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Denis Urubko (Almaty)


Makalu rules .

Макалу зимой

Winter light on Makalu

Makalu is the top 8463 m high. Nobody climbed it in Winter. Last winter the team of Central Sport Club of Kazakhstan Army tried to climb the normal route on Makalu in the beginning of 2008, but retried. I tested there the clothing of Sivera company for the first time - in so terrible conditions:.

What's the main trouble in winter Makalu climb? The WIND, of course.

(Look at the expedition day, 26 January, 2008 Denis Urubko, SMS (12-00 Moscow time): "Eugeny felt bad in the morning, but the descent attempt was failed due to the hurricane. It became better in midday, so we managed to descend to the icefall. Eugeny is coninuing to BC, I have returned to 6400. We're waiting..." - ed. note)

"When me and Eugeny reached the slope opened to the wind, we could went up not more than fifty steps - so hard wind cut off us from the ground: from the ice. The wind beated us so hard, that it was impossible to resist standing, and we almost crept, without assorting what is created around: We're forced to return to our tent.
And only through a pair of hours when the wind took a small time-out, we managed to break through this blockade. We managed to descent from 6300 till 6100. Stump Eugeny has started wandering downwards via the snow field, and I on all fours, almost become stupid from wild force of a storm, have returned up to Samoilov..

The hour later we've seen from ou tent that Eugeny descended successfully and reached the beginning of the rocky slope. He was in safety. Serguey looked out of the tent in one of the moments of calm, and said:

- Signori are ascending:They've reached the glacier already.
- Where? - I was surprised. - Let me look!

Having looked out of tent and having blinked eyes on bright light, I managed to see, how tiny points move at the glacier's end. But it was impossible to understand what were they doing.
- They're so far:
- It looks like they are turning back:
- Upps: And what about summit bid?

And we saw how Italian trio did hundred steps up from the edge of glacier and then has crawled away back. The glacier was empty again:

- The wind's pressing them, - said Samoilov.

- Of course. I can imagine, how difficult is it for Nives! She's so tiny:

- Pechaps, she's like a kite on the rope:

We couldn't go further that day. And looked at the second attempt of our Italian friends to climb upworse from the rocks. Unfortunately, the wind was so strong that they were beaten not less, than us. And again they was forced to return. It became clear that the Italian attempt of summit bid is over ".

Samoilov creeps to the ice-axe.

Frozen lakes.

Denis on Makalu in winter 2008

I flied on a storm wind two times in my life. One of them has happened at height of 7400 metres on Makalu slope. That time a wind blew us away before reaching the crest - my backpack became similar to a balloon, pulled me upwards.
By turns, connected by the rope, we flew above the col. I do not say lies - every of us really flied 7-8 metres. And then fell on the other side, where the wind slightly weakened... It was terrible. Then we had survived after the night on a rocky ledge. And in the morning have tried to make the way further. But at 7500 when Samoilov has been torn off from the ice-axe, and he has flown away downwind on some metres, I have understood that it is necessary to turn back.

In this case the route becomes a kind of the trap. It is possible to go up through Makalu Col, to try to reach the top, but... If the wind has amplified, you won't descend back. Because, in such wild funnel of the winds, which speed reaches 200 kilometres per hour, a human can't survive. The western storm will carry away his frozen soul towards Lhasa. And she will soar over Tibet in search of eternal beauty, which has not found in her life.

Near the Base Camp the frost squeezed out the lakes's  surfaces. And they became similar to a pineapple peel. And the life in BC became similar to mentality test.

"The troubles in the winter Makalu BC is clear for those only who had to sustain those terrible conditions. The incessantly the tent trembles over your head, when ropes, which are keeping the tent, are hooting on the wind, and the wind incessantly hummers the handfuls of sand and snow inside the tent. Fragility of your life is underlined also by a furious rumble of top somewhere far from you. She sings, she cries on us, poor guys, who not clearly what for coming on her slopes. She mourns over us with threat, with that mute question that sounds in each note of altitude".

So, here're Makalu winter rules:

1. To try not to look afar - because the wind with the snow beat eyes.
2. To think of the goal - if you're impressed with that occurs around, it becomes terrible.
3. To trust in the partner - the only belief which is possible THERE.

The winter ascent has definite game rules, especially on 8000. Now, in the beginning of 2009 we are going there with my friend Simone Moro. We have already climbed together many routes, and all of our expeditions became the Adventure. I hope, it will occur the same now.

I will put on SiVERA clothes. The suit Inta with Primaloft will be the tested protection in those conditions. I still prefer a footwear from La-SPORTIVA - it's a way to keep myself from the frostbites. And I'll use CAMP gear, as earlier.

Good luck for all!

Denis Urubko
Central Sport Club of Kazakhstan Army.