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Jannu, 7710
North Face

The "Big Wall - Russian Way" project consists in climbing new routes on the most famous walls in the world. A mountain wall is a natural phenomenal occurrence represented as a precipice more than 1000m long and with a steepness more than 70.

First Attempt: Fall-2003

The Team
At present phase of the Project the members of the team were confirmed.
The climbers are:

Alexander Odintsov- the leader, St.Petersburg

 

Alexander Ruchkin - St.Petersburg

 

Nikolay Totmyanin - St.Petersburg

 

Sergey Borisov - Ekatherinburg

 

Kirievsky Gennady, Magnitogorsk

 

Alexey Bolotov - Ekatherinburg

 

Mikhail Pershin - Ekatherinburg

 

Dmitry Pavlenko, Ekaterinburg

 

 

Mikhail Mihailov - Bishkek

 

Ivan Samoylenko - St.Petersburg

Mikhail Bakin - St.Petersburg

 

The Sponsors are:
"Panasonic",
"Bask",

the Committee of physical training and Sport under St.Petersburg' Administration.

Panasonic - Jannu North Face

Russian

Articles and News:

(8.08.2004) new!
xclusion photos and video film

The authors: Photo Aleksander Ruchkin, Mihail Mihaylov, video Mihail Mihaylov

(17.06.2004)
Jannu North Face. Portfolio

The author: Nikolay Totmjanin, S.Petersburg

(17.06.2004)
Alexander Ruchkin. Almost unreal

"...The mountain did not want to surrender. We wrung our positions working by three groups that replaced each other. It was possible to climb only 5 meters a day attacked by a gale-force wind. But what the meters it was! If to lift El-Capitan at 7000m we will get the same result as usual hanging fixed ropes on North Jannu face. Every day brought us more doubts, that we would not summit the mountain than we would do that. Some of us began to lost their nerve: if we climb only five meters a day on such difficult wall we will not climb it at all; we just can not imagine how many days we do need to climb up all of these 700 meters of the wall..."

(12.06.2004)
The North Face's HEROS. Jannu. Everest
Portfolio

(1.06.2004)
30.05 Today, on May, 30, at 9.00 a.m. the expedition yak's caravan started from the Jannu base camp downwards. Under the plan the charter flight from Taplejung to Katmandu is reserved on June, 3. And on June, 3rd and 4th the team will have a press conference and an interview in the Ministry of Tourism. On June, 5 at 8.00 a.m. Sergey Borisov, Gennady Kirievsky, Alexey Bolotov and doctor Bakin will take off to Moscow, the others - on June, 8 at 20.00!

(28.05.2004)
I inform you more details.
As you know, yesterday, approximately at 15.30, Ruchkin and Pavlenko summited Jannu. Further, at about 17.00 Dmitry Pavlenko descended to the portaledge at 7400, and, having rest a little, he descended to the camp at 7000. At about 18.00 Ruchkin reached the portaledge. He planned to spend the night in the portaledge. However at about 20.00 he felt ill and he had to descend further, in the camp at 7000 where there were less altitude, better condition and a first-aid set more various. Supporting by Evgeny Kirievsky Alexander Ruchkin descended to 7000 by 24.00 o'clock and in the morning together with Dmitry Pavlenko they finally descended to the base camp. Everything is all right now.
Alexander Odintsov had to descend to the base camp too because of his bad health state. And Alexey Bolotov had to return to the base camp because he had broken the crampon and the further ascent became impossible. Such heart-rending holiday appeared. Kirievsky, Borisov and Totmyanin are at the portaledge at 7400 now. Under the plan tomorrow they should try to make summit push. Weather as always is not clear.
On May, 24 at our visa ended, permit is arrested by the ministry of tourism, and on May, 25 our plane took off Katmandu heading to Moscow.
M.Bakin.

Odintsov called and informed that Alexander Ruchkin and Dmitry Pavlenko descended to the base camp, exhausted.
A three-man team Totmyanin-Kirievsky-Borisov waited at 7400m till the bad weather improved a bit and they are going to make summit bid tomorrow.
On May 31 the team start home-coming.

(27.05.2004)
We passed your congratulation to the guys. They thank kindly all who beleived and supported them during their way up.
The star-heros Sasha Ruchkin and Dima Pavlenko are on their way down now and Totmyanin, Borisov, Kirievsky are ready to start summit bid, but the weather is not good, maybe tommorow...

(26.05.2004)
JANNU NORTH FACE IS CONQUERED!!!
26.05. Alexander Odintsov has just telephoned:
Today Alexander Ruchkin and Dmitry Pavlenko have reached the summit!!! Tomorrow's ascent to the peak is planned by the pair of climbers - Borisov-Kirievsky. The ascent of other members of the team is dependent on weather conditions.

(25.05.2004)
25.05.
It has happened nothing for today because the bad weather became very bad. Everyone is sitting in their "bubbles" and drink everything that they can find: from an aspirin up to coffee. M.Bakin.

(7.00 a.m. by Moscow time) It is very bad weather. It has being snowing all the night long and in the morning and there is a strong wind at the all altitudes. Pavlenko-Ruchkin tried to leave on the route at 6.00 a.m., but they had to return to the portaledge at 7400m. Having overcome a pain and doubts Bolotov ascended to the camp I (5600m), and now he and Totmyanin together are climbing to the camp II (6700m). Odintsov remains at the camp I. Kirievsky and Borisov are at the camp III under the wall (7000m). Because of illness Pershin and Mikhailov are staying in the base camp. We hope that the situation will change within this day. M.Bakin.

In the photo you can see a provisional site of the top point of fixed ropes for the evening of May 24.

24.05.
Today a two-man team Pavlenko-Ruchkin continued working on the wall. It's formed the impression that the ridge is like a line of horizon: the closer we approach to it the farther it appears. Today the guys made approximately a pitch of 60 meters. If to look at the photo the top point of fixed ropes is on the left and above the big snow basin under the top and does not reach the summit ridge a little. But to a certain extent it is our assumption as because of overcast the wall is not visible, and the climbers do not see the ridge because of hanging cornices. The weather is unstable today, but it is better, than yesterday. It is not snowing. Let's see that tomorrow's day will bring. M.Bakin.

 

(24.05.2004)
23.05.
We have a tension increasing with every passing hour as in a detective. Everything around is already ringing. I do not know at all with what to compare how guys are fighting.
The information on 23.05. Today a two-man team Pavlenko-Ruchkin continued to work on the wall and they have made an 80-m pitch.
The Wall began to be less abrupt in places, but the continuous snowfall brings this advantage to naught, as snow fills up cracks. The direction of movement deviated a vertical to the left, aside the summit ridge.

S.Borisov and G.Kirievsky ascended from the camp I (5600) up to the camp II (6700). The route part above camp 5600 became very hard to climb after strong snowfalls. On Gennady Kirievsky's words they had to dig a trench in places as they had snow up to the waist.

A.Odintsov and N.Totmyanin ascended to the camp I. Weather holds bad.
M.Bakin.

In the photo: the altitude and the direction of ascending for the evening of May, 23.

22.05.
In the morning Mike Mikhailov suddenly felt ill and had to descend to the base camp. Now he is still there and feels not bad.
In spite of the bad weather the two-man team Ruchkin-Pavlenko continued climbing the wall: the relief represents vertical walls crossed by ledges. Rocks are strongly destroyed, in addition the altitude is almost 7600m, and it has been snowing all the day long without interruption. For today the guys managed to climb about 30 meters.

The climbers comment their impressions about climbed part of the wall (above the camp at 7000m): M.Mikhailov: "There is no meter where you can relax: either vertical or hanging wall". S.Borisov: " All of 500 meters of fixed ropes are in the air..."

Today S. Borisov and G.Kirievsky's ascended the camp I at 5600m. After some rest and treatments Sergey feels well.
M.Bakin.

(22.05.2004)
21.05.
Today, on May, 21, the weather, as well as yesterday is very bad to work on the wall. It has been snowing since the morning though the night was cold and clear. The advanced two-man team worked not looking at all bad things. They managed to make a very hard pitch of 30 meters more. But what a challenge site they climbed! The hanging chimney with a chockstone was done. I can say figuratively, that we nave hooked for a roof. That we could discern in dense overcast represented a corner with ledges and vertical walls not monolithic as they seemed earlier from below. And there are not any more hangings there.
Tomorrow a three-man team Borisov Sergey - Kirievsky Gena - Nikolay Totmyanin leaves to the camp at 5600m. In my understanding we have a process that is hanging like a drop on a nose.
And the direction of this drop's falling depends on many (and the main thing casual) circumstances. As it happened with Sergey Borisov and Alexey Bolotov. But the fighters struggle, like Mtsiry (*He is the main character of the outstanding poem of the same name written by Lermontov. Mtsiry have to struggle all alone with a leopard and he shows all his courage, steadfastness and fearlessness. M.RU). The God may give us our due for our heroism. We wait for the every new day as critical and the wall to become a bit less abrupt. Weather is worthless. It has been snowing on the wall already for two days. The wall stands clouded, it is visible nothing, and therefore there will not be any news before the evening communication.
All our greetings to you.
Doctor Misha.

(20.05.2004)
20.05.
There has been bad weather all the day long. It is raining in the base camp, but it is snowing on the wall. A two-man team Ruchkin-Mikhailov could climbed 30 meters above 7500 for 10 hours. M.Bakin.

19.05.
Hi, friends!
Today Mikhailov's group ascended the latest highest camp: the portaledge hanging at 7400m. If weather permit, tomorrow the guys plan to continue fixing the wall above 7500. But the weather may not allow. In the base camp it was raining all the day long, but on the wall it was snowing. All the others are staying in the base camp for a while.
The health state is in reasonable limits. M.Bakin

(19.05.2004) )
18.05.
Hello, friends! Briefly I am going to state the events of the last days and our prospects as they are seen now. At once all of us did not inform you on ethical reasons, i.e. before returning Bolotov's group in the base camp.
Under the plan, on 14 of May in the morning Pershin and Totmyanin had to haul a portaledge from 7200m up to 7400m and descend passing forward Bolotov's group that was ascending from the camp at 7000m. But since the morning Michael Pershin badly felt himself (he has got a haemorrhage of eye's retina) and had to descend. Totmyanin hauled the portaledge on 200 meters alone and descended to the camp at 5600m. Bolotov, Borisov and Kirievsky climbed at 7400, settled a camp and stayed there to spend the night.
Next day, descending to the base camp Totmyanin was injured by a falling stone. His face and leg hurt, but after having had a rest and some treatment he feels better and saved capacity for work.

On 15 of May two-man team Bolotov - Borisov worked on the wall. They made a very complex pitch. 16.05, the group was approaching to the top point of fixed ropes and a stone dropped right on Sergey Borisov's head. "Cassidy" was lost, but it rescued the head. Borisov got off with a scratch of skin. Obviously he was not able to work further and descended into the portaledge where Evgeny Kirievsky rendered him first aid and bandaged the wounded head. As Sergey felt not bad he decided to descend further alone.
Bolotov and Kirievsky continued work on the wall. But approximately two hours later Alexey climbing the most complicated cornice fell and got his rib broken.

Thus the situation on 16th of May looked as follows: Wounded Alexey Bolotov and escaped Gena Kirievsky were in the portaledge at 7400m, in the camp at 7000m - Sergey Borisov with wounded head and in the lowermost camp at 5600m the group of Mike Mikhailov, Alexander Ruchkin, Dmitry Pavlenko stayed having ascending to it after they had a rest. I will not describe all subsequent details.

On 17 of May Borisov descended into the base camp. And now he is all right. Today, i.e. on 18 of May Bolotov and Kirievsky returned to the base camp. Now everything turned out safely, but unfortunately Alexey have to end the ascent. Because of these drama events we lost 4 working days. For the present time we reached 7500m.

The group led by Mikhailov is in the camp at 7000m under the wall now and tomorrow they will get the portaledge at 7400m and begin to work on the wall the day after tomorrow, i.e. 20.05.
Weather is unstable.
M.Bakin.

(18.05.2004) )
Odintsov called and informed the latest news:
Bolotov's three-man team climbed up to the last summit cornice, but they did not overcome it completely because of traumas of climbers (Alexey Bolotov, Sergey Borisov, Michael Pershin were injured).
I hope that they have already descended into the base camp, called home and informed their relatives about their health states. The doctor renders the guys first aid.
Three-man team led by Ruchkin (Ruchkin-Mikhailov-Pavlenko) went to change leading group and to climb the cornice and three last pitches left after it.
According to Ivan Samoilenko this year a monsoon is coming early. It is not as usual. But before arrival of the monsoon the team should have some days of good weather more during which the leading three-man team will be able to make the last pitches, summit and descend before bad weather begins.
The expedition should be completed till June, 1.

Sergey Borisov's impressions. Letter from 05.05
Hi, everybody! Yesterday on May, 6 we returned from the last 4-th trip into the wall. And I have understood that everything we had done before was a prelude. And just now a real WORK began!!! In the third trip our group restored fixed ropes up to 7000m and reactivated the portaledge: we spent two nights in it.
The bad weather did not allow us to go further. The bad weather began on 22-nd of April and it still holds: nobody could see Jannu in all its glory. It takes three days or 50-52 pitches (5600, 6700 and 7000) to reach to the camp at 7000. All the pitches are really abrupt.
On May, 1 we came at 7000 to replace Totmyanin's group. They finally finished to dig the platform and set the tent. Because of heavy snowing and a strong wind they did not work that day and descended. After the afternoon the wind dropped a little and we could change the tent on the portaledge. The previous one "did not breathe". During our last trip we gasped for breath and the gas did not burn in the previous tent, when it was totally closed. And, when it was slightly open we were swept up by snow. Moreover there was strong "condensate" in it.
On May, 2-nd Bolotov and I went to work. The first, that we could see, was our broken portaledge. A storm pulled out one ice screw and the portaledge was twirled. The skeleton of the portaledge was bent and broken. The tent and the tension ropes were torn too. Then we informed about that the guys and began climb. They spoke that the fixed ropes were no lumps of sugar, but the reality surpassed all expectations. We climbed only five pitches on slanting and abrupt ropes for 4,5 hours. To tell the truth, all this was at the altitude higher than 7000 m and the wall was practically vertical. A wind only added our "pleasures". Its impulses knocked down us sideways and turned back to the wall. This day Alexey climbed about 8-10 meters for 3 hours. All of this did not add enthusiasm to us. But it was of 8-10 meters of hanging site. And having climbed it Alexey approached under the following hanging.
The wall seems less abrupt further. Descent on a slanting fixed ropes is not a pleasure. And traverse on abrupt ice in blunted crampons was somewhat! During our expedition we had remained only a half from our front points. We could stand on them like a cow on ice. But everything comes to the end. We were in the tent: suffocated by cough to death of it. Gennady gave us to drink a lot. Then we contacted to the base. Tomorrow Gennady and Alexey will work upwards, I w ill be engaged in fixing. It is a small plus to me, I will leave the tent not at 8, but at 10 a.m., when the sun reaches the tent. We were short of ropes and some gear. It depressed all of us. I asked Alexey to take a rope and gear at descending.
The new fixed rope is not all cakes and ale. In one place you do not touch the wall about four meters, but there is no traverses and slanting lines there.
The guys descended, brought the rope and already in darkness crept in the tent. We felt cold but we were in the tent. We had a bad mood: even wanted to descend tomorrow. We climbed only a bit, but toiled a lot descending. There was a cold and a strong wind. We were exhausted. Having taken a sip we began to decide what to do further? We could talk only between impulses of a wind. The head hooted from noise. With the base we could speak on our command when a wind did not strongly blow.
On 4-th of May the guys went ahead. I slept further. It meant that I had a rest. But spending all the day long in the tent at 7000 does not add health and it is considered as a rest conditionally. Alexey climbed all hangings and, the route seems to become easier further. Having finished a pitch we began to make next one and returned to the tent in darkness. Tomorrow Alexey and I will work; Gennady will descend.
Soon Mikhailov and Ruchkin will change us. Now they spend the night at 6700. For the first time there was no wind at night. But we could not sleep. All of us were tormented with cough. In the morning we went upwards. The fixed pitch impresses. It hangs freely not touching the wall about 30 meters. And it is at the altitude 7200-7300m.
We began to climb upwards: friends, stoppers, sometimes pitons, etriers, free climbing on 1-1,5 m sites twice. But we moved very slowly. I reached a grotto where there could be a ledge, but I could find only abrupt ice. Having organised next pitch we decided that it was enough for today. From three ice screws we could twirl only one just having hammered it by halves. In tent we met our change. They gave us to drink and fed. We treated them to spirit and went to sleep. Alexey was without a sleeping bag but in a down jump-suit and in two down parkas. But he got a cold all the same.
Having sent the guys for work in the morning at 10 a.m. we began to descend: via 1,5 -km vertical wall, 50 pitches, and at 17.00 we were in the base camp.
Here it is - our happiness!
S.Borisov.

(17.05.2004) )
17.05 Nikolay Totmyanin reports:
Pershin as the leader and I once again worked our way through the wall. For three days we made two and more pitches, and one of the days we spent getting over a cornice. Somewhere on a sea level he would overcome such steep wall for a pair of hours. Last working day I hauled the portaledge at 7400m.
Now Eketerinburg climbers work above it, and having descended yesterday we are staying in the base camp now. The snow on the plateau has become such limp, that we fall through up to the waist even in snowshoes! There is winter above, but lower than 6000 m spring came into its own. I do not complain of my health. Descending from 5100 m on the last pitch I got a little bit scratched my face and my favorite glasses broken by a rolling stone, but today in the morning I had a shave for the first time. It seems the mountain does not want to let bearded person to come nearer to it. Finally speed of movement was stabilized on one pitch a day. Not densely, but it is not bad.
On the "roof", because any high mountain has own roof, the speed should increase! I hope that in the nearest 7 days we shall get up on it. Let's not guess our fortune. We miss home very much, but we have to finish the epopee. We have spent forces and means a lot. The team is powerful, another time we would not collect such team. We thought that we were engaged in mountaineering earlier. It appeared baby-talk in comparison with climbing on Jannu.
P.S. Today in the afternoon the advanced three-man team had to stop work on the route and descend in the tent at 7000 m because of impulses of a gale-force wind. In the photo you can see a route-line with already fixed ropes.

15.05 Nikolay Totmyanin reports from the base camp: Overcoming impossible
Yesterday, on May, 14, for the first time in a history of mountaineering, the hanging portaledge was hauled and settled on the wall at 7400 m.
The advanced group every day leaves in "free space" and wins a meter after meter from the vertical wall. We recovered from the psychological shock from the first acquaintance to the wall. It is not a rarity any more to make only a pitch a day. And we show real aerobatics free climbing three - four meters.
We can see 2-3 very complex pitches ahead: 80-degrees plates 1-2-meter cornices and at last a vertical 20-meter chimney with destroyed, opening outside walls deep cut in a six-meter cornice.
Each working hour on the mountain is overcoming impossible. We can not see what there is above and it means there should be more gently sloping. The psychological pressure is increasing. We cannot demand from each other to put on speed, as we do not know even our own maximum opportunities, at first. Second, we should be cautious, now we have no right on a mistake. I ask all gods and saints to protect us from wrong actions.
Today the three-man ream Bolotov - Borisov - Kirievsky works ahead.
They have made one more pitch. For the present the weather is in favour of us.

(15.05.2004) ) 14.05
Hi, friends.
docThe group Mikhailov-Ruchkin-Pavlenko continues to restore forces in the base camp, due to ours kindhearted doctor Michael Bakin. He treats everyone and in every way possible. As all of us, having swallowed cold, cough like steam locomotives, our throats-noses are exposed to smoking of hookahs, rinsing and greasing of throats and everyone is going to be completely recovered. Those who are especially cripple the doctor makes massage, and humpbacked become harmonous, and lame start to go, and the life is adjusted.
7400Work on a wall takes its normal course, the group Pershin - Totmyanin made some pitches and having reached the black strip crossing all the wall, they ascended on 15 meters higher it. We came nearer even closer to cherished purpose.
Today Bolotov's group ascending already the third day for work on the wall, left the high-altitude camp at 7000m on the portaledge which Nick Totmyanin hauled on a new place, at about 7400m. Now it is closer and more convenient to work on a wall above 7400m. Moving took placesafely, the guys in full complement: Bolotov - Borisov-Kirievsky, reached 7400m, set the portaledge, hauled all needed things for their life there, i.e. all biwy with life-support for 4 days for the further fixing a complex site of the wall. Work on the wallTotmyanin and Pershin descended in the camp at 5600m.
Tomorrow Bolotov's group will fixed above 7400m, and the group led by Totmyanin descend to have a rest to the base camp.
That's all our news about what happened on May, 14.
You will hear from us soon.
Our greetings to everybody who waits for us and believes in us.
Ruchkin

13.05
"We are praying to all gods..." - Odintsov called from Jannu base camp. Now at 7500 Totmyanin and Pershin work, tomorrow Bolotov's group will change them. The guys need ten days of good weather to successfully summit. But Ivan Samoilenko's forecast (he sends the guys information about the weather in Himalayas) is still not very comforting.

 

(14.05.2004)
Hi friends, our greetings to you!
At last there comes spring in our high-mountainous corner, and it is not clear, is it good or bad for us. We could find arrival of spring descending from the wall when it started to thaw the ice screws and ropes on the pitches. It becomes warmer and warmer with each rope we descend. At 6000m already on a rock frozen falls become to water, and the ropes are just trapped into the ice in some centimeters. We have to brake ice and free out from the captivity of ice and only then to descend.
Camp 7000 Everything looks that the mountain simply does not want to let off uninvited visitors who have broken its centuries-old rest. Tired very much Mike Mikhailov and I descended on ice covered ropes. Mike was the leader. He swore like a sailor getting the ropes from ice captivity. I did the same trying to push the rope through grigri.
Five days that we spent on the steep wall at the altitude higher 7000m have not passed completely. We were unsteady on our legs for weariness, and were like drunk cows on ice because of erased points of crampons.
The life on the portaledge hanging at 7200m allowed to begin work earlier, not wasting time on climbing on the fixed ropes. All site of the wall from 7000 m and above represents a granite steep wall alternating with cornices: such cornices represent a problem and below, on a sea level, but at 7000 all the more. The climbing complexity level on Jannu higher 7000m is about 6B/3. If, certainly, all the wall move closer to sea, and to put on rocky shoes you will manage to climb a pair of meters, but then you will find that on completely smooth wall there are cracks in which even the most thin pitons do not go into not to mention fingers. Just having climbed this site where there is though something to hold, you rest against a cornice, and you have to try belayer's patience climbing on the smallest chocks.On the wall If you get in wide cracks you find inevitably in them frozen or jammed stones in which you use camalots or friends that hold you only on the verge of falling. Constant hanging forces to strain all muscles after that you entirely exhausted fall in the portaledge and you can not even move. Expectation, that the wall becomes less abrupt soon, is deceptive, and our guys (Pershin-Totmyanin) who came to change us confirm that. Three days they have been working on the wall, and cornices and hangings don't come to end. It is The improbable wall and probably unique. There are no analogues to it on complexity and steepness at such altitude. And nevertheless she is climbed. We have got very little remained to climb.
May God give us the good weather.
Ruchkin

(12.05.2004)
Camp 560001.05.
The remarkable expressive snow-woman decorating the base camp under influence of atmospheric processes lost female charm and turned to something similar to phallic symbol, which however already was lop-sided... Well, I do not know what will happen and what it would mean, when it completely becomes to be destroyed. Deposits are not present while, there is variable overcast, but there are dense dark clouds are coming from below. The wind is very strong even in the base camp, and at high altitude the storm does not allow to work on the wall. Therefore the group led by Totmyanin descended to the base camp, and Bolotov's group stays at 7000 waiting for improvement of weather. Such sad and unproductive the Holiday of workers turned out.
M.Bakin

04.05.
The ascent goes on slowly, but we move forward. It's the third day of Bolotov's group working on the wall. Bolotov - Kirievsky are ahead now and for this today they fixed approximately 30 meters of rope. You can see the line of the route and the top point of fixed ropes on the photo. Totmyanin gave his own description to the mountain: "If on the top of Khan Tengri set Petit Dru we will approximately have that we have got now". Tomorrow under the plan the two-man team from Bolotov's group (most likely Borisov - Bolotov) will work on the wall. One man (presumably Kirievsky) will descend to the base camp. Odintsov, Mikhailov, Ruchkin will ascend 7000 m and Pavlenko - from the camp at 5600 to the camp at 6700. M.Bakin.

05.05.
We are continuing our slow but progressive movement. The two-man team Borisov - Bolotov fixed approximately 20 meters of the route more. Climbing is still very difficult. Moreover strong wind and cold complicate the ascent. I do not know if the good (in our understanding) weather happens here. When the sky is clear, strong (and at the altitude height very strong) wind blows. From the words of Kirievsky: if let the rope freely off, it will "emerge" on a wind, having formed a sinusoid with amplitude of about seven meters. Except for that it is not necessary to forget, that it is the northern face and the chimney, on which the route passes is in a shadow all the time. And the altitude is more than 7300 meters now. But the ascent goes on. M.Bakin.

(11.05.2004)
08.05.
Yesterday we hauled the portaledge up to the top point of fixed ropes (it saves approximately 6 hours) and today advanced two-man team Ruchkin-Mikhailov has set up some kind of a record - they made the hardest pitch on the most complicated rocks. Tomorrow they plan to continue the ascent. There is a difficult site ahead with a system of cornices approximately in 15 meters. Weather is fine today, but I do not know, how it will be tomorrow. All of us are more or less healthy. M.Bakin.

09.05.
Today, having overcome cornices two-man team Ruchkin-Mikhailov made a pitch right vertically upwards. Weather is not bad: it is fine above with a clean sky, below it is cloudy, moderate windy, but without deposits. We congratulate all of you on the holiday. M.Bakin.

10.05.
Good afternoon, friends! Today two-man team Ruchkin-Mikhailov has made one more pitch for a day. They descend to have a rest, and tomorrow two-man team Pershin-Totmyanin will begin to work on the wall. Totally the team has fixed 8,5 vertical ropes from 7000 m. Weather seems suspiciously good today, it is even frighten. The Russians always concern to good with suspicion, expecting after that any global meanness. Let see, what will be tomorrow. In the base camp mountain goats approach on 8-10 meters. We can see whole herds with small kids. I thought so close they can be seen only in a zoo. M.Bakin.

(5.05.2004)
02.05.
The two-man team Bolotov - Borisov continued climbing the wall. They have made only one pitch for a day: our ascent goes slowly. And the reasons are obvious: high altitude (more than 7 000m) and a vertical wall with hanging sites.
Today there is good weather: sunny day, clean sky, but there is a strong wind and it is rather cold. The hanging on the sun socks washed in the morning, were frozen. Tomorrow M.Mikhailov and A.Odintsov's group leaves the base camp at 5600.
Our greetings to everybody and the best regards.
M.Bakin.

5.05
Hello friends!
That last site that we have to climb reminds very much the American diretissima on Petit Dru or a combination of cruxes of Semiletkin, Popenko and Bezzubkin's routes on Svobodnaya (Free) Korea. We have to climb fixed ropes for three days up to 7000 m to continue the work on the wall. We have two entrance-gate camps at 5600 m and 6700 m, i.e. we spend the night in them and go further. The camp at 7000 m has the special status: we live in it. He should be maximum comfortable to have a rest and restore forces for working on extremely difficult surface.
Our group spent all the day to cut out in ice a 22 meters platform under a tent for Efimov's group. I have been on "7-thousand" mountains for 35 times, but for the first time biwy organization at 7000m took so much time and forces. A half of the tent is cut in the slope and closed from above by 34m awning and dust avalanches fly above, not causing harm. We have to climb via combined relief: 70-90-degrees rocks with ice spanked block and rocky cornices. For aid climbing we use universal rocky pitons of 2-5 mm, bent channels of 3 different sizes, stoppers, friends and camalots. Also we have unscrewed bolts for monolithic sites and sky hooks. Ice sites of the wall represent firm ice spanked blocks of thickness from meter up to several centimeters. We successfully use ice screws, ice tools and ice fifi on them. If to count the weight of clothes, footwear and crampons the leader has about 15 kg hanging on him.
Free climbing in "Millet" footwear, warm multilayered clothes and in gloves from Polartec is rather problematic. The rocks are dry, but cold. Temperature is negative 15-20. While the leader covered in sweat goes ahead, the belayer struggles with cold. There are 5 pitches from camp at 7000 m prior to the beginning of fixed ropes and we have to spend 4 hours to get there since the morning.
The immediate task of the advanced group is to fix even two more ropes and to hang up one more portaledge closer to the beginning of fixed ropes. Today Bolotov's group is ahead. Mikhailov's group and lexander Odintsov ascended at 5600 m. The advanced two-man team climbed 5 m of the cornice for this day and straightened the fixed ropes: it makes easier to ascend, haul gear and will save the time of ascent at least on one or one and a half of hour.
A bad consequence of our work at high altitude is constant cough. The doctor prescribes different treatment in the base camp, including inhalations with herbs. We have an electric inhaler, which effectively helps to struggle with respiratory illnesses. One more problem at such altitude is dehydration of organism. Morning and evening consumption of liquid is obviously not enough.
The advanced two-man team takes a thermos on the wall, but they can drink only on the top point of pitch, further the leader climbs upper and works as a navvy up to the end of the working day without drink. The basic drink is tea. " Princess Nuri " in bags is well made in "boiled water" at 7000 m. Other drinks are instant coffee, cocoa, juices and milk in different combinations. In the base camp we would like to drink a beer and fruit compotes. The wall furiously resists. But the team has a fighting spirit.
Our greetings to everybody!
N. Totmyanin from the base camp.

P.S. Yesterday rather sad event happened. At a portaledge we had prepared to haul and hung at 7000 meters, was pulled out one of 4 points of fastening, and a strong wind broken the poles of a skeleton. The spare complete set of poles will be lifted by Mikhailov's group in 2 days. All this does not accelerate the ascent.

(5.05.2004) new!
30.04.
Weather today seems better: there is overcast, but the sun periodically appears in the sky. Till the afternoon there is snowing, but by the evening it is more pleasant. In cloud breaks Jannu sometimes appears, but we have not time to catch to see something in a telescope. The spring does not want to come in these places. The landscape reminds more likely in late autumn. Yellow grass, faded plants... Mood is philosophical.
The two-man team Pershin - Totmyanin worked on the wall today. Tomorrow they are going to be in the lead. And tomorrow from camp at 6700 Bolotov's group will ascend up to 7000m.
We congratulate all of you on coming holidays. We would like to wish all climbers who are making their ascents in mountains good weather and success. Our separate wishes to Everest North Face Russian expedition and Shisha-Pangma Saint Petersburg expedition. My personally especial greetings to the doctors of the expeditions: Sergey Bychkovsky and Boris Tereshchenko.
30.04.04.
Jannu Base camp. M.Bakin.

(29.04.2004)
28.04.
Good afternoon! Two-man group Pavlenko -Mikhailov continued fixing the rope. Having made 2,5 pitches for two days (it is higher than the top point of the last autumn fixed ropes) the guys descended into the camp at 6700m. Today Totmyanin's group ascended at 7000m. The whole day long they were preparing a place for a tent as the portaledge is going to be lifted from 7000 to the Wall upper. The base camp was visited by the group from Ekaterinburg: Dmitry Frolenko, Andrey Krylov and Jury Lutsak. Under the plan Bolotov's group starts working on the Wall tomorrow, and Mikhailov's group descends into the base camp. Weather holds unstable, but it allows us to continue our ascent.
M.Bakin.

 

(28.04.2004)
27.04.
M.Mikhailov's group, which has been staying in the camp at 7000m, started work on the Wall. Two-man Ruchkin-Mihailov started work directly the Wall and ascended the altitude above 7200m - it is upper than the end of the rope had fixed before. Tomorrow they plan to continue fixing. The group led by Totmyanin ascended to the camp at 6700m. Tomorrow they is going to reach 7000m. Odintsov came from base camp in the camp at 5600. Weather today is quite good for Jannu. It is snowing periodically, a wind is not so strong. That 's all for today all. Our greetings to all of you.
M.Bakin

(27.04.2004)
Doctor Bakin informs:
Hi, all friends! Within three days, on April 22,23,24 there was very bad weather: heavy snowing, a strong wind all day long. Bolotov's three-men group stayed at 7000 for these three days. Yesterday, having made unsuccessful (because of snowfall) attempt to climb upper, at about 12.00 the guys began descending and at about 17.00 they came to the base camp. It was uneasy, taking into account strong snowfall and avalanches. Judging by their eyes Bolotov, Borisov and Kirievsky did not at once understand, where they had appeared, then though they gradually got warm but only today in the morning they finally came round.
On April 25, in the morning there is no snowing. It is high overcast and atmospheric pressure has a little increase. The hope for improvement of weather has appeared. Having waited till the bad weather was over Mikhailov's three-men group went to the camp at 6700 today in the morning and, there is a hope, that tomorrow they will get in the camp at 7000m. All our further plans and actions entirely depend on the weather.

26.04. Mikhailov's group (M.Mikhailov, A.Ruchkin, D.Pavlenko) went today to the advanced camp at 7000. If circumstances allow, they will begin work on the wall. N.Totmyanin and M.Pershin left the base camp this morning and now they are staying in the camp at 5600m. Bolotov's group (A.Bolotov, S.Borisov, G.Kirievsky), descended from the camp at 7000 and have a rest now. Tomorrow in the morning the head of the expedition A.Odintsov plans to get to the camp at 5600m. The weather has a little improved and reminds like the weather in the last autumn. With one difference: in the autumn after 1.00-2.00 p.m. it started raining, bur now it begins snowing. At all altitudes. But the first half of day leaves us freedom for manoeuvre. The other is only known to God.
Today having taken strength the climbers led by their head constructed a snow-woman in the base camp. Odintsov refused the canons of a snow sculpture familiar from the childhood (with nose-carrots). Inspired like Mikelandgelo, he modelled rather expressive... figure. Even there was a fear, if she would visit the tents at night (*Mountain.ru: Have you ever read "Venera Ill'skaya", P. Merime's short story?) With the masterpiece in the background we were photographed with flags of sponsors. Mountain goats walk near to the camp. You can come on 7-10 meters close to them. This is National Park there and there are no hunters, they aren't afraid. Our greetings to all friends!
M.Bakin.

(25.04.2004)
On April, 23. It has been snowing heavily all day. The groups remain at the same altitudes. Bolotov's group corrected the portaledge and now their life seems to go right. The plans for tomorrow depend on weather and condition of the route.


6500


6700

 

(23.04.2004)
There is only 700 meters of a vertical ahead!
The day before (on April, 21 at 18:00) we hung out a red standard of proletariat, and on April, 22 "in commemoration of Lenin's Birthday (* Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1870-1924, Russian revolutionary, the founder of Bolshevism and the major force behind the Revolution of Oct., 1917) the three-men group led by Bolotov settled the camp at 7000m - a portaledge in the basis of the last stronghold of Jannu - the 700 meter plumb wall.
Whether in the award or in punishment (we will find it out soon) the Lord sent a snowstorm to us. The guys struggle with a snow above. And we are trying to banish the bad weather with indignation and flags and trampling down 20 cm snow in the base camp. The snow hurricane accompanied with peals of thunder and continued for 6 hours. At 18:45, thank God, we had a radio communication with Mikhailov's group (their portable radio set all the day was out of order). Finally the snowfall stopped. The guys had a subbotnik (* In former USSA, voluntary unpaid work on days off, originally especially on Saturdays) at 5600 - they amicably and by turns were working on the route with the words "freedom of speech: friendly, in a fit of temper, recollect "ILYICH". And then having crossed they whispered (* When Lenin took over he forbid religion, destroyed all the churches, and murdered all the priests): "God bless all! This day will pass, well, and let it pass..."
The guys sustained the weather onslaught. The technical equipment "Panasonic" too - in a continuous snow-falling videocameras worked as in pavilion of a film studio.
On April, 7 we began to work on the route and in two weeks we reached 7000 m. For the time being everything goes under the plan. We are in a brave mood. The weather reminds that it can be different, but it did not frightened us.

(22.04.2004) new!
Hi,
Today, 21.04, the group Bolotov-Borisov-Kiriensky has reached 7000 m. They restored all last year's pitches and fixed ropes, which had been destroyed by the nature, up to 7000 and descended to spend the night to the portaledge fixed at 6700m. The cave, which we dug at 7000 meters last year, is destroyed and it is impossible to restore it.
We found a trunk with gear we had carried and fixed on the wall at our previous expedition and it appeared safe and sound. Tomorrow the group plans to ascend 7000m and organize the Camp III - a portaledge fixed in the beginning of the wall at 7000m. In the evening weather deteriorated: it began snowing, wind and frightening thunderstorm. The guys staying on the portaledge are in a good mood, full of optimism for tomorrow. The group plans work above 7000m within 2-3 days.
Tomorrow, 22.04, the group Mikhailov-Pavlenko-Ruchkin will leave to ascend up to 5600m, 23.04 - to 6700m and 24.04 - to 7000 and change Bolotov's group.
Our greetings to everybody.
Ruchkin.

(21.04.2004)
Hi, our friends, now all the team are scattered over the mountain. The schedule of work and acclimatization goes in the right way. The plan of work is simple, but labour-consuming, and includes fixing the rope, lifting the cargoes for life-support at such altitude, acclimatization - spending the night as high as it is possible - and, at last, descent for the rest.
Three groups, replacing each other, climb upward. Our group lifted a portaledge from 6100m up to 6700m, and having made three pitches upper descended to the base camp to have a rest.
On 20.04 the two-men group Totmyanin and Odintsov lay the route. Now they are fixing the rope above 6800m. The group Bolotov - Borisov - Kirievsky is going to change them and fix the rope on the wall up to 7000 m. If everything goes in the right way, they will try to check up and fix the rope up to the line where we stopped last year.
The two-men group Pershin - Prilepa makes cargo carry from 5600-6100 and up to 6700 m. According to the condition and state of their health Odintsov, Totmyanin, Pershin and Prilepa will descend into the camp at 5600 or into the base camp. Just now Nikolay Totmyanin has come to the base camp, the others are staying at 5600m.
The weather simply indulges us today. All the day long the sun has been shining and it has not been snowing.
The mountain towers in all glory, without any cloud. The fog usually coming from the valley below has receded today too.
All our greetings to everybody See you soon.
Ruchkin and all the guys.

(19.04.2004)
Hi, friends!
We are fine, safe and sound. I regret very much, that nobody sauf me writes and informs about our Jannu expedition going.
Today we descended to the Base Camp. Pavlenko, Mikhailov and Ruhckin spent two nights at 6100m, being engaged in restoration of fixed ropes. Having reached up to 6700m we lifted there a portaledge with all equipment needed for a life. We spent the last night in a struggle against a thunder-storm, lightnings and snowfalling, all the night long we shook off a lot of snow from the portaledge lest it was not broken off.
There is less snow on a wall than last autumn, and instead of a planned at 6500m cave, we lifted the portaledge from 6100m up to 6700m on the rock and made three pitches more. So then all things considered that we reached 6800m.
But I think we will not manage to dig a cave at 7000m too. There was a heavy fall snow last night, al the ropes are covered in snow and we have to dig them. We are in the Base Camp now: the doctor is engaged in treatment of our coughs and sores. Yesterday he descended from 5600m for acclimatization. Everything takes its normal course.
Descending we met the guys Totmyanin-Pershin-Prigoda ascending up to 6700m to change us and to continue fixing the rope. The group Bolotov - Borisov-Kirievsky ascended at 5600m to continue working from there.
Waiting for the details and photos tomorrow.
Ruchkin.

Photos by Mikhail Mihailov


6100


6500
Now it looks like this way.

Plato 5600

5100

 

(12.04.2004)
The latest news from Janny, the base camp (4600m).
The advanced three-men team has climbed up to 6300m. The weather spoils. The Wall is almost without snow. It seems probably, the guys won't be able to dig the snow caves at 6500 and at 7000 meters. Odintsov knocks a wood and speaks, that all takes its normal course. Everything is all right.


Our greetings to everybody,
Things are going well thus far, keep your fingers crossed!
We are having acclimatization consecutively ascending upper and upper.

7.04 We began fixing the rope, the group Bolotov - Borisov - Kirievsky restored the fixed rope up to 5100m, settled the intermediate camp and stayed to spend the night there for acclimatization. Next day they descended to the base camp for the rest. The other members of our team did the full carry of the gear up to 5100m.
8.04 Our three-men team (Mikhailov-Pavlenko-Ruchkin) climbed 5100m and spent the night there.
9.04 We climbed up to 5600 and lifted some gear for the following work on the route.
10.04 We climbed a plateau, marked it with landmarks with tags for orientation in fog.
There are some our trails from the last year expedition in places. The winter seems low-snowed or strong winds have blown all the snow: this year it is much less snow and the bergschrund became lower on about 40 meters. The scrap of the rope hung above the present bergschrund. As all the snow was blown away and frozen during the winter and the clear ice was opened: rigid winter ice in which hardly to set ice screws. The ropes particularly remained, but nobody dares to risk and to climb on them. We have to use tools for climbing and use a jumar belaying on last year's ropes. They, certainly, are torn, and we change them on the new ones. Our group ascended up to 5800 m, making 5 pitches and descended to 5600m to spend the second night at this altitude.
11.04 We descended to the base camp to have a rest. Odintsov - Prilepa acclimatized at 5100m and climbed lifting the gear up to 5600 for the further acclimatization.
The group Bolotov - Borisov-Kirievsky ascended 5600m, and the same day Pershin and Totmyanin went from 5600m and fixed 5 pitches more on the ice up to the altitude of 6000 meters.
This is all the news for the present about our work on the route.
Ruhckin.

Portfolio

   

(6.04.2004)
Our greetings to all our friends. We are in a fine mood, and all of us are alive and well. Tricks of a cargo- and luggage figures came straight to the fact that one our trunk disappeared. In this connection our stay in Kathmandu was delayed, but we visited sacred places. We moved forward on our familiar road, having cut dawn three-day travel by a vehicle from Kathmandu in Taplejung, to 40 minutes flying by plane.
Taplejung-Mitlung-Topetok-Chiruwa-Languless-Ghunsa - the settlements flashed and met us already as well-familiar. Leeches did not disturb, probably, they are in hibernation and sleep in their dens. But small and harmful midges bit, we have to scratch all the time. In comparison with the last year when humidity was 100-percent, and everything was green, now it looks like in autumn: yellow foliage, the weather is dry and cooler. Topetok and Chiruwa met us with red flags with sickle and hammer on high bamboo flagstaffs. Here is authority of maoists. We, Russians, did not pay money to pass their territory. But they usually rob others.
We reached the Base Camp on 5, April. The camp is settled. The Wall is much cleaner, than in the autumn. There is a little snow on it; also we can see blue ice of its couloir. Tomorrow we wait for the the yak's caravan with our equipment and we prepare to begin fixing ropes on the bottom part of the Wall bypassing the ice fall. Hoping for a soon meeting

Ruchkin and Co.

(5.04.2004)
"The team has arrived in Base Camp. Odintsov is in Gunza. The satellite phone works. "

(30.03.2004)
Odintsov called in with the latest from Panasonic-Jannu North Face expedition: Everything is settled with cargo, tommorow we will take flight to Tapledjung and on April, 4 we are going to be at Jannu Base Camp.

 

(26.03.2004)
Alexandre Odintsov reports: "We are in Katmandu now. Everything is OK excepting a "trifle" - a part of our cargo sended by Katar avia, fell into oblivion. Now we try to search it out and to find out what excactly we lose. Evidently the start of our expedition will be delaying. We don't despair of it counting on the local and on the all other Gods, and thinking that the situation will settle somehow..."

 

(15.03.2004)
On March, 17 a press conference devoted to the eighth stage of the project "Big Wall- Russian Way"- Panasonic- Jannu, North Face will take place (peak Jannu (7710 m), East Himalayas).
This peak is also called Peak of Horror. Many teams of the best world's climbers have tried to subdue its northern face, but the North Face of Jannu, a Wall of XXI century still remains unclimbed. In the autumn of the last year the Russian climbers managed to reach the record altitude - 7200 meters. But the team led by Alexander Odintsov does not consider the doubtless record the victory they strove for.
Only completely laid "Russian" route can satisfy them.
They are sure, that such ascent becomes a symbol of the highest climbing skill, connection of brilliant techniques with hard work at the high altitudes. The sports structure of the team is amplified. The new call is thrown. 7710 meters of northern face of Jannu are waiting for the meeting with the team.
The long-awaited victory promises to become triumph. In press conference is going to take part:
Alexander Odintsov - the master of sports of the international class, the project "Big Wall- Russian Way" head;
Oleg Kapitanov - the president of Federation of mountaineering, rock-climbing and ice-climbing of Saint Petersburg.
Press conference will take place on March, 17 at 13.00 in the press centre of ITAR-TASS to the address: Sadovaya street, 38. Information and accreditation on phones 310-94-34, 312-18-76

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