4 February 2003

The letter from Denis Urubko

Lena, hello!

Certainly, you understand what is happening here, if you wish us less wind and lot of sun. Thank you for attention to our problems, don't worry. The Polish team has amazingly high team spirit and they work very effectively. I hope to have a successful finish of the expedition. That's for we are working hard on the mountain. But the progress is slow.

Denis at the Camp2

Photo by Denis Urubko

On Jan 29 we shake hands with Vassiliy and left for opposite directions. He went down to a valley with a large backpack and I started to climb again. This time with two young Polish guys- Marcek and Piotr. I was very determined to restore our Camp 2 (6750). We reached the place of the camp on Jan 30. I should remind that the Camp2 was at first established on Jan. 20 by Vassiliy, Ilyas and me. We spend there a night, but then the Camp was destroyed by fierce winds. Now I was moving up to reestablish the Camp 2 as it was also done with Camp 1. We set the tent higher than the previous place and built a snow wall against the wind. Slightly below we saw our destroyed tent. The weather was bad.

Our group carried five 50 m ropes, little amount of fuel and food. Another rope was already on place. In my night dreams I saw my girl-friend. The Camp 2 is a very strange place: when we've been here last time the same place I had the same dreams. In the morning Marcin and Piotr began to fix the ropes and I was busy with the tent: Brought some staff from the old one. Later I went up and brought three ropes to the guys, who were still busy with fixing. Afterwards I descended to the old Corean camp and found 5 fuel cans and some food. In the evening, after making 300 meters of rope Marcin and Piotr came back. They have had already some frostbites, but now Piotr felt himself worse and we decided that he should go down next day.

We expected that day that our support group will bring us ropes from the Camp 1. But new crevasse cut the route on the glacier after we left and our supporters spent quite some time to cross it. That's why they reach the Camp 1 only on Jan 31 and planned to reach Camp 2 next day. However, hard work delayed them considerably, they came to the Camp 1 very lately and the night was short and unpleasant.

On Jan 31 Piotr began to descend. I accompanied him since I wanted to meet one guy from the support team - the group could not climb higher. Despite of extremely bad weather (heavy snowfall and wind) Yatsek Teler brought 3 ropes to one third of the way to the Camp 2. I took these ropes plus one left on the route and brought them to the Camp 2. In the mean time Marcin worked on the route replacing and improving fixed ropes. Therefore, we had four ropes for tomorrow.

Piotr at the Camp 2
Photo by Denis Urubko

Marcin at the Camp 2. Photo by Denis Urubko.

In the morning we left with Marcin into mist and wind. The route after our fixed ropes was very steep and climbed it along the rib. We found some old ropes with pitons on the ends. I used them. After the second pitch the slope became less steep. Marcin was freezing and asked if he could return to the tents. Suddenly sun appeared, I felt myself very good , the slope is not very steep and I decided to continue alone. My previous solo climbs gave me confidence and I fixed another 100 meters till the altitude of 7200 m. We simply have to use all the opportunities.

When I returned to the tent and we began to descend to ABC. The wind was extremely strong. It is even difficult to explain- Several times I thought that these snowdrifts and blizzard will speep us away. We met Krzysztof and Yatsek Berbeka. They were climbing to the Camp 2. This was yesterday, but today wind ceased and the day is very sunny. The guys are working on the route and we think that they will advance. Another support group left today for the Camp 2.

By today we have: 950 meters of fixed ropes till Camp 1, 1350 m till Camp 2 and 670 m higher than Camp 2. I hope that Krzysztof and Yatsek will establish Camp 3 today.

Ciao! Good luck to everybody.

Denis, Feb. 3, 14-38

Sponsors of Denis: MANARAGA, SALICE, CSCA of Kazakhstan

Translated by Andrey Shiryaev

The message was transmitted with the satellite phone provided by "Rzeczpospolita"

Better weather ahead

Marcin and Piotr are installing fixed ropes at 7025. Photo by Denis Urubko.

The mountaineers have crossed the altitude of 7000 m on the Northern Pillar. Denis Urubko from Kazakhstan has worked for the first time in the new team, together with Piotr Morawski and Marcin Kaczkan. His climbing partners say that he is not only a wonderful and experienced alpinist, but also a superb companion up the mountains.

- Marcin, Denis and I headed for Camp II - said Piotr Morawski after returning to base. - Denis is very fast. He left us behind at the rocky barrier and when we reached Camp II, he had already been waiting for us an hour. We even got reprimanded for idling around. We emptied our rucksacks at Platform I cut the last time together with Marcin. We went down to the tent that had been destroyed by the wind. We loaded its contents into our rucksacks and carried everything onto the platform, where we pitched our new tent. The wind was blowing strong. At one moment, I realized that the sack containing my personal belongings had blown away.


The night passed rather calmly. In the morning, we set out with Marcin to establish fixed ropes above Camp II. It was snowing and foggy. Typical 'Tatra' Mountain weather. I was struggling valiantly with my goggles. They kept on freezing up and I had an icy, opaque pane in front of my eyes. Meanwhile, Denis was reinforcing the camp. He also brought more rope and examined the destroyed tents that had been left by previous expeditions and were now melted into the ice, thanks to which, I ate a three-year-old 'Snickers' bar and washed it down with some equally ancient coffee! Together with Marcin, we established 300 m of rope at 7025 m. We used up all the ropes we had. All in all, there are now 450 m of fixed ropes established above Camp II (6780 m). We were done with the icy slopes..... just for a while. We climbed the rocky pillar, where we found many ruined ropes. For the time being, the terrain is easy. We know, however, that it will rear up again later on. In the evening, Denis got very concerned with the condition of my toes. Dark spots appeared on them - frostbite! He asked me not to take any risks and to return, explaining that the work we were to do the next day could be done by him and Marcin alone. He thought that my staying one more night at Camp II might lead to chilblains that would prove even more serious. I agreed ..... even though I felt fine. I descended to base without any problems. I'm taking medicine, waiting to be able to set out to the mountains again, hopefully as part of the same team. We had a great time with Denis - says Piotr Morawski.

On Saturday, Jacek Teler and Michal Zielinski, at Denis' request, carried several hundred meters of rope above Camp I, as high as they could get. They covered about one fifth of the distance to Camp II. Urubko met them halfway, picked up a certain amount of rope and returned to Camp II in order to establish the next 200 m of ropes on the pillar together with Marcin Kaczkan on Sunday. This time, they worked in a hurricane. After performing the scheduled task, they descended to the base in the evening very tired, but in surprisingly good shape.

Their back-up is already at Camp II: Krzysztof Wielicki, Head of the Expedition, and Jacek Berbeka. On Monday, the rising generation of mountaineers consisting of Jacek Jawien, Bartek Duda and the already experienced Jurek Natkanski is to bring them more ropes. As you can see, traffic on the slope is busy, despite the bad weather. On Sunday evening, the wind calmed down. K2 has finally appeared from behind the mist and the clouds.

My computer has finally received good news from Muhammat Hanif, our weather wizard in Pakistan, whose forecasts have become almost indispensable. For the next four days, we are finally supposed to be having good weather. "Go ahead!" - says Hanif. - "Good luck!". We'll need it. Camp III is almost within our grasp.

Monika Rogozinska "Rzeczpospolita" from the base under K2. Feb. 2, 2003

(Polish - English translation: "Scrivanek")