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Denis Urubko (Russian: Дени́с Ви́кторович Уру́бко; 29 July 1973) is a mountaineer. In 2009, as a citizen of Kazakhstan he became the 15th person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders and the 8th person to achieve the feat without the use of supplementary oxygen. He had Soviet citizenship, but after the dissolution of the Soviet Union he became a citizen of Kazakhstan, but renounced the citizenship in 2012. In 2013, he received Russian citizenship and in February 12, 2015 he received Polish citizenship.

Denis Urubko
Denis Urubko.jpg
Born Denis Viktorovich Urubko
(1973-07-29) 29 July 1973 (age 44)
Nevinnomyssk, RSFSR, USSR
Nationality Russian
Citizenship Russian and Polish
Occupation mountaineer
Known for 19 ascents of 8,000 metre peaks

In 2006, he won the Elbrus Speed Climbing competition which he did by setting a new speed record, climbing from Azau station to the summit in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 58 seconds (record beaten in 2010 by Andrzej Bargiel). This climb represents a vertical rise of almost 3,250 metres or more than 10,600 feet and thus a speed of more than 800 vertical metres (2,600 vertical feet) an hour. He summited almost 40 minutes ahead of the next finisher.[1] He has also won the Khan Tengri Mountain Festival when he speed climbed the mountain from Base Camp at 4,200 metres to the summit at 7,010 metres and then back to Base Camp in 12 hours and 21 minutes, winning by over 3 hours.[2]

He has climbed two 8,000 metre peaks in winter. Makalu in 2009 together with Simone Moro and Gasherbrum II in 2011 together with Cory Richards and again Simone Moro. He has also opened new routes on Cho Oyu, Manaslu and Broad Peak.[3] All together he has 19 ascents of 8,000 metre peaks. He is also a "Snow Leopard" having summited the five 7,000 metre peaks of the former USSR in only 42 days in 1999. He climbs without additional oxygen.

On January 27th, 2018, Urubko, along with Adam Bielecki, led a rescue operation on Nanga Parbat to save climbers Elisabeth Revol and Tomasz Mackiewicz, who were stuck on the mountain. Bielecki and Urubko, who had been attempting a winter summit of K2, were brought to the mountain by helicopter and climbed over 1000m through the night to reach Revol. They succeeded in bringing Revol to safety, but, due to the severe weather conditions, were unable to save Mackiewicz.[4][5].

He was part of the Krzysztof Wielicki led Polish winter expedition on K2 in 2017/2018. The team has called off their expedition because of bad weather and safety of the climbers. Hence K2 remains unclimbed in winter. Due to the heavy snowfall it is assumed that the routes towards upper camps are blocked and the threat of avalanche is increased. Also there is high chance of destruction of Camp 1, Camp 2 and Camp 3 as well. In addition, only one good weather window was expected around 11th March 2018, but probably it was a very short time period for summit push and it might endanger the life of the climbers, as analyzed by Wielicki.From the first week of January 2018, they started activity via Cesen/Basque route. The rotation continued till 25th January 2018. Meanwhile Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki, Jarek Botor and Piotr Tomala took part the rescue operation of Polish climber Tomasz (Tomek) Mackiewicz who was stuck on Nanga while attempting for summit[6]. However, from 1st February 2018, they restarted their activities via Cesen/Basque route. Then the team chose the Abruzzi Spur route on K2 and cancelled their previous approach via Cesen/Basque route due to an accident causing injury to Rafal Fronia on 9th February 2018, which forced him to abandon his expedition. Via Cesen/Basque route they reached up to 6300m, while on Abruzzi Spur route they reached up to 7400m. However in his solo attempt Denis Urubku reported that he probably reached up to 7600m[7].

The following month it was reported that he had started a solo winter ascent of K2, after arguing with members of his expedition.[8] He abandoned the attempt the following day. The attempt was criticised by fellow climbers.[9]


  1. ^ Urubko Crushes Mt. Elbrus Course.
  2. ^ "Khan Tengri Mountain Festival". 
  3. ^ "Climbers - First 14". 
  4. ^ "Polish rescue team finds French climber on Pakistan's 'Killer Mountain". Reuters. 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2018-01-28. 
  5. ^ "THE KILLER MOUNTAIN MAY KILL AGAIN". 31 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "THE KILLER MOUNTAIN MAY KILL AGAIN". 31 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "K2 remains notoriously savage during winter". 6 March 2018. 
  8. ^ "K2: Fears for climber Denis Urubko after expedition row". BBC News. 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2018-02-26. 
  9. ^ "K2: Climber Denis Urubko aborts 'suicidal' solo ascent". BBC News. 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2018-02-26. 

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