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JANNU's peak of Horror 3 more summits today!
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May 28, 2004 20: 22 EST
"Everybody who can hold a gun goes up now!" reported the teams stellar Doc a few days back. 2 climbers spent almost a week without oxygen in the portaledge at 7400 meters working the final ropes, meter by meter. One had to descend only a few days before the two others reached the summit.

Yesterday the team reported: "The climb has been beyond the humanly possible. The team was 9 experienced and strong climbers. And yet the size of this challenge forced them beyond the limit. Today we have 6 injured climbers: Three with concussions, one with a broken rib, one with pulmonary, and one with bloodshot eyes."

Well, that didn't stop them. Today at 11 am, Nickolay Totmjanin, Gennady Kirievsky and Serguey Borisov summited Jannu as well!

Ruchkin and Pavlenko reached the top of Jannu at 3.30 May 26. Pavlenko desended to the portaledge at about 5pm, had a short rest and then went down to the camp at 7000.

Ruchkin came back to the portaledge one hour after Pavlenko, around 6 p.m. He expected to spend the night there, however about 8 p.m. he felt worse. He knew that he must go down to the thicker air at 7000 meters, where the camp was better and altitude drugs available.

He arrived at 7000m at 12pm with the help of Gennady Kirievsky who then went back up and summited with Nickolay Totmjanin, and the earlier injured Serguey Borisov today.

Ruchkin descended to BC with Pavlenko, and also the expedition leader Alexander Odintsov who had to turn back to BC due to deterioration of his health (he too was earlier injured). Alexey Bolotov aborted the push after breaking his crampon (Bolotov was also one of the earlier 3 injured climbers).

"Now the last summiteers are in Camp 3 at 7000 m. All's OK. The weather today isn't so bad, it's cloudy in the afternoon, and dry. We plan to evacuate upper camps tomorrow and all members will come back to BC, reported the doc to RussianClimb.

Our visa and our climbing permit expired May 24. Our plane from Kathmandu to Moscow departed the next day."

In the autumn of the last year the Russian climbers managed to reach the record altitude - 7200 meters. 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. 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.”

This year, the team reached 7000 in two weeks. Only a completely laid "Russian" route could satisfy them, a symbol of the highest climbing achievement, a combination of brilliant techniques, hard work and high altitudes.

The team has been climbing the equivalent of the walls of Empire State building, in hurricane force winds, at an altitude where American Airline jets fly. One climber worked the wall, bathing in sweat, the other standing frozen to the wall, while securing his mate.

The portaledge at 7000 m was their home, a place to restore strength for continuous work on extremely difficult surface in an altitude close to 8000 m.

They had to climb 70-90-degrees rock with blocks of ice and rocky cornices. They used 2-5 mm universal rocky pitons, 3 sizes of bent channels, stoppers, friends and Camelot's for aid climbing. Unscrewed bolts and sky hooks at some places.

There were blocks of firm ice covering the rocks with a thickness from several centimeters up to one meter. For those parts they used ice screws and other ice gear. Including the weight of their clothes, footwear and crampons - the lead climber was carrying around 15 kg. This highly technical climb was made in "Millet" footwear, warm multilayered clothes and Polartec gloves.

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. Seven of them have now been completed.

Images of the team and the route RussianClimb/ExplorersWeb







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