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Denis Urubko on winter Makalu

Interviewed by Tomasz Mazur for the Góry Magazine #178 (March 2009)

You not only ascended on top of Makalu in winter as first - but also you have broken Polish "monopoly" on this. More, Do you have some consciousness of historic changes? Something is ending and something begins...

I am looking for epic Polish climbs in Himalayas and understood that it happened by climbers who make not only winter ascents. They were able to make new routes for 8000 meters peaks. It is from sportive relation to mountains. But Andrzej Zawada, Kukuczka and Piotrowski dead, Wielicki and Kurtyka don't climb highest mountains now... Sorry, what we have to see now? Some time happened Gold age of any country sport... It’s not depending from persons - famous climbers as a best example of total development only. I don't feel as to broke something make new rules. Simone and me become able to be ready for one necessary moment. Of course it took from both of us man trainings, power and motivation. But at once it should be happened, because many climbers have desire about winter 8000.


In the last few years, Himalayan mountaineering was in some regress from one side and, from other hand we can see "crowd" of tourists on Everest, etc. In your opinion where is place for "pro" climbers in Himalaya? In winter attempts? Or in speed solo style a la Ueli Steck

Mountaineering is a Freedom. Why I can to press somebody for my "standartship"? Everybody will make their owns self climbs. Ascent from people that you mean, probably. And it helps you to recognize real development of mountaineering.

It happened ever time by sportive rules.
Is not necessary agree the man to be a sportsman, or not, make publicity for their stile or not. But such of that climbs happened better than any before. More difficultly, quicker, solo... with girlfriend ;)...

In my humble opinion, Hi-altitude Mountains is a beautiful arena for realization of personal exploration. Are too many factors against human. Inside of him and outside... I like trying to make new difficult routes on 8000 meters peaks in future and dream about speed ascent to Everest - without oxygen from south side. Can you sponsor me?


Yours ascend looked as "easy and pleasing". What are the most differences for you between winter and summer Himalayan mountaineering? Did you have any despair? What surprised you the most? What did you not expected?
Is one of the most big different - that a wind, hurricane. When people not able to understand how to work, how tot do anything. Your body become not under control. Your mind also. It's as a shock during not a one moment, but some hours. To choose any movement man concentrates all feeling, attention and power. Any step loosing lot of power... For example, Simone and me went by rocks, but coming wave of wind throw us on knees, hit by stones. Was no possible to amaze, witch side you fell down it next second. . To be able cross it - we need big experience and much training before.

Voyteck Kurtyka claims that "alpinism is the art of suffering - how do you find any motivation to be on the summit of an 8000m peak at - 40 C and winds up to 100 km/h? It is hard to think that you like it
My English was not enough to understand Voyteck's words.

But in any case motivation... Why people are climbing mountains? Philosofic question. I am not able to find the answer. Winter Makalu - I need to be on summit. As a man, who become able to be stronger than his lazy part of mind. The soul's victory against fear and doubts... What more...

It wasn't decision to be first only... Was enough motivation. I wish to be real sportsman.

Now I feel warm and pleasure from any glass of simple water. It's other side of climbing. People become able keep the pleasure from very simple and pure details of life.


At the end, personal question. History of mountaineering knows lots of climbing duets, but your and Simone's country background is quite different. What is special in yours partnership?

Specific of our cooperation in mountain is in our characters. Many details we count different. Simone get as a funny and pleasure. I am too much serious. In this reason:

For me any expedition with him become as a happy adventure.

For Simone my concentration gives more possibilities don't be nervous.

It's in m humble opinion. By other we are normal team as some other partners.

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