Gennady Durov (Almaty):
"I tried not to look up, just in front of me"
(About the new route, "stick to the dollar" at Pobeda peak, August 2011, Denis Urubko +Gennady Durov, which was awarded by Piolet D’Or Asia 2011)
We arrived to the southern Inylchek Base Camp (Aksai Travel). There’s warm and cozy! Thanks to the sun!!!!!
Just near the heli we were greeted by the BC commander Dmitry Grekov. He showed us the place to live, where we began to drag our stuff ... we had a lot of it. Soon I went to look for the familiar faces. The first person I met, as expected, in the heart of the camp (the kitchen!) was Tanya, as always, she was at her work place, cooking, and Julia, who pulled a strap of glacial life for the third year already. Tea, news and jokes quickly were followed by the dinner time :) and after it I met an old friend, the camp medic Avaz. Chatted a bit and drank some coffee with something nice burning guts ... .. wow! It’s already the time for supper ... I scored myself by the meal in advance. And this put an end to the day ... ... .. and I headed to bed.
In the morning we discussed our future plans with Denis. With a cup of strong tea we talked how to climb, discussed tactics and, most importantly, the line of the route ... .. gggggg, stick of the dollar... And the details: the gear, medkit, etc.
BTW my stomach waited for a next meal .... ... Hunger overcomes! acclimatization, blin! ... The eternal desire to eat and drink something... ... Den had just descended after spending the night on Khan-Tengri top, so I had to wait until he rest for 3 days ... He rests, and what I do then? So, I walked to the flowers, walked to the neighbors, and, of course, as a ritual walked to the old camp on the other side of the glacier. So the time passed quickly .... between eating and sleeping ... .. uuuuu crazy hunger! So, I did the task of the rest well under the warm southern sun ...
It was the eve of X-time! We’re here, all gear too, and we’re brave .... Fret and fume, fret and fume! Weather was so-so, mildly. Decided over dinner: If in the morning will be snow, we’ll wait for another day, if not, then begin with low start! Well, after the snowfall the morning was overcast but no rain .... And we threw our heavy backpacks on the shoulders, and marched to Pobeda. Only Tanya waved us in the Camp. Thanks to her.
According to the plan we decided to run to the first camp, and further depends on the situation: if the sun shines, not to go to the slopes, and sit in the camp, if not - then try to reach the "pedestal". The weather was overcast with light snow ... so we were tearing claws higher and higher, and only at 4900, reached a steep slope, and pretty tired, we decided to make a first bivy. Set a tent, and prepared everything for the night: the site, snow, etc., we had a photo shoot and lay down in the tent. Time 4.40pm, I wasn’t tired, but have legs ache a little. It was the first time I used snowshoes, and plowed so much snow in them.
I couldn’t sleep absolutely…. We’ll wake up at 2 am, start at 4am. How could I sleep at 5 pm ????? It is not clear. Den, I noticed, had a good gift to sleep always, sleep anywhere, sleep, and nothing could bother him... ... .. and as soon as he took a horizontal line, I heard dimensional breath ... ... .. Master, what could I say ...
Waking up is hard always. And the frost ... We had one sleeping bag for two, to facilitate the total weight of the gear. Turning it, we began to prepare a simple breakfast ... beeeee .... Only recently I began to eat buckwheat at an altitude… After eating buckwheat, sausages and chocolate with tea, we went out, our goal for today - to reach the place under the pedestal, it's somewhere in the seracs, as it turned out.
The stars and the moon, there were no signs of snowfall, except some clouds, drifting apart ... ... .. We run fast through the plateau up to the seracs and reached the planned point by 10 o'clock. And then a blizzard began, snow, terrible blizzard .... No visibility, and even the fog ... . .. darkness… I immediately remembered of the concept of "milk", when you do not understand where the top where the bottom… And in this chaos we descended back, during 3 hours, to the edge of the "pedestal". A good climber – is alive climber. Set the tent away from the dangerous slopes, we began to decide what to do next ... ... The answer came quickly: to endure bravely some hours, then look in the morning if the weather is affordable – we’ll continue the route, if not, then go home! So we went to sleep. Den, as always, slept, I couldn’t…
In the morning we were pleased with the clear sky and sun on the glacier in the distance, and, therefore, it’ll come to us soon ... and we decided to wait in the tent. At 6.45 am, when our tent was lit by the sun, we began to break to the starting point under the face, so the third day of our march began. We broke the trail again…Decided to rest in the sun and had breakfast on the plateau, eat mini snickers and a mug of tea. We heard the heli: if they’re searching somebody? or omitted to make sure that we are alive ... .... In any case, we waved and continued our breakfast.
At 12 we came to the starting place on the wall. Before setting the tent, we decided to scout the way to the wall and to break the trail, not to find right direction at night. Decided to wake out at 1 am, so it’s time for "dinner" and sleeping .... Den felt asleep, but me, as always, thought of goats, sheep, tops ... .... Well, closer to 21 felt asleep, I thought so !!!!!
At 1am we began listlessly stirring to prepare…we did not know yet, that this was our final for the next 5 days such glamorous bivouak…
At 3am we were ready and marched towards the success!
We rushed to the plateau under seracs and cornices, as scalded ... ... we planned to reach berg in 2 hours, but there it was! We ran less than in an hour, the fear has big eyes. The first safe place - rock island - we reached very quickly too, caught our breath and took all the rope out of the backpack. 50 m higher, I lost my mat, because, as it turned out, straps of the pack limp into the void after removing the rope from the backpack, which led to the loss of mat. Sighing heavily, we continued our hard way under the overhanging threat in the form of icefalls. 600 m of firn and the steep ice (60 deg) led to the safe area. so we worked next 2 hours bite the bullet and in the silence ... horror ... the fear .... If you look up, you can see the huge, 5 floors-overhanging block of ice, and if at least one floor, at least part of it tears off - that’s all…
.... I tried not to look up, just in front of me and ahead!
At 9 am we at last have reached the safe zone at the rocks, where awarded ourselves by a short rest, while repacking backpacks and prepare the iron for the rocks. But then it began ... ... then you are climbing the hanging rock, your neck becomes numb to watch up, the rock pieces and ice fall under the leader… The first pitch had been passed, the second, the third ... and at last, the first snow island had been passed, we overcame it via the rocks, to avoid be catch by the fresh snow on the island after the snowfall…
Our task for the day is to reach the second spot of snow. And we survived. At 4pm we spilled on it, and after going half-pitch through, clinging to the rocks, we found the place to stop for the night.
While Denis broke the trail one pitch further, trying to be closer to the rocks, I flattened the site for the tent, because we did not want to sleep sitting. And after 2 hours, I still made the site size one and a half mat, (as you remember, we have just one for two of us) so the half site we cowered by backpacks. Yes, I don’t wish somebody to spend three nights on the wall on backpacks... Well, nothing to do, the night came, one mat, one sleeping bag and two guys waiting the next day… And, again, my partner slept like a child, I only occasionally felt into the Morpheus’ embrace.
We woke up at 4am, started at 6am, and again there’s the morning breeze with the snow and cold! And the rocks, covered by the ice ... ... .. one rope, two, three ... .... And we went straight line of 65 degrees steepness, which led us to the summit tower. It was decided that Den led and made tracks, and I, heavy loaded, follow him. We climbed simultaneously, occasionally screwing icehooks. I poor remember what lasted next 2 hours, until we reached the rock, belted by snow and ice. And overcoming an hour more, we arrived to the point of the proposed bivouak. But looking at the watch, decided to work futher ... .. it was only 2pm, so we could work 4 hours more, so we rushed to the rocks to find a way to the ridge. And climbing through the snow and the rock sites, at 4 pm we’ve found the place for the bivouak and the way to the ridge.. we were so exhausted! ... ... I again prepared the site, but Den went to fix ropes further.. at 8-00 we at last could pulled our legs under the sleeping bag ... ... the fatigue waved!
That morning, no match for the others, was very hard for waking up. We had the maximum goal that day to reach the foresummit. With these thoughts we stuffed in our mouths with food in the silence, poured it all by a nice fruit tea, and began gathering, which took us about a hour (because we’re at 6700!) Hands immediately freeze to the metal, the wind freezes the snot right on the nose, I looked into Den’s eyes - and saw the horror! his face was all in frost, there’re ice on the eyebrows ... .... but tried to be brave, we began to warm themselves by the movement, the first rope has been fixed, and while we climbed 50 m, our bodies and hands warmed up under the backpacks, but feet not yet, because standing in the snow in crampons… it’s not to be envied! We did not change the tactics, since the rocks were not difficult everywhere, and changing the leader each time could be so advantage. After all, the nice days could not last long, and therefore, as soon we crawled toward the top, as more chances to stay alive…
Our persistence was rewarded: a short crook, and we reached the snow plateau under the top, and decided: go only straight! And we went straight, as nose is. And having worked for next 4 hours amid the couloirs, the rockwalls and ice, we were on a snowy top plateau, at 5-20pm ... mmmm ... .. well, and have decided – We’ll rest under Vazha trough .... And we rushed!
And after passing a couple of pitches, we came to the crest where we found the climber’s traces! and exhaled… All the worst stayed behind us, only the difficult descent remained.
We dropped our backpacks and went to the top light, there were still 300m. And here it is, so ... .... We're here, we at the TOP !!!!!!!!!! we’re absolutely happy, and emotions overwhelmed, I couldn’t say something really, but wanted to eat and drink ... ... ....
But we couldn’t relax, we had to reach Vazha today, and the time was 7-09 pm already. Made some video and photos, we headed home. Our forces had left us, as soon as we got to the Obelisk. And the ascent to Verbljud (Camel) was very hard for us, and then using the headlamps we approached the place not far from the cave, where saw the tent with Vitalik, Kerim and Asyl. They explained us how to find the cave, and 10 minutes later we were there. It’s full of climbers. But nice people are around, so perched in the corner, we ate, drank and fell to sleep...
Early morning climbers in the cave were going up, but we have gathered after them and began the descent. Time 7.30am, a clear day, with a few clouds on the horizon. Wishing good luck for climbers, we rushed down, it was chilly first, but we warmed up on the way down smartly. At 6400 in a tent we found Sasha and Yura. They gave us tea and we rushed further, and, 3 hours later we reached the plateau below the Dikyi pass. And going down from C1, we were drinking in every brook on the way, the thirst was so strong, and energy left us. We arrived at the base just to a dinner !!!!!!!!!
So, it was our climb !!!!! Thanks to everyone who supported us .
Translated by Elena Laletina (www.Russianclimb.com)