Climber who left Polish team returns to Pakistan K2 camp

ISLAMABAD — A climber who abandoned a Polish team following a dispute with fellow mountaineers to attempt a solo ascent of K2, the world's second-highest peak, returned to base camp because of bad weather, a tour operator said Monday.

The news dispelled concerns expressed by the other climbers after Denis Urubko walked away from the team on Sunday to attempt a summit on his own — something that Karrar Haidri of the Alpine Club of Pakistan said was a highly risky feat in winter weather.

Urubko, a Russian-Polish national, had reportedly argued with team members. He left base camp on Sunday without informing the expedition management and expedition spokesman Michal Leksinski later tweeted they had no radio communication with him.

Asghar Ali Porik, chief of Jasmine tours which organized logistics for the Polish K2 expedition, said Urubko returned to base camp 2, located at an altitude of 6,700 meters (21,982 feet).

High wind and extremely rough weather, combined with an icy track forced Urubko to descend to base camp and rejoin the other expedition members, said Porik.

Urubko was part of last month's mission, along with Adam Bielecki, that rescued French mountain climber Elisabeth Revol from Nanga Parbat, another Himalayan peak in Pakistan. Her Polish climbing partner, Tomasz "Tomek" Mackiewicz, was injured and is presumed to have died during that summit.

According to Porik, the tour operator, Urubko will now wait at the base camp for the weather to improve and will ascend the summit with the other team members.

Ashraf Aman, the first Pakistani who climbed K2 in 1977, spoke highly of Urubko's skills and rescue of Revol.

"He is the star of this era of mountaineering ... he has done the 'broad peak' (another Himalayan summit) as a solo climber in 36 hours and just recently rescued (Revol) by climbing without a rope in the night," Aman said.

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