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Denis the Menace: Quits Expedition after failed solo attempt on K2

PictureDenis in Base Camp Afternoon Feb 26 Courtesy: TVN24.pl

Heeding to his highly developed mountaineering instincts, Denis Urubko decided to abandon his summit bid on K2 and has retreated to Base Camp.

Reasons stated for the retreat are high winds and bad weather. Denis left the Base Camp on Saturday, February 24th without informing the Expedition Leader Kryzsztof Wielecki in an attempt to summit the Savage Mountain alone. As fatal as it may sound, Denis had full realization that any misadventure during this attempt is going to put him into a very awkward position.


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Denis was talking to TVN24.pl when he announced his departure from the Polish Base Camp and the eventual conclusion of his K2 winter attempt for the year. Citing rules that he has laid himself, Denis reasoned that the end of February marks the limit of credible winter ascent and he personally believes that any ascent after February should not be considered as an official winter ascent.

​Regardless of whatever standards he has set for himself, it is now more than obvious that he is not welcome in the Polish camp anymore and probably he never will be.


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Without any remorse, Denis questioned the decisions made by the expedition leader Kryzsztof Wielecki.

Expressing his mistrust on Wielecki, he said;

“I do not think I have to say sorry. They are not angels either. Wielicki allowed me to enter the third camp and later he told me to come back for reasons I do not understand. Okay, we’re men, climbers. This is not a situation to say sorry. Nobody apologized for their mistakes. My opinion remains the same.”


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Denis, who is a born Kazak and thereby ethnically Russian, got his Polish nationality just three years ago. His unruly behavior and his betrayal has generated heated discussion in Russia and Poland but what has been professionally unreasonable is his disrespect of the mountain and underestimating a giant like K2. While preparing for the K2 Winter expedition from the North (Chinese) side 2014-15, Denis had grossly overestimated his capabilities calling the expedition
​“Just another climb”. 

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​“Do you mean my personal ability? I think that I am able to reach 9,500 meters without oxygen… but on the easy (classic) route. The crisis limit when I was younger was above 8,600m; now it is higher, I suppose. This is due to my experience.” Denis said during an interview in 2014-15.

Of all the good tidings mountaineering brings along with it, humility remains the most cherished treasure of all. 


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