Winter Gasherbrum I: Urubko Speeds Towards Jhola

Denis Urubko is on his way to Skardu for proper treatment of his frostbitten right hand. His friends (in Pakistan and abroad) have been coordinating to ask for evacuation options, but in the end, the best resource is Urubko himself. Nothing if not hardcore, Urubko is moving at a remarkably fast pace.

According to the latest news, Urubko reached Goro II today. He then passed Urdukas’ military camp and continued toward Kobutse, near the Paju camp usually used in summer. At this speed, he might get to Jhola (also spelled Jhula) camp tomorrow, one day earlier than expected. This is crucial, jeeps are waiting for him there, ready to drive him to Skardu Hospital.

Running for the road

In the morning, Urubko’s friends considered sending a helicopter for an emergency airlift. Unfortunately, the weather is very bad in the Baltoro area, so flying was not an option.

Sources consulted by Explorersweb mentioned no insurance issues, only bad weather is preventing aerial pickup.

A climber (Hassan Shigri) walks among crevasses on a snow-covered glacier.

Before the accident, Urubko sent a few images from the heavily crevassed Gasherbrum glacier. Photo: Denis Urubko


Urubko was trying to climb Gasherbrum I in winter. He counted on the help of Hassan Shigri to traverse the dangerous glacier up to 6,500m. From that point, he planned to continue solo.

The attempt came to an abrupt end when Urubko fell six or seven meters into a crevasse at roughly 5,500m on the glacier. Shigri needed an hour to drag him out in worsening weather and, in the process, Urubko sustained frostbite.

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.