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New route on Nuptse East named, 'Lunar Sonata'
12:40 p.m. EST Nov 10, 2003
The Russian duo are now down in Namche Bazaar after their first ascent of Nuptse East. Nuptse East, the 7804m peak was formerly the tallest unclimbed mountain in the world. Babanov said upon his return to Base Camp after the summit, “It is simply incredible to describe how we lived through that night - there are no such words…Parts of our souls have remained at the top till now and for this reason it seems to us, that we cannot till now find our place in the world of people. We named our route ‘The Lunar Sonata’ this name in the best way defines our sincere condition for the time we were at the top.” Today is also Babanov's birthday - what a way to celebrate!

This climb is no doubt a good contender to win the Russian Climbing Championships. In Koshelenko’s recent dispatch from Namche, they are coming to terms with their success and the feelings that it has created. For Babanov especially this has been an amazing journey – to achieve your dreams after trying on no less than three expeditions. It just makes the summit that much more sweet. These guys can expect a very very warm welcome when they return to Russia.


Yury Koshelenko reports from Namche Bazaar:

"We are in Namche. The body is knitting gradually with the soul. We feel strange sense. As an idea - a comparison with a billiard sphere beaten out of the limits of a table comes. This is an interesting condition of consciousness, but it is difficult to use fruitfully because of difficulty of the control... It is badly controlled. The mountain has already kept away from us. It opened her embraces. The sensations from contact with her reality are already delayed and are less powerful, the reality is fixed in the past, but still yesterday we lived in it.

The southeast ridge is technically very completed, interesting, and magnificent with beauty of its line. It comes to an end at 6900m with a wide crest. This crest rests against a pre-topmost snow-ice slope and a summit tower.
For the ascending of the further part of the route we had to sacrifice something. The weight played the first role as a brake on our way to the top, and we left sleeping bags, spongy mat, products, and unnecessary personal things. We settled two cold camps: at 7200m and at 7450 m (the third one was settled on descending route).

Then made the push to the top with the uncompromising decision to go up to the end, despite of a close night, a dense wind and a dense frost and also the obvious difficulty and uncertainty with the descent. Only this renunciation and the correct route we had chosen allowed us to summit the top for four pitches up to the maximum point. During that moment we controlled ourselves, and partly the situation. It cost to us of considerable efforts. I do not know at all, when we can restore them. But the mountain is ours, i.e. - Russian. As it heats our souls. And what about you?

Yury Koshelenko, the 9th of November 2003"


This was Valery Babanov's third attempt on the peak in one year. Prior to Nuptse East, 7804m, Babanov made a remarkable solo first ascent on northern wall of Meru Central peak (the ‘shark fin’) in 2001. Joining him this year is Yuri Koshelenko.

Image of Babanov and translation of the team’s dispatch courtesy of our friends at Mountain.ru



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