"Big Walls - Russian Routes" project


In May, 2002 the team is planning to make the first ascent of the Wall of Great Sail Peak, located in Baffin Island Massif in Polar Canada.

The dates of the ascent are determined by the climate conditions of Baffin Island. The Island, whoes territory is the third in the World, located behind the Polar Bound. You can reach the North-East coast of the Island , where the one of the most difficult mountain massif lies, only by the snow-tractor or by the boat (from the middle of June till the middle of September period)

The expedition promises be very interesting due to participation of Valery Rozov - the mountaineer in the past, and the famous expert in skysurfing now, the leader of the "Russian Extrem Project" He is planning the jump from the Wall of the Great Sail with the late opening of the parachute.

Members of the project:

  • Alexander Odintsov - the leader of the project
  • Valery Rozov (Moscow)
  • Michail Davy (Yekaterinburg)
  • Alexander Kljonov (Yekaterinburg)
  • Alexander Ruchkin (Almaty)
  • Mikhail Bakin - the doctor
  • Ivan Samoilenko - camera-man


The start of the expedition - 26 April, 2002


19 April, 2002 ITAR-TASS, Saint Petersburg

The expedition chronicle

6 June V. Rozov pictures from Great Sail Peak:


5 June Alexander Kljonov called to Yekaterinburg from Toronto:

Today we arrived Toronto by two groups. The best impression - THE REAL GREEN GRASS! You can't imagine what's this! We'll fly to Moscow on Sunday, there the press conference will take place, hope to arrive Yekaterinburg on Friday

About the route: Bolts are used only for reinforcing the portaledge and one time for pendulum. we couldn't work in two watches, but Polar day permited us to work till 3 a.m. All members exept Rozov, worked as forwardes on the route.

6 June we selebrate 50th birthday of doctor Bakin!

Greetings for all! Thanks fot our sponsors and all who support us during the expedition!

30 May Valery Rozov called:

The team has climbed Great Sail Peak! (in the night 26-27 May) 1500m of absolutely new route were climbed. The ascension lasted about two weeks. WE stayed at the top more than twenty-four hours waiting the good enough weather.

28 May Valery Rozov in the "Wing suit" base jumped from the highest point of the Wall.
All are OK, 29 May the team moved down th the BC


23 May Ivan Samoilenko from BC:

21 May. Yesterday we finished the preparation period of the ascension. The team started. All other expedition members took off the ABC camp and brought the load - about 140 Kg - to the BC.

The team have climbed 7 pitches till the ledge, where the portaledges are located, plus they prepared six pitches on the Wall above this place. The team climbs three pitches every day - they work from1 p.m. and 11 p.m. - there are no night!

All are healthy. Odintsov, according the bad tradition, caught the stone by his knee, but he's OK now. We rest in the BC today. The fried eggs, with red fish, coffee with rum and chokolate for breakfast. We have now the closer contact with the environment - Volodja went fishing for the night, he fished 40 icapu (kunga on Russian)

We had a day of exultation - now we eat the salt fish, fried fish and boiled fish. Yesterday was the exultation day for the couple of polar foxes.- they ate the fishe's bowels, and Volodja recorded the process by video. Camera man Dmitry Lifanov is upset - he can't make a picture of Polar bears. We tell him it's better to do it in the Zoo.

All who lives in BC have the inner fear of Polar bear visit, in spite of we are far from their usual inhabitance places - we saw their scents near the BC. We got used cold. Very soon , through about 10 days, we'll return to civilization...Girls, we'll be back soon! Samiolenko won the competition "the best erotic dream" yesterday.

21 May Photo gallery from he Baffin Island - on AlpClub site

17 May Sersey Porodnov - the guest from the Baffin Island

Sergey Porodnov from Yekaterinburg is the sponsor of the party Kljonov - Davy. Sergey reached the Baffin Island together with the team, moved through ice till the BC. He left Baffin 10 May and arrived to Moscow 16 May, where he was met by BASK company. He granted the interview about his impressons about Baffin's life and gave the letter by Valery Rozov (published on this site, but only on Russian)

15 May Valery Rozov called:

Party Kljonov - Davy works at the Wall now. They work 14 hours per day. The team have already climbed 4 pitches. They hope to reach the ledge tomorrow, the place, where all members will bring loads. Yesterday, 14 May, Valery Rozov, Lev Dorfman and Dmitry Lifanov ascended again the nearest Peak (Pobedy Peak) where Valery base jumped from again.

It's cold, frost Winter, Polar day - there are wonderful landscapes around - all this create the impression of unreality of the moment.

We caught a lot of fish in fjord, cooked the great fish-soup. And now we are sitting here, eating the soup and thinking about the warm home, relatives and friends. Greetings from the whole team!

13 May Valery Rozov and Mikhail Davy:

Valery Rozov, Lev Dorfman and Dmitry Lifanov ascended the unclimbed Peak, which is near the Great Sail Peak - it was the third attempt! Two previous failed because of bad weather. The top was named Pobedy (Victory)Peak (devoted to the Victory Day, 9 May - the Victory in the Second World War). The goal of the ascension - the parachute jump

It took 8 hours for the ascension, deep snow made it very hard. They used ski-tours. It happened: the first base jump from the first climbed Peak! It was like the discovery - we are happy! The top is 1480 m, BC is on 50m from the sea level, high difference - 800m of the overhang wall, fallen time - 40 sec. It was sunny, -10C. There are many walls like that in this region, but it's difficult to reach them because of cold and huge distances.

Today the party Odintsov- Ruchkin continue the preparation of the route on Great Sail Peak. The fresh fallen snow made the way from ABC to the Wall very hard - it took them 3,5 hours to move up 500m high difference, instead of 1 hour, which it took for Kljonov and Davy in the first time. They climbed one more pitch. They'll continue the preparation of the route tomorrow, than the party Kjonov and Davy will change them. May they will use the portaledge for the night to economize the time and forces needed for the way ABC -Wall.

The weather always changes: sunny - snow fall - but the Spring doesn't come. It's warm only in the dinning tent in BC All are brave, healthy, send greetings to relatives, beloveds and all who waiting our expedition news

10 May Ivan Samoilenko:

The North wind blows the third day. It's cold. The pressure falls. The party Kljonov - Davy fixed the first rope on the route yesterday.They returned to the BC today. Valery Rozov with friends went to reconnaissance to the top plateau and discovered lots of deep snow and Polar spaciousness there.

There are no nights, but temperature decreases to ten grades. It's better to spend this time in the tent in the warm sleepingbag. When the Spring, promised by Inuites, comes? We are sitting in the Inuit's tent, where walls were thicken by wadding - and waiting. Playing preference and nardy, reading. All are healthy. Doc gives us vitamin tablets and dilutes spirit.

7 MAY Alexander Odintsov called:

We set the BC near the South-East part of the lake by the Great Sail Peak. We see the profile of the Wall - it's great impression! Yesterday, 6 May, 8 persons went to the bottom of the Wall and brought the equipment fot the ascension. It takes us 2,5 hours to reach the Wall. Today we make the sledge from our ski, and will continue to bring things to the bottom of the Wall.

The Spring isn't in hurry here, it's snow every day, but today is warmer, -15C The water for cooking and drinking we prepare from the ice. We can't imagine, that there can be streams, where we can wash.

All of us see very bright dreams, it's the imagine of unreality of the current moment. We miss our relatives and beloveds. Russia seems the Holy Land.

4 MAY Alexander Odintsov from the Baffin Island: the team is in some hours walking from the BC. Snow-tractors couldn't reach BC, so we have to work some days to bring our equipment to the BC. Our camp is in the very picturesque place. There are bear's scents in our camp. We are OK, all are healthy.Hope to begin the preparation of the route 6-7 May. The weather is good, -10C, sun shines.

Bye, we love you.

2 MAY Valery Rozov called: We are OK in Klaid River. -10-15C, strong wind. We took 6 snowtractors with the sledges with 6 Inuites. They will stay the couple of days in BC, than will go back. Tomorrow we'll start.

2 MAY Mikhail Davy called: We are in Klaid River ( the last living point on the continent) It's strong frost ang wind. Tomorrow we'll start to the BC. We can reach it through 1 day, if all will be OK. Here is the good hotels, Internet and telephone in any village - you can call to any point in the World, and very cheap - 19c/min. Two Inuites are going together with our team

29 APRIL Alexander Kljonov from Toronto: All days are full of preparation to the expedition. I have an impression, that there are only Russians in Canada - there is the Russian language everywhere around us, and the titles in the shops are on Russian too... It's cold enough, we are thinking with a terror what will be at the Pole. Tomorrow we'll be here, than will go to Ottava, than will fly to Klaid River (29 April), than - will go by the sledge.

26 APRIL The team has left Moscow and is flying to Toronto

25 APRIL The press conference of the members of the unique project "BIG WALLS - RUSSIAN ROUTES" took place in Moscow. Lev Dorfman (camera-man) and Dmitry Lifanov (photo correspondent) are going to Canada with the team

24 APRIL The Canadian Ambassy opened visas to the members of the project, so they will start in time to the Baffin Island - 26 April, 2002



Photo by Elena Laletina

took place 19 APRIL, 2002 at the press center ITAR TASS in Saint Petersburg.

Participated: Alexander Odintsov, the head of the project, Mikhail Bakin, the doctor of the expedition and Ivan Samoilenko, the high-altitude camera man.

Alexander Odintsov: Why have we chosen this Wall? First, we failed during two years on Latok III in Pakistan. As a result, we had broken 10 ribs, 2 hands, 2 legs and lost Igor Barikhin there. So, Pakistan doesn't attract us this year. We deside to miss this point of our program and realize it later, besides the political situation in Pakistan is very hard now.

Second, the Baffin Island (Stewart Walley) is Terra Incognita for Europeans, no one was in this geographycal point. Some years ago American Alex Low did the first ascent the Wall on the Baffin Island. We met Alex Low in 1999, during Trango Tower expedition, and became friends. A month later Alex died in avalanche during the ascent to Shisha Pangma, and his body hadn't been found. In memory of Alex Low we desided to ascent the Wall, where he was the first, via the parallel route (about 50-100m from the Alex's way)

The length of the Wall - about 1500m, it is almost perpendicular, the average steep 80-83°

The team - 5 persons: Odintsov, Kljonov, Davy, Ruchkin, Rozov. Our doctor - Mikhail Bakin, Ivan Samoilenko - camera-man. We are going to create the film about our expedition.

We take the satellite telephone with us, thanks to general sponsor "BASK" ( the Russian Sport equipment company) BASK is our info sponsor too and provides our information to Media.

We have the tickets to Toronto for 26 April, but Canada Ambassy doesn't open our visas yet, we are waiting them during 18 days.

Question:Would you like to say some details about the project?

Odintsov:There are two kinds of the alpinism - high-altitude and technical. The hundreds of people , or may be thouthands now, ascent via the normal routes the highest Mounts, but technical climbers prefer to ascent Mounts via the most difficult routes.The ascent to Big Wall - is the step to the eternity for the climber. All routes on such Walls named after the first climbers or the country where they are from. There were no Russian routes untill 1992. We began from our mountains (4810 on Pamir Alay in 1995, Aksu on Pamir Alay in 1996), than ascended Troll Wall in Norway in 1997 - two exclusive Russian routes,than Russian route appeared at the Bhagirathi - the cult Wall for Hinduists, because the Hang River begins from the bottom of the Wall. Than Trango Tower - this is the cult Wall for the climbers. First ascension was done by Norwegian climbers, but two of them died during the descent. So, we realized 5 ascents. The sixth, Latok III, was failed. The Mount didn't resign neither in 2000, nor in 2001.

Question: Tell, please, about the region of Baffin Island.

Odintsov: The region is very interesting. It hasn't been seached yet, practically. It is the motherland for the Polar Bears. We are the food for them in their mind, so we deside to invite two Eskimo with the guns to our expedition.

You can reach the Wall by the coast ice, usually by the snow-tractor or by the dogs. It begins the Polar Day about 5-10 May, the sun doesn't set, the ice begins to melt. So if we will be late on the Wall or the expedition's dates will be changed because of the delay with the visas, we may have to stay at the Baffin Island till Autumn, or go through the continental part of the Island, which is the very difficult region. One American was obliged to do this, he was named "Robinzon" after that.


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