A Russian mountaineer who embarked on a risky solo bid to scale one of the world’s deadliest peaks after an argument with his teammates has abandoned his mission.
Denis Urubko was part of an expedition of elite climbers attempting the first winter ascent of K2 in the Himalayas.
But after a bitter disagreement within the group, the 44-year-old left his teammates at Base Camp, walking out of his tent with no radio and without telling his fellow climbers where he was going.
He is believed to have been determined to scale the peak alone this month in order to ensure the expedition counted as a winter climb, thereby ensuring he took the record.
But a post on the expedition’s official Facebook page said he had abandoned his bid and had spoken to other climbers Camp 2, 5,400 metres up the mountain.
His abandonment of his teammates had split opinions within the climbing community.
One described the attempt as “completely suicidal”, even for an experienced climber like Urubko.
Karim Shah, a friend of Urubko, added: “He is known as the ‘Himalayan expert’ among the mountaineering community… but his decision is not correct and does not suit someone of his stature.”
Nicknamed the Savage Mountain, it has claimed the lives of 77 climbers – one in every four to attempt to tackle it – and is the only peak above 8,000 metres never to have been conquered in winter.
Urubko has tackled all 14 of the world’s mountains over 8,000m. He made headlines last month as part of a team of three climbers who rescued stricken French climber Elisabeth Revol from the 8.126m Nangar Parbat.