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Russian North Face awesome images from 8000m
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May 13, 2004 18: 09 EST
The Russian Everest Central North face team reached the rock bastion at 7900m earlier this week. From here up to 8500m the climb is nothing but vertical rock wall. Just take a look at these images of the 600 meters of shear vertical face, it is truly the fortress on Everest. Today they are fixing ropes on the difficult lower part of the bastion starting at 8000m.

Shabaline and his team are responsible for the very difficult task at 8000m and the rest of the team is counting on them. “Everything depends on Shabaline's group working the bastion.”

Another team is hauling loads up to 7800m where they have set a third tent; this camp is on a tiny ledge that was literally hacked out of the ice wall. The Siberia team will come back to BC from their “chic hotel” in the green zone today and replace the teams on the massive wall.

“The team's working at the key part of the route – getting past this will be the defining point of the expedition's success. The key is the rock bastion between 7900 and 8500 m," said Victor Kozlov. If they reach 8500m during next week the team will be in a very good position for a summit attempt. When reaching the snowfield at 8600 the climbing should be easier and no fixed ropes needed.

"The two parties responsible for fixing the ropes on the bastion include such technical stars as Pavel Shabaline, Iljas Tukhvatullin, Yuri Koshelenko, Andrew Mariev and Victor Bobok. Yuri Ermachek's group left base camp May 7 to set camp at 7900.”
The challenge is tremendous; not since 1991 has anyone succeeded in climbing a non traditional route on Everest without the use of oxygen support. Only 15 people have ever achieved this, and these guys are going one harder; mapping a brand new route.

The final word: “We continue our ascent. We still have a small stock of time.”

The most exciting expedition on Everest this spring is the Russian Central North Face team. This is a severe, unclimbed, technical route to the left of the Hornbein/Japanese couloir. The guys are going straight up, on a clean and lofty face. The technical difficulty of the route along with the extreme altitude makes this one of the most difficult challenges in mountaineering.

The expedition is a Russian dream team. There are previous Everest summiteers, Golden Ice Axe winners, and many, many 8000m veterans. Images from Everest Central North Face team courtesy of Mountain.ru.

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