Denis Urubko Clarifies his Winter K2 Rumors

Denis Urubko made waves recently at Poland’s Ladek Mountain Festival, where he received a prestigious award for his new solo route Honeymoon on Gasherbrum II in 2019. Attending journalists jumped on two magical words he uttered: K2 and Winter.

Updates on social media removed the context; translation issues and eagerness for some good news this year did the rest. In just a few hours, the buzz was that Urubko was putting together an all-star team to attempt K2 — perhaps even this winter. His purported teammates, so went the rumors, would be Rafal Fronia, Marcin Kaczkan and Adam Bielecki — all of them great candidates, and all of them unaware of the supposed expedition.

ExplorersWeb went straight to Denis Urubko, who quickly cleared up the confusion.

“There is no such expedition,” Urubko said. “I am afraid journalists interpreted my words too freely, as usual.” His reference to a possible K2 expedition was his general musing on that project as ideal for his style and long years of preparation. As for Fronia, Bielecki and Kaczkan, he merely referred to them as the climbers he considers most able to summit K2 in winter.

During a lengthy interview with Dreamwanderlust.com, Urubko spoke of no fixed plans, but rather about three dream projects he’d like to undertake, under the right circumstances. In addition to winter K2, he said that he would consider supporting his wife Maria Cardell, if she decided to attempt a new route on an 8,000’er.

Finally he added that he would eventually like to set a record of 27 x 8,000’er summits*. However, Urubko saw such a count as a long-term project, in which he would consider climbing normal routes under standard conditions and maybe even using O2.

Maria Cardell and an upside-down Denis Urubko. Photo: Instagram

 

So, rumors aside, Denis Urubko’s “retirement” from high-altitude climbing may more flexible than it first seemed. We may well see him in action in the Himalaya in future. But for now, the Kazakh-born climber has done exactly what he promised: He has focused on rock climbing and crag-to-crag travels across Italy with his wife.

*Note: As we understand it, Urubko means to climb more 8,000m peaks than any other person who has summited all 14 at least once. Under such conditions, the present record is held by Juan Oiarzabal of Spain, with 26. Purba Tashi Sherpa has stepped on the summits of 8,000’ers 30 times, mainly Everest, but has not climbed Makalu, Kangchenjunga or any of Pakistan’s 8,000m peaks.

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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RGP
RGP
1 year ago

27 is meaningless, current record holder has 36 (Kami Rita)

MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
1 year ago
Reply to  RGP

Were Kami Rita’s summits without O2? Guessing probably not, since he was guiding for many of those.

MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
1 year ago