On May 16, Kazakh alpinist Denis Urubko ascended a new variation on the upper 500 meters of Lhotse (8516m) after observing the line with Simone Moro in the weeks before. Beginning from the South Col (7906m) at 6:10 a.m., Urubko branched off from the standard route to take a new line just below Lhotse’s north ridge on the western face of the mountain, reaching the main summit at 11:30 a.m. He said he decided to try the variation because it was such a logical line, adding that he was confused that nobody had attempted it before.
Urubko said this variation involved traversing on approximately 15-degree slopes and climbing two very short vertical sections–2 then 5 meters–to reach the West Face Couloir. Urubko reported that he was the first to the summit of Lhotse this season. He observed that “in last couloir [there] was almost nothing from [previous] expeditions.”
From the summit of Lhotse, Urubko descended all the way to Camp 2 (ca. 6500m), arriving there at 4 p.m. Feeling tired and fearing icefall beneath Camp 2, he spent the night there in his tent and left at 5 a.m. to descend to Base Camp, which he reached three hours later. There, he reunited with Moro, who wrote a brief blog entry that same day congratulating Urubko on his variation.