Red and White.
In the middle of March the Ural climbers have returned from the
settlement of Russia - settlement Kurush. Here, opposite to settlement,
the Northwest wall of Yerydag is raised ( translated from lezghin
as " Red mountain ").
3925ì - is the top of the Caucasian ridge on the border between
Russia and Azerbaijan.
Southern bottom of mountain are smoothly leaving to Azerbaijan.
Northern and Western slopes sharply break vertical dumps in a valley
of the river Chehychaj.
Northwest wall, well outstanding of settlement Kurush also is attractive
to climbers. At the end of 70th the first
route was climbed on the 15-kilometers wall.
1981 some teams (Ukraine, Moscow, Sverdlovsk, Leningrad) have chosen
this object for the Mountaineering Championship of the USSR.
next years development of the massif has proceeded - A.Mihajlov's,
V.Goloshchapov's groups accomplished some new first ascents of the
wall (6B - the highest grade/Russian). The most difficult route
has been climbed by Dagestan team to Northwest top in 2001 (via
the center of a bastion of the Northwest wall). The wall was climbed
also in inter-season period, a number of routes is gone in winter
area team in February 2004 has chosen a route in the left part of
the Northwest wall. Having come off "the ground", they
has passed Schedrin's route in 13 days and on March, 4 has summited
to the main top plateau.
Schedrin's route is 900-meter difference wall, gone by free climbing
(sites up to 6b-6c) and ITO climbing (up to À2). The lenth of a
route of 1200 m, with an average steepness of 70 degrees.
The low rate of the team was caused by the weather conditions of
winter of 2004 - snowfalls in the middle of February and a gale-
force wind blowing across Dagestan at the end of February, the beginning
February, 8, the end of day. The UAZ's motor convulsively roars,
overcoming abrupt rise on a frozen road. Before last rise, we overtake
the shepherd with the herd, coming back in settlement. The car,
manoeuvring between sheeps, drives in narrow streets of the settlement.
The first houses with flat roofs of the traditional Caucasian building,
randomly scattered on hills. Curious sights of local population.
Kurush sheltered on 2600ì above sea level on southern slopes of
mountain Shalbuzdag. On opposite from Settlement at the river Chehychaj
coast the kilometer wall of " Red mountain " dominates.
next days are devoted to preparations for the climb: refuelling
gas, preparation of things, the foodstuffs, carrying cargoes. Frontier
guards visit. Here, on the Main Caucasian Ridge the southern boundary
of Russia lays. Their arrival is caused by curiosity, rather than
All the January month was, according to local residents, quiet and
warm. Surrounding slopes naked blackness. The wind drives sand.
Only on Bazardjuzju, the highest top of East Caucasus, the white
cap of snows reminds of the winter period in northern hemisphere.
In February weather conditions are different. The condition of an
atmosphere obviously prevents to steal up to Yerydag. Instead of
three hours on rise, we spend five on descent. It is not possible
to lead a horse with a cargo , the snow is too deep.
set our tent under the wall in a hole - to be covered from a wind.
The duo tries to fixe ropes on a route, the others carry cargoes.
When the sufficient stock of products and fuel collects, we come
off "the ground".
are six of us, we spend the night in two portaledges. Snowfall.
The compelled expectation. Time has stopped. All world around accepts
a white coloring. The landscape from red-rocky turns in white snow.
From tent southern slope of Shalbuzdag is seen. The thin string
of road passed there, connecting Kurush with an external world.
Now it is interrupted by white weight.
second half of day when the snowfall abates, we do attempt of ascent.
The first climbs in crampoons, raking the snow which has stuck on
rocks, searcing of cracks. In some hours we have climbed about twenty
meters on an internal corner. It becomes clear, that we won't summited
till March, 1.
The next days weather became better. Rocks are cleared of a snow.
The relief again gets a reddish shade. Speed of rise starts
to accrue. Some huge breaks- grottoes are passed. Birds fly off
from them with shout, they are inhabitants of local places. Climbing
is too difficult for winter conditions, rocks are about vertical,
and there're hang over parts. Fingers on hands have cracked from
constant contact with a cold stone. Legs are frozen in rock shoes.
a hang over part at an output from a grotto. The first has hammered
a little unsafe hooks, used as ITO, has reached a crack, and uses
friends. The ladder is hung. Small a half-spot. Further, easy -
the rocks with a relief for free climbing. All this in a various
combination repeats every day. We dry shoes covered with hoarfrost
on a flame of a gas in the evening. We feel the top. The rocks before
a plateau are visible. The landscape does not match in any way representations
about Caucasus. Huge rocks brick color remind " the wild West
" from American western. On the distant plan hills of a valley
leave on the East and are dissolved on horizon in the white fine
of the clouds which have mixed up with mist of Caspian sea.
On March, 4. Last days the wind has amplified, cuts our faces by
the snow groats. Some stones has flown from the top. Impulses are
as in a air-tube. It seems, like you are tear off from a wall. Moving
with a portaledge in the collected condition reminds attempt of
flight on a paraglide. Chilly. Legs do not maintain a cold of the
close rock shoes, and we have to climb in clumsy boots. We have
got out by the crevice on a half-spot, traces of the previous ascentions
are visible across, we see the rests of the yellowed ropel, the
old hook is higher in a crack. Small wall. Bolt is on a stone. Further
"road" on a ledge. THe way to a plateau lies through the
simple rocks. Here we are met with a wind of deafening force.
We go on a plateau connected by a rope, trying to struggle with
an air pressure. The wind is so strong, that at times all six with
backpacks are thrown on the ground.
When spending the night we try to build a wall from snow bricks
near the tent. This "house of cards" scatters under the
next impulse. We get tent and are hardly go inside all together.
It is necessary to stay night here, but it has no value now. The
route is gone, we have only to descend downwards.
The climb is accomplished by the team of
coach of the team - Alexander Mikhajlov.
for the help to people without which this action would fail. To
sponsors of the team:
ASKAN " - for climbing ropes
"Alpindustry " Yekaterinburg - for the
hooks, used on a route.
" Manaraga " - for a portaledge and the
tent protecting us from a wind and a bad weather.
Insurance company " Northern treasury "
- for care of the team which has insured participants from accident.
To information partners of Radio " Ekofond"
To site "www.the-world-around.com" for
adherence to subjects of mountaneering.
To the President of Mountaneering Federation of Dagestan
Peter Leonov for responsiveness and the help.
To all inhabitants of settlement Kurush for goodwill and hospitality.
faithfully Vadim Popovich, the participant of an ascention.