Odintsov. Briefing session before expedition
(Foto by courtesy of Karrar Haidri, Member Executive Council
Alpine Club of Pakistan, www.saltorosummits.com)
Masherbrum. It is decided to call off the expedition.
After the latest in a series of works on the route and stiff reflections it is
decided to call off the expedition.
Principal cause - the objective danger of the route repeatedly increased after
Weather is unsteady. After 2 last days of quite good sky, today overcast is again.
It is raining from time to time. The forecast informs about possible improvement,
but we do not set eyes on that.
During last setting off we did not reached even the top camp, having decided
that the life is not worth left gear and a bottle of cognac.
It would be possible to wait (having prolonged permits and visas), but the probability
of a successful ascent reduces every day, and the probability of traumas of team's
Generally, we were as green as to imagine that we can shoot a gap of Masherbrum
wall for complexity is equal to Jannu but for altitude and objective danger precedes
Five years ago, on July, 19 2001 during an ascent on Latok-3 Igor Barikhin was
lost. Remember him, the very good man.
And the last: as a doctor, I think, that the overall objective of the expedition
is attained: all of us are safe and sound.
As it is sad, having combined all pluses and minuses, we decided to throw it
The wall did not admitted all our efforts to organize an assault camp died on
feet due to bad weather and snowfall lasted for 4 days.
The situation is very similar that one on К2. The half-meter - everything around
is cowered with snow blanket and we hardly managed to find only a few ropes from
25 ones that we had fixed over hanging seracs up to the assault camp.
And the not safe way on the ridge turned to Russian roulette after snowfall.
Having played it a little we recollected the words of well-known trainer Ilyinsky,
that the good climber is a live climber, and decided not to pull tiger's tail
We have lost the equipment given by the courtesy of our friends sponsors.
We express them the special gratitude for their assistance in expedition's organization. And also to all our friends helped and followed us.
Weather has broken faith with. At night and in the morning it was snowing, overcast was low. Sometimes we
could see the sun appeared through sky breaks. But the clouds formed a veil over
the mountain from 5000m for 5 days.
Yesterday, when the sun hardly warmed the slopes, constant avalanches were collapsing.
Today, if weather becomes better after afternoon we will try to set off in the
top camp to see how the situation stands there and to work further.
Situation is enough difficult as we do not have a lot of time but have still
a lot of work on the route....
15.07.06. It has been continuous snowing for three days.
13.07.06. Weather goes in full conformity with the forecast: fog, heavy snowing.
We act according to the weather, i.e. have a rest.
The team is in BC having a rest. Weather started to spoil today. Clouds are banking everything around. It rained. After two attempts we almost
reached Masherbrum North face. About 500 meters of snow terrain remained. It is
decided as soon as weather allows we will make a summit push.
Oleg Khvostenko answers some questions we got by e-mail:
· The Mountain, certainly, is severe. The most important thing is the
absence of safe approaches. It collapses down from everywhere. Therefore we chose
a route on the northern buttress. The main crux in the top part - the yellow
rocks, located higher 7000. There are some really abrupt sites.
· The mischief of it is that it is hard to reach the buttress. First-
via a couloir. We can safe reach it only at night. Then we need reach the cofferdam
at 5400. It takes 5 hours to get it from BC with gear. If to set off for example
at 22.00, at 3.00 - we will get the cofferdam. Then we have to traverse a big
gendarme via deep snow and hanging right on the slope seracs. We thought to run
them, but had to fix the ropes. And fixed about 1 km for 2 attendances.
· When the sun comes out it is impossible to work: first of all it becomes
dangerous due to hanging seracs, and the second- sunshine is ferocious at this
time. So, we work from 3.00 am till 11.00 (the sunrise is at 5.00, but we are
in the shady side till 12.00). Then we get into a tent to sleep. Since 18.00 we
can work on the route again and descend only at night too. We are built this way
of such routine.
· After the buttress we got over the next cofferdam 5800. It is already
under the wall. Camp 1 was set there. It is still 500 meters from it via snow
site to the beginning of the rock terrain of 45 degrees: first the belt of black
rocks and then a yellow belt. The good surface everywhere is looked there are
sites of snow and ice, but the fall and altitude are impressive... We have reached
5800 but the mountain has not begun yet.
· We have got acclimatized up to 6000. But everyone feels OK. And nobody
knows what will be higher 7000 :)
· In BC everything remains like at Inylchek glacier. We pitched it on
a moraine, the moraine on ice. But we feel more bored here. There is nobody around
· All the expeditions take stand under К2, Broad, Gasherbrum I and II.
It takes minimum 2 days to get there. We communicate only among yourselves and
a cook, a kitchen and a liason officer. There is a cinema, music and a computer.
· Odintsov has got infectious hepatitis. In Saint Petersburg he was at
once taken to the intensive care unit. He is overcoming illness, feels well, continues
be on treatment.
· The incubatory period is 3 weeks he obviously had got infected before
expedition's start. Just his luck at the expeditions for some years.
· We work four together by two two-man teams: Ruchkin-Mikhailov, Dmitrienko-Khvostenko.
We are in a good mood and of a good health too. Everything depends up only the
And it will come out as well.
10.07.06. ABC is pitched at 5800 meters. As it was already informed, the planned direct route to the corrie under the
wall appeared very dangerous. The team decided to pass around from the right.
The safe but much longer way took some days. And finally ABC was pitched at 5800
meters. The ascent on the wall starts right from the camp.
Tomorrow in the morning the team plans to return in base camp and after some
rest will already continue the ascent from ABC not descending in base camp.
Weather while is good.
8.07.2006. A two-man team Dmitrienko-Hvostenko sets off at night to finish fixing the assault
camp on the ridge at about 5600-5700m where a safe approach to the wall is looked
and where the team plan to make the summit push.
7.07.2006. Alexander Ruchkin informs: "We are fine and safe. Just returned from the first
reconnaissance of the mountain. One may say it was first steps to the summit.
We took a detached view and acclimatized before. But this time we understood that
the mountain is not simple and do not want to let us climb for no particular reason.
Masherbrum North face is unapproachable at present, in the narrow corrie avalanches
constantly collapse and hanging ice seracs fall and block all the bottom of the
wall. Therefore we decided to climb the less dangerous northern buttress splitting
northeast and northwest walls.
We wanted to set a safe assault camp on the ridge crest, but the mountain showed
severe character, we were dug in vertical snow and a labyrinth of crevasses never
really got the ridge this time.
We climbed about 11 pitches, reached 5550mand descended further, failing in snow
and crevasses to the safe cofferdam at 5400m.
06.07.06. Unexpected difficulties to set ABC cropped up. Actually there is not any suitable
site for it. Today the guys climbed up to 5500, then descended to 5400 for organization
spending the night.
At night they plan to descend BC.
05.07.06. Actually we started our attempt to climb Masherbrum. The route directly in
the corrie of the mountain through the throat is dangerous because of constant
collapses of hanging glaciers. Therefore the more safe approach from the right
along a rocky ridge is chosen. For today the team gained 800 meters of altitude
and wanted to organize ABC. An avalanche-dangerous in the afternoon couloir is
ahead. Next time we plan to set off at 2.00 am to safe run it and to work on the
route maximum highly. Weather while is good.
4.07.2006. Everything is all right in BC. Sunny day. Weather varies every day, sometimes
several times a day. The forecast is unpredictable.
3.07.2006 Alexander Ruchkin informs:
“We are fine, safe and sound. Every day the weather presents surprises. Since
the morning it was snowing. Then- snow and rain. And that fact makes allowances
in our plans.
Today in the morning we descended BC after acclimatization spending the night
on the ridge at 6000 m instead of planned 6500 m. We rested against a lot of dangerous
In our plans: rest in BC for couple of days.
All photos (количество: 3)