Denis Urubko in Pakistan to Climb Rakhiot Peak

Denis Urubko and Pipi Cardell are in Pakistan to climb 7,070m Rakhiot Peak, part of the Nanga Parbat massif.

A third person, Urubko’s good friend Maksim Berngard of Russia, rounds out the team. Urubko and Berngard climbed Koshar Gang together last winter.

The trio reached base camp yesterday, according to Carlos Garranzo’s blog. Although November is typically the off-season between fall and winter for high-altitude climbers, Urubko and company have no time to waste. Their permit expires on November 26. They plan to acclimatize by summiting an unclimbed 6,000m peak nearby.

Rakhiot Peak stands along one of the ridges issuing from Nanga’s main summit, about four kilometres northeast of the central peak. (In the opposite direction, to the southwest, is the Mazeno Ridge).

Rakhiot Peak, which also gives its name to the Rakhiot Face on the north side if the mountain, was first climbed in 1932 by a team led by Willi Merkl. Their initial goal was Nanga Parbat. The climbers made it to the top of Rakhiot Peak, but bad conditions pushed them back when they tried to follow the ridge to the main summit.

In September 2020, a Pakistani team attempted the peak, but bad conditions pushed them back from Camp 2. Before retreating, climber Asiff Bhati shot this video.

An unusual summer

Urubko spent what was, for him, a different type of summer. Instead of new routes, Urubko took a sporting approach to Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II, and K2 in Pakistan’s Karakoram. He climbed fast and on his own, but followed the normal, fixed routes. He hoped to beat Juanito Oiarzabal’s record for the most 8,000m summits without supplemental O2. In the end, he equaled Oiarzabal’s number. Both now stand at 26.

Now he has returned to Pakistan with his wife Pipi Cardell for a quiet climb. Last June, the pair climbed a reportedly virgin peak in a little-known area of 5,000 to 6,000m peaks a couple of days from Skardu.

Left to right, Maksim, Anwar Dyed of Lela Peak Expedition, Pipi Cardell, and Denis Urubko. Photo: Lela Peak Expedition via Carlos Garranzo


Conditions in Pakistan’s mountains in November are typically unstable. However, Urubko’s group is climbing southwest of the Karakoram’s best-known peaks, K2, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrums. Nanga Parbat actually lies in the Himalaya, and its weather differs slightly from that in the Karakoram. But Himalaya or Karakoram, the climbers should expect some very cold days ahead.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.