Urubko: K2 Teams Have No Chance

As forecast, hurricane-force winds are currently pounding K2. The Eastern team in BC amuse themselves by posting clips of the violent gale on social media, while Alex Txikon and his Team-beyond-the-Wall enjoy slightly better shelter in their ice fortress.


Back in Europe, well-known climbers from Reinhold Messner to Krzysztof Wielicki have been offering non-committal opinions about the Winter K2 season to inquiring media. Everyone, that is, except Denis Urubko, who in opinions as in climbing, is always fully committed.

The Polish-Kazakh strongman believes, first of all, that winter in the Greater Ranges ends on March 1, not March 20. Since “Txikon is sitting in BC” and Pivtsov’s high point is the Black Pyramid, Urubko claims that there’s “no chance” of success on K2 this season. “It is impossible to go to K2 without significant acclimatization [and] a well-prepared road…They do not have time,” he told a Polish publication.

Coloring Urubko’s opinion, perhaps, is his ambition to climb K2 in winter himself as the capstone to his career.

Meanwhile, the ever-analytical Messner explained the difference in style between the teams that suggests why, despite an early and rumored alliance, the two are not working together: “While the first expedition advances with a typically Soviet method, based on many days of sacrifice and constant work, even in adverse conditions, the second moves less and only then can be fast. Txikon tries to reserve as much as possible the energies, physical and mental.”