At a time when the base camps of the great mountains of the Karakoram are crowded with tourists seeking to touch the sky with heel strikes and bottled oxygen, stories like those of Denis Urubko highlight the purest mountaineering. The one who seeks the summit without artifice or external aid. The struggle of man with the mountain. Ascents that are the history of world mountaineering and that contrast these days with the images of traffic jams in the upper part of K2.
That same route that 48 hours ago looked crowded with contenders for its summit today became the improvised place of celebration for Urubko, who celebrated his 49th birthday alone at the second highest point on the planet. The 8,611 meters then woke up deserted, too early for tourists to get there. A summit that is not one more for the Russian, since it equals with it the 26 eight-thousanders of Juanito Oiarzabal and aspires to overcome the Spanish in the coming days, in which he could launch the assault of his fourth eight thousand in just a few days.
Urubko, who two years ago temporarily retired, fed up with the panorama surrounding this sport, decided to return to activity just a few months ago with a project that is on its way to becoming historic. With permission to climb four of the five giants in Pakistan, the Russian has climbed three of them in just ten days and is now aiming for Gasherbrum I before the end of the summer. If he succeeds, he would become the mountaineer with the most eight-thousanders in history. A legend, although he already is.
Denis’ ascent of K2 is a feat in itself. Not only for accumulating the fatigue of the two previous ascents of Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II in just one week, but also because of the way in which he has carried it out. He made the entire journey alone. between the base camp of the Gasherbrums and K2 with all the material behind him and he did not even stop at the base of the second highest place in the world. She continued her climb to rest for a few hours at Advanced Base Camp. From there, still at dawn, he left for the high altitude fields and by mid-afternoon on July 28 he was already in C2, although even there he did not stop his momentum. He continued alone towards the summit, which he finally reached a few hours later after having rested alone on C4, above 8,000 meters. The death zone.
An express ascent in addition to the one he carried out on Broad Peak (8,051) and Gasherbrum II (8,035), in which he took around 15 hours each. Now the Russian looks to the ‘Hidden Peak‘, as the other colossus (Gasherbrum I) located in its radius of action is colloquially known. 8,080 meters that now separate him from the history of mountaineering in which, whatever happens, his name is already part of it in gold letters.