Makalu. Ukraine expedition.

SW Face new route attempt, 2010

Makalu, ukraine attempt

Team list :

Valentin Simonenko - expedition leader
Mstislav Gorbenko - the coach
Mikhail Zagirnjak - the coach

Yuri Kruglov - team leader
Serguey Pugachev
Serguey Bublik
Maksim Perevalov
Vladimir Klebansky
Andrew Kyiko
Alexander Zakolodny
Pavel Kirichek
Dmirty Venslavovsky
Igor Storozhenko

Expedition chronicle


May, 23 2010

There was radio connect between base camp and our group at the top!
At the same time two mountaineers from commercial expedition reached the top via the normal route.
The fixed ropes are on normal route from the bottom to the top, so
we decided to descend by the normal route.

18:00 SUMMIT!!!
10 minutes ago Simon, the doctor of British expedition and Sirdar Dava saw three dots on top! Those three were, of course, Bublik, Venslavovsky and Roshko
ecause there was nobody else.
Pugachev and Zakolodny returned to the base camp. THey are good, except that crossing the river Serguey fell into it. Changed clothes, all right.

They climbed the rock wall at 8300 and reached 8400. Snow ridge is ahead. Despite the strong wind in the preceding days, the ridge was covered with deep
snow, they had to trail, which significantly slowed the progress.

Our group is now at the base of the rock wall at 8350. THe top is apprx in 2-3 hours.
Meanwhile Zakolodny and Pugachev nearly descended to ABC. They go slowly.

Our group at 8300, continues to move. We find Jay Sieger's body (he died in 2004).
We listen Sherpas, who fixe ropes on normal route. THey work fast, asks for more ropes.

Our team started at night as planned. The weather is fine, finally!! It's the first time in 20 days. The sun is shining and no wind. Noticeably warmer.
Dr. Gabl was right!.

May, 22 2010


Our last group (Bublik, Venslavovsky, Roshko) are ascending to Camp 5. Condition's good. THey're going to start to the top at midnight.
Pugachev and Zakolodny are going down. Now they are in Camp 1. Pugachev's condition is improved.

Marty Schmidt, our New Zealand-American neighbor, who last night went on normal route, would not reach 300 meters to the summit and turned back.
He'll try the second attempt on May 24.
I have just received a fresh forecast from Karl Gabl from Innsbruck. Weather tomorrow will be like today, the same wind.

May, 21 2010


19:00 Sasha Zakolodny in the C5. Trying to improve the site, he fell into a pouting, and found Vladislav Terzyul's gear there, which he left before going
to the summit six years ago. On the same site he found Kazakh team's food.
According to the plan, they're going to the top tomorrow, if Serguey'll have time to relax. Waiting connect at 20:30
Bublik, Roshko, Venslavovsky reached Camp 4. BASK tent destroyed by the wind. THey replaced the last tent from our reserve.
This is the third tent for Camp 4 (first exploded a week ago). Tomorrow the guys plan the ascent to Camp 5 and the May 23 attack.
This will be our final attempt.

May, 19
After 11 days of painful waiting recreation in the forest zone, we have forecast a two-day window of May 16-17.
In this period the first group - Andrew Kijko, Maxim Perevalov and Vladimir Klebansky - should reach Camp 5 at 7800.
The guys went to Camp 4 (7500) quickly, for 2 days, and then slowly, over two days, reached Camp 5 (7800).

24 April 2010 Ukraine team has reached this point on the route:

23 April 2010 Russianclimb today read in British Makalu expedition blog:

Invite to Odessa
Friday 23 April 2010

The mountains can be a quite strange place sometimes. The really unusual happens and it takes place as if it were the most common occurrence you could imagine. Take yesterday for instance; taking our first day off the mountain in over a week, Ben and I were left in the Base Camp as everyone else headed up the mountain again. About 15 minutes after everyone else had departed, two Ukrainians arrived at our tent asking to borrow our clippers. The Ukrainians have a national team out here and they too are seeking to climb Makalu but via a different route. They had read our internet blog about the unsuccessful cutting of my hair by Matt and therefore realised we had clippers. The two Ukrainians were the expedition leader and the expedition doctor (a full Colonel in the Ukrainian military but referred to simply as The Doctor.) They quickly explained that they needed the clippers so that the expedition leader could be trimmed and styled for a VVIP visit today. It turns out that the VVIP is the Ukrainian equivalent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (we think, although something may have got lost in translation). They also wanted a weather report so that they could advise the helicopter flying the VVIP in of the suitability for landing up here (we are at the extreme limit of helicopter capability in terms of both ceiling and dealing with the huge turbulence generated by local conditions).


We were glad to oblige with the clippers and were quite amazed to find out that the reason the expedition leader had brought The Doctor was to cut his hair, oh only how I wish I had waited and let him cut my hair as well! However, the weather forecast had to wait until we had done our transmission yesterday so we agreed to go over to their camp in the afternoon and provide an up-to-date forecast to best aid the pilot flying in the VVIP.


After spending some time developing yesterdays Blog, Ben and I trekked across the moraine to where we now transmit from. We arrived, got set up and sent/received emails, and then, just as we went live with the Blog a cloud crossed the sun and interrupted the solar charger for the transmitter so we couldnt get any further connection with the internet and therefore couldnt update the Blog. Now most solar chargers will work even in cloudy conditions, but this cloud was so thick it was like putting a blanket across the charging panel. After an hour of waiting for this cloud to be blown away by the very strong winds coming up the valley (it was only one big cloud in an otherwise sunny sky), we gave up and took our weather forecast to the Ukrainians.


They were really pleased to see us and so we had a hour with them talking over politics and the state of the world. One of the team is a chap called Yuri who has lived, worked and climbed in the UK. He knows, and is a big fan, of Wales and the South Coast of England. After much drinking of tea with honey, the expedition leader provided me with a personal invite to go and visit Odessa in Ukraine. Listening to the virtues of the city, as he extolled them, it has now become one of my goals to take my family and visit both Odessa and other areas of the Ukraine. Yuri was particularly proud of the rock climbing that is available in the Ukraine and as my children all love the sport it seems we could be on to a winner with such a vacation. About halfway through our time with the Ukrainian team, we were joined by members from an International team who have just arrived at the Base Camp. They are a mixed French-American team (male and female), with a very strong pedigree of previous mountaineering experience who are seeking to climb Makalu via the normal route. Having the French contingent in the Ukrainian tent I decided to make use of my full knowledge of the French language; gained over countless ski holidays and the full set of Michel Thomas language CDs. Ten minutes later we reverted to using my broken (and his perfect) English. This said it was a great intermission into what can otherwise be a quiet day at Base Camp. Realising we were late for our meal at our own Base Camp we made hasty apologies and shot back across the valley to be greeted by a quite irate head Cook who served up noodle soup, chips, pizza and Yak steak! I dont know how the Cook team do what they do but it is truly amazing, I think they could turn out a four course meal from a bag of crisps sometimes. Although the Yak has been hanging outside the cook tent for the past two weeks and it is slightly (actually very) green now, it tasted delicious.


Ok so yesterday I said that I hoped to bring you some really good news about Camp 2. Unfortunately, that cloud that stopped our transmission yesterday was the only thing that wasnt blown away by the strong winds. Colin, Rob and the Sherpas working the ridge faced winds in excess of 60knts and the conditions were simply unworkable in the face of that kind of wind strength. They had to return to Camp 1 late yesterday afternoon but as I write this they are back our along the lines trying to establish the Camp 2, unfortunately, the winds are every bit as strong as yesterday and I am just waiting for a radio contact to tell me things have again proved unworkable. Dick and the rest of the second group will be at Camp 1 now and so it is going to prove quite crowded in the two Cosmos tents there (there are 11 of the team now at Camp 1). Lets hope the weather abates a little and we can get the second camp in to reduce the crowding. On a final note the Ukrainian VVIP arrived and we watched transfixed as his helicopter only just made it to the landing site and then with an even slimmer bit of luck only just made it airborne again on his departure. We will be going across to the Ukrainian camp later and I am expecting the invite to Odessa to be extended to the rest of the team. With regards to the video I promised of the ridge, we are going to now provide a live view of the ridge up to Camp 2 once the weather permits so please bear with us for that. I shall finish now and provide a Blog update tomorrow prior to going back up the mountain.


Paul Hart

21 April 2010 Yuri Kruglov: the first group climbs at the altitude about 7100 m. Tomorrow they'll return to BC for the rest. The second group lifted loads from BC to the cave at 6600 m. The third group ascended from BC to ABC today.

17 April 2010 In the night all of us in BC were awaken by the huge icefall from the nearest top. Our valley changed its colour to white. But all is calm on Makalu. ZAgirnyak, Pugachev, Zakolodny and Kirichek reached 6600, and set the tent in the bergshrund, then Pugachev-Zakolodny fived ropes from 6800 to 6900 and pitched to the rocks of the bastion.

THe snowfall continues during two last days. Tomorrow Kruglov's group will start from BC to the route.

16 April 2010

Camp 1 at 6250 in the bergshrund. Very comfortable.

Today Serguey Bu8blik, Dmitry Venslavovsky and Vladimir Roshko descended to BC. Serguey Pugachev, Pavel Kirichek and Alexander Zakolodny and Mikhail ZAgirnjak reached C2. Tomorrow they plan to ascent to 6850 and to work further. Probable they'll spent night in the cave in bergshrund at 6600.

15 April 2010 The group led by S. Bublik reached 6800 m. THe strong wind and snowfall forced to return back. Kruglov's group descended to BC.

Brits are continuing to climb Japanese ridge.

Yuri Kruglov said that they met Americans on the way dow. Guys said that that part of the route which they'd already climbed, doesn't exist now. It was swept by rockfall on the South FAce.

14 April 2010 Today guys (Klebansky, Perevalov, Kyiko, Kruglov) set Camp 1 at 6650 m. Tomorrow they'll descend to BC, and other group will continue the climb.

9 April 2010 Today, the whole team made acclimatization push and gear deposit. As a result, ABC has been set at an altitude of 5700 m, and 200 kg. of loads has been lifted. We found the beautiful grounds left by the Slovenian expedition in 1975 behind the top of a huge rock. There is even a small lake. Also we found the artifacts in the form of ancient rusty cans and gas cylinders.

The team returned to base camp for the night. No injuries or damage. Tomorrow will be a day of rest and banja. Ill try to repare the laptop which refuses to work.
In the morning we visited Americans. Theyre wonderful friendly guys. We drank coffee, exchanged by satellite phones numbers and the radio frequencies, e-mail addresses in the base camps. We agreed on the exchange of weather forecasts and made a joint calibration of altimeters. Chris and Marty are going to climb new route on the south face between the Czechoslovak and Japanese ribs (where Britains are now working) and to film it. Thus, all countries of anti-Hitler coalition (of time of II World War) are presented on Makalu now J, as we have already jointly joke. By the way, the final ridge part of the routes coincides in all three of our expeditions. We expect the approach of two German expeditions too.

8 April 2010 Today we set BC at 4800, right on the place of Paragot camp in 1971. In the morning we're doing the shuttle carrying the gear, then set the base tent, powered by solar panels, banja, mess tent and everything else. Life has become better, life has become merrier. Tomorrow we plan one-day acclimatization push to 5850. Assume to lift 150-180 kg. of gear.

7 April 2010 We're in BC! All problems with porters are solved... We had managed to do all the way in 5 days. The Mount is huge, but we're getting used it...

31 March 2010 Our morning attempt to fly to Tumlingtar wasn't success. Now we're waiting next flight, at 2 p.m.

5 . .

30 March 2010 Yuri Kruglov: Today we had a brifing in Nepal Tourism Ministry. And received the permit for 12 climbers. The team met with the assistant of Elizabeth Hawly.

Tomorrow Mstislav Gorbenko, Mikhail Zagirnjak and Yuri Kruglov will fly to Tumlingtar, and then by car to Kandbari. THeir task is to organize the porters caravan.

27 March 2010 The team went to Nepal from Kiev.

Source: http://kruglov.biz/