American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.), Caucasus, Mt. Donguz-Orun, North Face, Descent by Ski and Snowboard

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 1999

Mt. Donguz-Orun, North Face, Descent by Ski and Snowboard. Mt. Donguz-Orun (“Mountain over the Lake of Pigs,” 4468m), a spectacular massif southeast of Mt. Elbrus and with the Nakra-Tau (Cut Peak, 4431m) summit to the west, is covered with glaciers. The north face of Mt. Donguz-Orun is characterized by a unique glacier in the shape of an upside-down “7,” the icefalls of which spill over the Baksanskoe Gorge. It is said that one mountaineer, after climbing up the normal route, was seen going down the glacier on his skis, but no one in Russia knows his name and today this sounds like a legend.

In the first part of July, Alexander Kopylov (ski) and Vladimir Kopylov (camera man), Vitalik Mikhaylov (snowboard) and Genadiy Melnikov (rescue team) climbed the north face of Mt. Donguz-Orun and then made ski and snowboard descents via the 1000-meter Semiorka (“Seven”) Glacier, which reaches its steepest section of ca. 30° in the middle. The previous day, when the group was at ABC, a great ice fall and avalanche scoured the face, clearing it from danger. The upper part of the “seven” glacier was climbed by 11 a.m. and after 30 minutes’ rest, the team made a descent with photo and video shoots. In the last moments, with only about 50 meters to go, a small avalanche passed near the group. The most difficult part of the descent was the icefalls and the crevasses.

Vladimir Shataev, Russian Mountaineering Federation

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