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Route: Buenos Aires - El Calafate - Chalten (Patagonia) - Cerro Torre via Compressor route.

Terms: on January, 28 - on February, 20.

Main Aims:
1. Cerro Torre's ascent via Compressor route.
2. Discover of the area to open it for Russian climbers and tourists. Only three Russian expeditions have been there before and only one of them was successful. Alexander Lastochkin was in the Russian team summited Cerro Torre.
3. Participation in Russian Mountaineering Championship.

Team's members:

Alexander Lastochkin
Master of sports on mountaineering, Twice Champion of Russia
Job: industrial high rise works, rock-climbing instructor.
Hobby: singing to a guitar, bringing up his daughter.
Ascents: Numerous ascents in Caucasus area, Fanskie mountains, Karavshin, Tien Shan, the Alps Pakistan, Amin-Brakk (B.A.S.E.-climb), 2004 - 1st place in Russian championship (high-altitude technical class), Greenland (B.A.S.E.-climb), El Capitan - 3 ascents (including the most complex Reticient Wall route - 1st place in Russian championship (technical class),

Leonid Kozlov
A businessman.
Hobby: parachute sports, music.
Ascents: Caucasus, Crimea, the Alps, the USA (El Capitan, Needles)
Two-man team Lastochkin-Kozlov ascents: El Capitan, 2004 (East Buttress), Mont Blanc, a lot of ascents in the Crimea.

Olga Kolova - Manager of base camp, team's spotter.

 

 

Expedition of Russian Adventure Team Alpindustria - Cerro Torre (Patagonia)-2005

Russian

News:

(17.02.2005) new!
Leonid Kozlov and Alexander Lastochkin reports:
16.02.2005
Hi, everybody!
Now it's 5 am on local time. We had to cease efforts to ascend Fitz Roy because of an objective danger of the route: a huge ice-fall hangs over the couloir and it's constantly under ice bombardment. We decided to change our plans and to climb Saint Exupery peak (2558m). We are going to start, summit and descend this day. The weather forecast is good for the first half of the day, but for the second is bad. We will try to work faster. Wish us good luck.
Cheerie-bye!

(16.02.2005)
Leonid Kozlov and Alexander Lastochkin reports:
Hi, everybody.
Yesterday we descended in Chalten and in the very nick of time - got right into a global climbing party. The party was terrific and we had a great time. As always, Russian songs headed the bill. Alexander's singing already became a legend in Chalten. People recognize him in the street and almost nearly ask for an autograph.

Our climb was rather uneasy - the route appeared very long and difficult. We had to haul a lot of gear as the route includes practically all elements: difficult rock-climbing, AID-climbing, ice and snow climbing. We did our best and showed a good result - for the first day we climbed the ice-fall, made 11 pitches up to the Col and 18 pitches after it and stop to spend the night sitting on a small ledge under the traverse. It was cold but according to the Patagonian measures rather tolerable as it could be much worse. Since the morning we quickly traversed and met a great company of British climbers descending to base camp after four day-climbing the route. They were impressed very much at our technique and speed of climb, and later, on the party they invited us to arrive in U on annual international forum. In the same place we met Slovenian familiar girls Tanya and Monica that had luck this time: they found courage to return after a week-old failure and summited after a three-day climb.

After the traverse we made four pitches more. The sun was already shining with all his might. It was the 4-th day of ideal sun weather. We prayed on good weather and we had it. However it brought us the main problem. Under the sun's rays the summit ice mushroom, hanging above a vertical headwall, began to thaw and crumble. When we got under it, the collapse of ice-blocks drew to a head. Every pitch more and more ice fell from above. Making the 4-th pitch we had to shelter from the ice bombardment with our backpacks for some minutes and to take advantage of a 30-second break to climb some meters more. It became too dangerous. And we decided that living is high and bailed being overpowered by nature. And it was not for nothing. Traversing back and being already in safe place we saw a great ice collapse falling on our route and sweeping away everything on the way. Really, we realized that the danger was over.

Slovene girls descended this dangerous dihedral before us, but they were not such lucky - Monica was rather seriously injured and fractured rib. But all the same, they were very pleased indeed.

For the same reason this day Dean Potter did not manage to summit Torre Egger, Thomas Huber bailed too, the Austrians Toni and Marcus stop climbing Cerro Torre via Maestri -Egger route. Too good weather appeared good-for-nothing for climb in Patagonia.

Now we are reviving in Chalten and plan to leave on Fitz Roy to climb the American route. This time the weather is bad, but according weather forecast we will have a weather window on Monday. And on Monday we will leave Polish camp site at the foot of Fitz Roy. We have no enough time, in a week we have to leave back. So if they do not prove the weather window, we will not climb at all. It will not be easy to get under the route: we have to go through rather dangerous place - a couloir between Fitz Roy and Poincenot with hanging above huge ice seracs. We will try to work quickly.

Wish us of good luck.
Leonid, Alexander, Olga.

(11.02.2005)
Leonid Kozlov and Alexander Lastochkin reports:
10.02.2005
Hi! Having climbed the Mountain for two days we had to descend yesterday. We were too close to summit but got into a violent icefall right under the summit mushroom. Thank Heaven we are safe and sound but it was too dangerous there and decided to stop climbing and descend. Now we have a rest. We'll inform you about our further plans.
That's all on for today. Take care.

(9.02.2005)
Leonid Kozlov and Alexander Lastochkin reports:

08.02.2005
Hi everybody!
Yesterday we descended to El Chalten. Three days ago we hired horses and moved our base camp (150 kg!) in Camp-Bridwell. Campamento Bridwell at Lago Torre is a very cosy camping area embowered in trees. A stunning view at Cerro Torre massif opens from there. There are a lot of aspiring Cerro Torre climbers and trekkers living there now. Weather was wonderful. However toward evening surprisingly beautiful clouds of fantastic colors and shapes reminding UFOs appeared in the sky. It's the typical sign of an impending storm.

Cerro Torre at dawnAt night there was a nasty turn in the weather indeed, however the next day it improved again and we moved forward to Norwegian-camp at the foot of Cerro Torre. Having humped our heavy backpacks (about 40kg each) we made good time crossing 10 km onto a huge glacier, moraines and loose talus for 11 hours. Well, later we were requited for our uneasy trek.

Dean PotterA good company consisting of Dean Potter and his wife, Thomas Huber, climbers from Austria and Slovenia met us at Norwegos (Norwegian camp). Dean, his wife Stephanie and Thomas told that the Austrians first and they after them were going to start at midnight. And Dean really wanted to b.a.s.e.-jump from Cerro Torre summit.

Towards evening a Slovene two-woman team returned from ascent to the base camp. Monica and Tanya on hearsay were the first female team summited Fitzroy. They were very pleased and cheerful as they returned safe and sound. The day before (right when we were admiring clouds in Bridwell) they got into a violent storm. They did not have even waterproof gloves and their descent was rather difficult. In spite of the fact that they did not climb the last 4 pitches up to the top and bailed their mood was wonderful. Really everybody here are enamoured of climbing in itself. It does not matter if you manage to summit or not.

Tomas HuberHaving spent the white night under stones at Norwegos we moved further. Under the plan we had to climb towards the Col where to spend the night. But on our way we were informed on a satellite phone about bad weather forecast for the nearest 3 days. It seemed to be the truth because since the morning the summit was tightened with dark clouds with lightning flashed in. Thus everywhere except for Cerro Torre the weather was good. Fitzroy (just in 3 km) was absolutely clear of cloud. We dropped the backpacks and went further with light baggage - to get limbered up and look at the route condition. On our way we met the Slovenes who bailed their climb due to the bad weather and then Dean Potter and Thomas Huber. They did not want to ask for trouble too climbing through bad weather. Thomas appeared a very pleasant guy, smiling and thanking a lot when we suggested them to throw off the rope for rappelling.

The ice-fall leading to the rocks under the Col was strongly softened under the bright sun. Getting over a bergschrund, we had to climb a hanging wall covered with softened granulated snows. Tools did not hold in general, even when having been hammered on the shaft, they went further deep under pressing. We moved trying to find slices of firm ice, in size of a coin. Probably, the summit ice mush-room is in the same condition. But, as people speak "it's possible".

As the result we climbed halfway up to the col. Rocks were wet with ice sites in places and we climbed in crampons. When small avalanches began to collapse we gave up and descended right up to Bridwell-camp.

Austrians & SashaNow we are in Chalten attached ourselves to an excellent company: Leo Houlding and Kevin Thaw, Thomas Huber singing his songs to a guitar, Dean, cheerful guys from Slovenia and a lot of others. Yesterday we had a good party in our camping singing Russian songs on happy three voices to a guitar too.

Leo and Kevin just summited Fitzroy, Cazarotto route (North ridge). They had expected to climb the route for one day (under the description it's difficultly no more than 6b, and the guys are the real experienced climbers of 8-graded lines). However the route appeared very complex. They had to spend 2 cold nights on the wall without sleeping bags and a stove, meal and water. They were heated putting on backpacks on a head. After they descended Leo was sleeping for two days and then was drinking nonstop one day more. Now he is as sober as a judge, and they'll leave tomorrow for the next climb: this time it is El Mocho turn.

Dean and Stephanie yesterday descended to Bridwell and tomorrow are going to Norwegos. They want to try to summit Cerro Torre all the same. We'll leave tomorrow too. We decided to try to start directly from Norwegos in alpine style not to bivy at the Col. It would be hard. All the route includes about 40 pitches. We'll start at night on Monday. We have a good forecast on Monday - Tuesday, but on Wednesday the weather will start to spoil.

We'd like to hug tight all of you,
Alexander, Leonid, Olga.

(7.02.2005)
Leonid Kozlov and Alexander Lastochkin reports:

03.02.2005
Hi, everybody. Today we finally climbed up to Norwegian camp site. It took us rather much time.
People say that there is a bad weather forecast for the day after tomorrow and we do not know really what to do. We need two days to try for the summit.

Tomorrow we will climb hardly upper and spend the night on a shoulder's bergschrund there. Thomas Huber and Dean Potter plan to start climbing in 2 hours and ascend all the night, i.e. tomorrow to reach the top and then Dean Potter wants to make a b.a.s.e.-jump right from the summit.

(3.02.2005)
Leonid Kozlov and Alexander Lastochkin reports:

01.02.2005
Our greetings to everybody! Yesterday we reached Base Camp and homed in it. We found a lot of people there. Thomas Huber told us about his brother Alex Huber that had to left home because had wounded his eye (at least the story runs that). Weather has been standing magnificent for three days, and it hurts us that we arrived so late. We are afraid, that good weather will not hold for some days more and we will not have time to ascend. Tomorrow we are going to climb up to Norwegian camp site and , the day after tomorrow we plan to get the Col and if the weather is good we will make a summit push the next day.

That is all there is to it for today.

(1.02.2005)
29.01.
We flied almost lost-free. Only two backpacks with our belongings, sleeping bags, etc. and a tent were lost en route. But as people say money makes the mare go and we are going to buy needed gear in El Calafate where we will take off tomorrow.

And in Buenos Aires the real summer holds. They are dancing tango in the streets, beggars and paperboys are passing to and fro. The day is sweaty. Tomorrow we take off for El Calafate.

We'd like to hold you in our arms.
Alxander, Leonid, Olga.

30.01.
Things are shaking down rapidly. They found Olga's backpack and delivered it. In an hour our plane departs to El Calafate. Our greetings to everybody.

Today we arrived from Buenos Aires in El Calafate. Cerro Torre and Fitzroy were visible from the plane. The sky is grotesque here. Low torn clouds, absolutely flat, bear heavily on your mind.

As expected we bought all needed things in El Calafate. You can't pick and choose here because practically all the things sold there are made by one local company...

There was only one terrible tent and we had to buy it unconscious of how to use it. But there was no other alternative. And we bought a cool newest down sleeping bag in weight of 700g.

Tomorrow at 7 a.m. we leave in Chalten by bus. This journey will take us for 5 hours.

Alxander, Leonid, Olga.

(28.01.2005)
On January, 28 Expedition of Russian Adventure Team Alpindustria - Cerro Torre-2005 depart to Patagonia.
Alexander Lastochkin, Leonid Kozlov and Olga Kolova intend to ascend Cerro Torre via Compressor route.

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