaineering community ... but his decision is not correct and does not suit someone of his stature," mountaineering pal Karim Shah says. Urubko was part of last month's mission, along with Adam Bielecki, that rescued French mountain climber Elisabeth Revol from Nanga Parbat, another Himalayan peak in Pakistan. Her climbing partner was injured and is presumed to have died during that summit. Ashraf Aman, the first Pakistani who climbed K2 in 1977, spoke highly of Urubko's skills and rescue of Revol. "He is the star of this era of mountaineering ... he has done the Broad Peak (another Himalayan summit) as a solo climber in 36 hours and just recently rescued (Revol) by climbing without a rope in the night," Aman said. Per Porik, Urubko will wait at base camp for the weather to improve and ascend the summit with the other team members.

(More mountain climber stories.)

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