Broad Peak: Urubko Goes It Alone

Laid low by pneumonia, an ailing Don Bowie flew back by helicopter to Skardu yesterday with Lotta Hintsa. Denis Urubko has chosen to stay and attempt Broad Peak alone!

The route is fixed up to 7,500 meters, securing crevassed areas and the bullet-hard lower ice slopes. In addition, he has more than two weeks before meteorological winter finishes at the end of February. For Urubko, who soloed Gasherbrum II in a blazingly fast 48 hours last summer, this is plenty of time for a crumb of good weather to give him a sporting chance to succeed.

Don Bowie and Lotta Hintsa leave Broad Peak BC.


Although high winds and storms are forecast over the next 12 days, the weather can shift suddenly in the Karakorum. In fact, the climbers reached their highest point precisely during one of those unexpected windows. Moreover, according to MeteoExploration, conditions are actually good today, tomorrow and Tuesday morning.

If anyone can solo Broad Peak in winter, it’s Denis Urubko. However, the risks are enormous: Urubko is not only the last man on Broad Peak (except for a small BC crew) but in the entire Baltoro area. No one is near if help is required.

When Urubko sacrificed a perfect summit day to help his sick partner down, he further demonstrated the unselfishness and human values that he has shown throughout his stellar career. As noted by RussianClimb, exactly 17 years ago, Urubko gave up a unique chance to summit winter K2 — he was already at 7,750m — in order to help a sick Marcin Kaczkan down during an epic descent.

Meanwhile, Don Bowie’s Instagram post below details the lung infection that forced him to abort their summit bid and quit the expedition.