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Man's 'suicidal' solo mission to scale mountain is abruptly halted

Man's 'suicidal' solo mission to scale mountain is abruptly halted
Copyright REUTERS/FLickr/Stefanos Nikologianis
Copyright REUTERS/FLickr/Stefanos Nikologianis
By Sallyann Nicholls
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Russian-Polish mountaineer Denis Urubko planned to attempt the first winter ascent of K2 with a team of climbers, but abandoned base camp on Saturday after arguing with the expedition leader.


A Russian-Polish mountaineer has reportedly halted his attempt to summit the world’s second highest peak alone, an expedition spokesperson has said on Monday.

Experienced climber Denis Urubko planned to ascend K2 with a Polish team this winter, but broke away from the group on Saturday after a string of disagreements.

Speaking on behalf of the Polish expedition, Michal Leksinski said on Twitter that the 44-year-old was now making his way down the mountain after reaching C2, one of four camps that precede the push for the summit.

On Sunday, Pakistani climber Mirza Ali told AFP that a solo attempt to summit K2 would be “completely suicidal”, with fellow climber and friend Karim Shah adding that such a move was “very risky”, even for experienced mountaineers.

Addressing Urubko's act of defiance, Shah told AFP: "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."

Urubko abandoned his group and left base camp without a radio after raising frustrations that the climb was being unnecessarily delayed.

"He was trying to persuade the team to push for the summit in February," an unnamed porter accompanying the group told AFP.

“He has had a heated debate with the team leader and left for the summit without saying a word,” they added.

Urubko has ascended all 8,000ft-tall peaks in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, and in 2009 he became the eighth person to do so without supplementary oxygen.

K2 stands at 28,000ft above sea level on the China–Pakistan border and is 800ft shorter than Everest, but it is widely considered to be more difficult to climb due to its steep incline and unpredictable weather.

Also known as the Savage Mountain, at least 80 people have died during attempts to reach its peak as of 2010, while 302 have successfully reached the summit.

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