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Asia, Nepal, Annapurna South, New Route in Winter

Annapurna South, New Route in Winter. A five-member Russian team led by Vladimir Bachkirov succeeded on a new route on Annapurna South (7219 meters) in December. Climbing with no Sherpas, no fixed camps, no fixed ropes, and no artificial oxygen, Bachkirov and his four teammates ascended in 11 days of continuous climbing the central rib of the south face (or the south ridge), reaching the summit on December 17. Each man carried enough supplies for two weeks. They took only one tent between them. It was basically a route attempted once before, in the spring of 1988, by three Americans and one Briton under the leadership of William Silva, who climbed to a high point of 6100 meters before dwindling food supplies and deteriorating weather forced them to descend. The Russians believe that in the middle section of their route they followed the same line as the Americans; they found some of the Americans' rope on the ridge's very few rock pitches. The ridge in December was mostly ice with some snow.

Elizabeth Hawley