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Asia, Nepal, Kangchenjunga Himal, Jannu, Attempt on Direct North Face

Jannu, attempt on the direct north face. Big Walls-Russian Routes is the name loosely given to a series of expeditions that since 1996 have been trying to climb 10 major new routes on some of the most famous big walls around the World. Last autumn’s expedition to attempt the coveted direct route up the north face of Jannu (7,710m) was led, as usual, by Alexander Odintsov and included Alexey Bolotov, Mikhial Davy, and Mikhail Pershin from Yerkaterinberg; Alexander Ruchkin, Ivan Samoilenko, and Nickolay Totmjanin (Everest without oxygen), who like the leader hail from St Petersberg; and Mikkail Mikhailov from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. After acclimatizing in the Tien Shan, the team arrived in Nepal in August, trekked to Jannu Base Camp, where they arrived on September 8, and then started work on the icefall. In this dangerous section to reach the glacier plateau at ca 5,600m below the wall, Mikhailov sustained fractured ribs, a hematoma in his lung and head injuries when he was hit by serac fall at 5,300m. He was evacuated to Kathmandu and then onward to a hospital in Bishkek.

Camp 2 was established at ca 6,000m and sometime toward the end of the month Odintsov suffered a cracked bone in his hand, forcing him down to the village of Ghunsa. Meanwhile, Samoilenko, the high-altitude cameraman, had returned to Kathmandu.

By October 4, and despite less than perfect weather or conditions, the remaining five climbers had pushed the route out to 7,000m on the face and dug a snow cave. They then managed to fix several more ropes up the quasi-vertical headwall above to ca 7,200m, higher than anyone before has reached on this part of the face. But it was not to be. Snowfall, which became heavy, drove them down to base camp. By October 12 there had been more than three days of constant snowfall, which was almost knee-deep above 5,000m and had completely buried the fixed ropes above. As winter descended on base camp, the threat of avalanche became too great to continue and the expedition was called off.

Lindsay Griffin, High Mountain INFO