Update 8/07/19: Urubko is down, safe and sound! He named his new route Honeymoon. In the image below, Honeymoon is the red line. For an interview with Urubko on his new route, visit mountain.ru.
Details are scant, but this much is certain: Denis Urubko, the Saint Bernard of the Himalayas, as he’s come to be known, has completed a new route, solo, without supplemental oxygen, up the 8,035-meter Gasherbrum II, in Pakistan.
Urubko, 46, traveled to Pakistan this summer with the intent of establishing a new route on GII, but hit several snags along the way that threatened to foil his plans. Urubko—originally from the Soviet Union, than a Kazakhstani citizen after the dissolution of the USSR, and now a dual Polish-Russian citizen—participated in a successful rescue operation on the adjacent Gasherbrum VII.
Following that rescue, Urubko participated in not one, but two additional rescue situations, bringing his rescue total for the season to three.
With all of the energy he expended on the rescues, some doubted whether he’d be in the correct physical condition or headspace to try to climb a new route. To complicate matters further, Urubko’s partner, María Cardel, injured her back earlier in the expedition. She would be unable to join him on any new route.
[Also Read Urubko Goes Rogue On Winter K2 Expedition]
Nonetheless, Urubko decided to go for it. He was certainly well-acclimatized—between his multiple rescues, and having already summited once for that specific purpose on July 18.
On July 30, Urubko made his way to Camp 1, accompanied through this more dangerous and unstable section by Canadian climber Don Bowie, Finnish climber Lotta Hintsa, and American climber Matthew James.
On the evening of Wednesday, July 31, Urubko continued up alone. He took no satellite phone or radio.
A tense day-and-a-half followed—no word from Urubko. But then today his team posted an update on Facebook: “Denis summited Gasherbrum2 by a new route, alone, without O2. He is now in C1.”
Now all that remains is the story of what happened along the way. Details here as they become available!