Winter climb 2015: Peak Pobeda, Kazakhstan

7439m: Not many climbers would try Pobeda in summer, very few have in winter, now climbers are working above 4600 m
(By Andrey Verkhovod/Tina Sjogren intro) A group of climbers are attempting a repeat of the only Pobeda winter ascent accomplished to date. The original climb included Anatoli Boukreev, took place in 1990 and was mentioned in mountaineer Chris Bonington’s Great Climbs four years later.

Only 15 years ago Kazakh climbers were enigmatic legends to a few initiated mountaineers but unknown to most mainstream climbers in the west.

Kazakh star mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev had made some headlines; more for “appearing” in Krakauer’s Into thin Air than for his climbing though. His own The Climb, written in response to Krakauer’s book was sadly released only shortly before his 1997 death on Christmas day at Annapurna’s south face.

Fast, strong, and determined, new generations of Kazakh climbers continued to take to the big hills. Known to be outstanding when it came to climbing at high altitude, their success was not by chance. Often trained by an Army coach, the climbers practiced as if they were going to war: Routines involved three daily ascents on local peaks, extended and monitored gym sessions, and speed climbs in Boukreev’s honor that attracted foreign climbers such as the late Chad Kellogg.

These days, climbers such as Maxut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov are household names in the mountaineering community – and some even know of climbing priest Father Alexander watching over them.

Here’s about the current Pobeda climb straight from the horse’s mouth by long time Explorersweb contributor Andrey Verkhovod.

2015 Peak Pobeda winter attempt

By Andrey Verkhovod

Not many climbers would try Pobeda in summer, and there were very few who did it in winter.

The international expedition, Pobeda 2015, started in Almaty, Kazakhstan on 17 February 2015. It’s aim is a winter ascent of of Peak Pobeda, 7439m, Central Tian Shan.

If successful, it will be only the second lucky attempt ever, after the first (and – so far – the only) ascent made by a group of five mountaineers lead by Valery Khrischatyi on February 2nd in 1990. It was one of four groups that composed a very strong team of 21climbers that participated in now famous Winter Pobeda 1990 Expedition. The leaders of the other three groups were such veterans as V. Balyberdin, A. Boukreev, V. Suviga. No wonder that soon after the expedition, the account of the ascent was included in Chris Bonington’s Great Climbs anthology in 1994.

At first glance, given the current winter enthusiasm in Himalaya and Karakoram, it looks strange that such prestigious target as Peak Pobeda has such a short list of winter attempts.

The first successful winter expedition in1990 was, in fact, the first attempt at winter Pobeda at all. Since then, there was only one recorded attempt undertaken in 2003. There may be various explanations of such “short” statistics but definitely one of the reasons is commonly accepted fact/fear that winter Pobeda is a place for ultimate test of endurance – in one of the most horrible weather conditions on the planet. Not many climbers would try Pobeda in summer, and there were very few that did it in winter.

Further details related to the mountain and the current expedition will follow.

So far, brief data on the started project:

Read more…

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