Eugeny Popov (Tomsk)

Gurla-Mandhatha (7728 м)


Tomsk expedition, 2006

In the period from April, 25 till May, 31 2006 Tomsk' team was in the very remote region - West Tibet. The goal was one of the highest peaks there. which's sacral for Buddhists and Hinduists - Gurla-Mandhatha (7728 m) Only half from 12 attempts to climb it were successful.

Climbers went by car from Tomsk to Novosibirsk, then by plane to Urumchi (China), then another flight to Kashgar, and then by car to the West Tibet.

Tibet is wonderful with its colors, shapes, high-altitude grass-filds, fantastic mout towers at the horizon and unreal rock constructions.

In Darchen the team made traditional "kora" - went around Kailas - sacral peak. Somebody say that those who have done kora became free from all sins. But our team has another goal - to acclimatize before the climb to very high peak - 7728 m.

When yaks have brought all our loads to BC (5300 m), we began to work at the route - to carry loads to high camps and fixed ropes. Our route crossed the huge icefall - a lot of crevasses and extremely difficult sites.

We climb new "Russian" variant between 6200-6600. Set Camp 1 and Camp 2 at 6100 and 6700. We also had an accident: one of us had fallen into the crevasse to 12 m deep. But has been saved.

It's very few time before the season end, but we hadn't climbed the upper icefall yet. So, we decided to climb it during the summit bid. So, we mustn't do mistake - or good bye, Gurla!

Summit bid. Five of us - Popov, Karepin, Novitsky and two girls Ablieva and Konnova - started. After 6700 - the heavy mist, we climb according to out mind, but the strong wind has blown away all clouds soon, and it's cleat that we're on the right way.

The upper icefall. What's the decision? We choosed the left variant - it's successful again. In the evening we reached the snow filds above the upper icefall. Set the camp 7150. Night.

May, 20. We woke up at 4 .m., started at 6 a.m. 20 мая. The route wasn't clear, we couldn't see the top from that place. Reached the upper circus after a lot of ascents, descents, traverses.

And, at least, we could see the top - there's the long ridge, and we have to find how to climb it. 200 m of snow-ice relief, then 100 m rocks - and we're at the ridge. It's so strange - it's without the cornices, like the roof ridge the half - a-kilometer long. Balanced like rope-walkers, we passed the dangerous ridge. Here's the snow rise - is it the top? No, it's foresummit only. The next is after the half of hour. It's the highest point. GPS showed 7744 m. Suddenly the wind has blown away the clouds around, and we sow one more summit not far from us. It's the last.

It seemed the two last summits were the equal high. We wanted to reach the last summit, but I calculated the time and understand that we had a chance not to descent to Camp and spent the night at 7600-7700 without tent. No, it's the crazy attempt.

We began to descent. To avoid the danderous traverse, we decided to go down straight from the col, then the difficult descent along the steep slope, and our trail, finally.

We found out tents in the darkness. Some of us fell every 30 steps. The mount has taken away all of our energy. Camp 7150.

Next morning - the descent, taking away the camps and fixed ropes, preparing loads for yaks, seaching the cars in the darkness... The long day finished in the night at the Buddhist monastery lodge.

Our best regards and thanks for ll who work with us at the peak, especially for Boris Manernov and Igor Pavlov.