Urubko Wins Speed Climb


Denis Urubko, the standout high-altitude mountaineer from Kazakhstan, has won the speed-climbing competition up Amangeldy Peak for the fourth time. Amangeldy, near the Kazakh city of Almaty, is a 13,120-foot rocky summit with a 4.3-mile trail to the top. Doesn’t sound so tough, does it? But these climbers race in winter and climb more than 5,000 vertical feet in a little over 1 hour 15 minutes—an astonishing pace of nearly 4,000 vertical feet an hour. (Try it sometime!) The late Anatoly Boukreev holds the record for the ascent at 1 hour 8 minutes, and the competition is held in his honor.Urubko previously won the Amangeldy climb in 1997, ’98 and ’99. He has climbed eight 8,000-meter peaks in the past four years, all without supplemental oxygen. Urubko also raced up Gasherbrum II in Pakistan, covering the 7,300 vertical feet from basecamp to the 26,362-foot summit in 7 hours 30 minutes.