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Asia, Russia, Caucasus, Yarydag, Northwest Face, New Route

Yarydag, Northwest Face, New Route. Shkhelda lies in the heart of the Caucasus; Yarydag (3925m) is the easternmost point. On the northwest face of Yarydag, Andrey Andreev, Alexei Krivitsky, Sergey Voronin, and I established the new route, Northern Edge (VI 5.10 A2+, 1200m), from February 25-March 2. The climb was done in the framework of the winter championship of Russia and the “Open Caucasus” project. The route was climbed mainly free, in bad weather. On the stormy morning of the last day, it was not easy to find the highest point on the huge summit plateau, even with the help of two friends who had come up to meet us and help us find the way down.

My main impressions were that, as a rock route, the climb was too long for winter. The practically constant wind, with gale-force gusts that tried to knock the leader off the wall several times, made the ropes stand upright like cobras captivated by the fakir’s flute. Despite the cold, there was high rockfall danger when we were coming onto the summit plateau.

Andrey Andreev and I shared the leadership of the climb, Andrey organizing, I supervising the technical part. Alexei Krivitsky and I fixed the route for three days. During the last stage, Sergey Voronin joined us.

Yuri Koshelenko, Russia