Urubko Goes Home — No Record This Time

Denis Urubko has decided to go home without breaking the record for the most no-O2 8,000’ers. After chain-summiting Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II, and K2 without supplementary oxygen, he remains tied at 26 with Basque climber Juanito Oiarzabal.

“[I’m] obviously satisfied with what has been done,” he wrote on social media.

He was considering doing Broad Peak a second time for number 27 and the record, but bad weather has now settled on the Karakoram, dissuading him.

“It started snowing on the way down to K2 Base Camp,” he told his wife, Maria Cardell.

With limited time available — he is supposed to be back in Skardu by Wednesday — he could have only attempted Broad Peak a second time in ideal conditions. Gasherbrum I, further away, was out of the question.

At 49, Urubko has plenty of time to rack up more summits. In previous interviews, he also shared some ideas for other projects: to climb a new route on an 8,000’er or a winter climb, for example.

snowy Gasherbrum Base Camp

A snowy Gasherbrum Base Camp today. Photo: Denis Urubko

Fast and light, but not new

On his comeback to 8,000m climbing, Urubko decided to go to the Karakoram with permits for all the Baltoro’s 8,000’ers. He never intended to get first to the top or to open new routes, as he has done in the past. He simply wanted to do some “fast and light” climbs up the normal routes.

Before heading to the Karakoram, he topped out an unclimbed 5,975m peak in the Shigar Valley with his wife, Maria Cardell.

Urubko selfie in tent

Denis Urubko at Camp 3 on Broad Peak. Photo: Denis Urubko


Then he moved on to Broad Peak. Here, he summited quickly, opening a trail on the upper sections on July 19. On Gasherbrum II, he set off alone from Base Camp at 3:00 am and reached the summit at 18:20 local time. His home team said that he had found no one in the upper camps.

Then on 8,611m K2, he celebrated his 49th birthday by climbing alone via the normal Abruzzi Spur route in a 36 hour-push from Advanced Base Camp to the top and back.

birthday cake with congratulatory icing for his 3 summits

Urubko’s birthday cake. Photo: Denis Urubko


Editor’s Note:  Urubko’s total number of summits varies with the source. His home team has stated that K2 was his 26th summit, so we’ve gone with that figure until we have a chance to confirm with Urubko himself.

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.