Russians Summit Annapurna IV

News has finally come from Annapurna IV. Two climbers have summited, but things have been far from easy. Oleg Afanasiev was evacuated to the hospital with frozen fingers and toes.

Previously, we heard that the team of 14 had split into two groups at the beginning of the climb. One group reached Camp 4. Here, at 6,500m, they dug themselves two snow caves.

“We launched the final summit push on November 9, setting some 400m of rope,” Afanasiev wrote on Facebook. “However, we ran out of time and returned to the caves.”

Annapurna IV is 7,525m, which means that they had a further 1,000 vertical metres to go from Camp 4.

climbers digin in fresh snow

Snow caves at Camp 4 (6,500m). Frame from a video by Oleg Afanasiev


The climbers spent an extra day inside the caves, then resumed progress. Rather than head directly for the summit, they set up a fifth camp at 7,000m.

On Nov. 12, they launched a second push in far-from-ideal conditions.

“The wind was strong,” said Afanasiev. “Sasha Eliseev and I turned around at 7,140m.”

Eliseev went back up, and he and Andrey Dergachev summited at about 2 pm local time yesterday, Nov. 13.

Afanasiev’s condition required aerial evacuation. “I flew by helicopter to the hospital with frostbite on my fingers and toes,” he wrote briefly. “Gena Dolgov accompanied me.”

Afanasiev says that he will submit a complete report in a few days. Hopefully, at that time they’ll clear up whether they opened a new route or followed in the footprints of previous east face teams.

Meanwhile, Afanasiev shared a short video from the upper sections of Annapurna IV.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.