Babanov is challenging a forbidding mount Nuptse East (7804 m) for the
third time. This time his partner is a famous Rostov climber Yuri
Koshelenko. Their expedition started on the 13th of September.
They took a flight from Dakka to Nepal, where they plan to stay till early
— A year ago
Valery for the first time invited me to join him in Himalayas. In general, I
treat Valera with high respect and I sincerely wished him victory in his solo
climb of Nuptse in 2002. Though I warned Valera that he’ll encounter such
obstacles in autumn that are very dangerous for a solo climber. For example, I
predicted a number of hollow snow ridges that are almost insurmountable for a
soloist. My coach and friend Alexander Pogorelov came across similar problems
at Lhotse in 1990 (it was a famous expedition when soviet team had
first-climbed The South Face of Lhotse). The same happened when we with
Pogorelov had been climbing SSE buttress of Khan-Tengri. That time we had just
four pitches of `hollow snow’ and it took a whole day to climb them. Belay was
`human-based’: if I was falling down one side of a ridge, Alexander was
jumping to the other and vice versa.
As Nuptse East was left
virgin, the idea revived. So when we returned from reconnaissance of the North
Face of Everest and met Valera at 50th anniversary of Everest
first-climb, our conversation was continued. There we decided that if Valera
continues his attempts, I’ll join him.
We have already worked
together with Valera. It was in February of 1998 when we in a duo
first-climbed a `fallen wall’ of Pti-Dru. None dared to climb around after a
grandiose 500-meter segment of a wall collapsed there. So we were the first
ones. We called this route `Helen’ in honour of our Russian fellow-climber
Helen who was lost in a summer of 1997.
– Nuptse East is still one of the highest virgin summits so our
expedition is very relevant. What about our chances for success? Well,
usual in Himalayas.
We’ll try our best, though. Much depends on weather: it may
void all our most sophisticated tricks. I think we’ll meet usual weather with
a quantity of snow that will bury our fixed ropes. Moreover, we don’t know
what we may meet on a highest part of a route where no human has ever been.
In a duo with Vladimir
Suviga we had done prodigious work and reached the maximal possible (in that
conditions) height of 7450 m. We have thought it over again and checked
everything. Reinhold Messner agreed with us that it is the only acceptable
tactics for a duo at such a route. We’ll fix ropes along South-East ridge and
climb upper part in an Alpine style.
It’s very possible that
we’ll not be alone in a base camp below Nuptse East. American expedition will
try the same summit. Its leader, Fabrizio Zangrilli, shared their plans with
me in our private correspondence. – `Firstly we wished to climb up the most
logical route but minding your previous two attempts and the amazing amount of
work you’ve done, we are ready to leave South Pillar for you and took
House/Blanchard route’ (the route climbed in 2002 and known as Steve House’s
route). I have no information about any other climbing team attempting Nuptse
This time we faced severe
financial problems. I invested the money I earned as a guide in Chamonix, Yuri
put up his money. Truly speaking, it is the only cause why we are climbing in
a duo. Volodya Suviga could join us, but – damned money…
background on the expedition is here.
In this expedition we are
sponsored with BASK, BEAL, Canon, Boreal, Simond
и Julbo. Our clothing is excellent
as usual: we with Yura prefer BASK equipment.