Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger Climb the “Coldest Mountain”

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger summit the 3,003m Gora Pobeda in the remote Chersky Range of Siberia. ”

After speculation that he might join his close friend Alex Txikon on Everest, Simone Moro eventually revealed his winter plans for 2017/2018 in late December. Simone would not head to the Himalaya, but venture further north to the little-explored Chersky Range in Siberia.

Simone’s target was the highest peak in the range, Gora Pobeda. Sitting at 3,003m, the peak had never been scaled during winter, leading Simone to bill the expedition as the “coldest climb in history, on the coldest mountain on the planet.”

The expedition team flew out to Yakutsk in late January and immediately set about making preparations to reach the base of the mountain. Yakutsk, a small city of about 200,000, lies deep in continental Siberia, the coldest region in the northern hemisphere. (The fabled village of Oymyakon, the “Pole of Cold”, where temperatures have reached -73oC, is nearby.) The team were greeted by temperatures below -40oC on arrival.

The expedition set out towards the Chersky Range on January 26 but heavy snowfall and poor weather conditions forced them to shelter for almost a week in a tiny village used by the local reindeer herders. It was not until February 6 that they arrived at the base of the mountain and were able to establish base camp.

Over the next couple of days they broke trail through deep, soft snow up to approximately 2,000m, planning to tackle the final 1,000m during the next favourable weather window. The team did not have long to wait. On February 11, Simone and fellow Italian alpinist Tamara Lunger decided that visibility was good enough to try for the summit.

Climbing alpine style, the ascent took about seven hours and featured mixed climbing that brought them to the apex at 3:37pm local time. The pair climbed mainly with rope, only climbing without on the steepest section of the face, where they understood that a fall would otherwise kill them both. Simone recorded a temperature of -35oC at the summit. Temperatures had increased slightly during the ascent, a classic case of inversion. The descent took 4 hours and was also undertaken without ropes, with each making the climb down from the summit independently.

Congratulations to Simone, Tamara, and the rest of their team for what looks to be the first winter ascent of Gora Pobeda.

Previous / Links:

Simone Moro: The “Coldest Climb of the Coldest Mountain”

Interview: Simone Moro on Winter K2

Simone Moro’s Website

Rock and Ice: Simone Moro Interview