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The Terribly Terrible Jannu North Wall
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Apr 27, 2004 16: 56 EST
Odintsov and the Russian Big Wall team are back on Jannu, also called the Peak of Horror, a name they would definitely not disagree with: Many teams of the world's best climbers have tried to summit the North Face, but it remains unclimbed. Last year the team attempted an autumn climb of the wall but were thwarted by bad weather.

The latest from the team:

“Hi friends!

For three days we’ve had real bad weather: heavy snow and a strong wind all day long. Bolotov's three-man group stayed at 7000 this whole time. Yesterday, the guys came down to BC after getting stuck on a problem up there.

It wasn’t easy, especially taking into account the strong snowfall and constant avalanches. Judging by their looks Bolotov, Borisov and Kirievsky had no idea that they were back in BC until they began to warm up a bit.

After taking the day to recover their strength the climbers, led by Odintsov, built a sexy snow-woman in BC. Odintsov, probably inspired by Michelangelo, modeled a rather (cough, cough) expressive figure. [Check out the pg-13 snow mama in the photo below.]

On April 25 in the morning, there was no snow. The weather improved a little and reminded us of the weather last autumn. With one difference: in the autumn after 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. it starts raining; now it begins snowing…at all altitudes.

The first half of the day allows us the freedom to maneuver. The other half? Only god knows.”

In the autumn of the last year the Russian climbers managed to reach the record altitude - 7200 meters, this year they have reached 7000 in two weeks. So far they are ahead of last years record attempt. But the team led by Alexander Odintsov does not consider that record the victory they strove for. Only a completely laid "Russian" route can satisfy them. They are sure that such an ascent will become a symbol of the highest climbing achievement, a combination of brilliant techniques, hard work and high altitudes.

Recalling their trip through the ice-fall last year, Alexander Odintsov, the team leader, said, “It was terribly terrible. It is indescribable! Every time, you had to force yourself to move. You reached the safe part on the serac, and there was something to the right and to the left of you. You thought that you had only to traverse that way and to climb the serac, then to rappel from it to a crevasse, climb the next reeling serac and then to rappel again into a crevasse. Then there was another serac and you needed to move to the next serac on fixed rope… It was indescribably terrible. The seracs were really hanging above you, above your head, here - just about ready to fall… And the most interesting thing is that they were falling with certain regularity. There were 15 collapses a day as Ivan Samoylenko counted.”

The Russian Big Wall project was born 10 years ago. The Russian dream-team lead by Alexandre Odintsov aimed to establish 10 new routes on the hardest Big Walls. Six of them have being completed already. Last fall they attempted Jannu for the first time, but the weather was just too rough.

Images of the route and from top down the climbers, Camp 2 at 6700m, and the snow-woman courtesy of Mountain.ru.
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