After the Spaniard Alex Txikon and his companions on Annapurna I in western Nepal abandoned their expedition and returned home, Denis Urubko is the only remaining mountaineer still hoping for success on an eight-thousander this winter: on Gasherbrum I, also known as Hidden Peak, in the Karakoram in Pakistan.
Together with his Pakistani companion Hassan Shigri, the 50-year-old climbed through the icefall above the base camp towards Camp 1 (5,900 meters) and deposited equipment. Urubko reported to his partner, the Spanish climber Pipi Cardell, that he had had to break trail through a 30 to 80 centimeter high layer of snow. Denis plans to continue climbing alone from Camp 2 at around 6,400 meters.
No longer than the end of February
Urubko, who was born in the Russian North Caucasus, wants to reach the summit at 8,080 meters before the end of February, i.e. in the meteorological winter. Only then, Urubko believes, will it really be a winter ascent. The only summit success to date on Gasherbrum I in the cold season was achieved by the two Poles Adam Bielecki and Janusz Golab on 9 March 2012 – in the calendar winter.
Urubko has already stood on eight-thousand-meter peaks 27 times, always without bottled oxygen. He achieved two first winter ascents of eight-thousanders: of the 8,485-meter-high Makalu (in 2009 with the Italian Simone Moro) and the 8,034-meter-high Gasherbrum II (in 2011 with Moro and the American Cory Richards).