Pobeda peak. First full traverse solo.

Gleb Sokolov

August 2005

Pobeda traverse can be considered a more serious goal than some of 8000-ers normal routes. This solo traverse was his old dream and the third Gleb's attempt - previuos were at 1998 and 2002.

August, 29th, Gleb's letter from Bishkek:

Greetings! I am safe and sound, after accomplishing everything I wanted!!!
Pobeda peak traverse has been done. However, sometimes I've been close to death, but the God blessed me... So, here goes my story:

I've reached Khan Tengri BC without problems. Weather was so-so, as it is usual in Tien Shan. Actually, there wasn't any snow at the base of the mountain, but higher up - oh, my God! But I had plenty of time, and I hoped, that excess of snow would be eventually blown off by winds.

I acclimatized on Khan. Surprisingly Khan's conditions were more safely, than usual, all unstable ice and rocks had fallen prior to my arrival. I was suggested to climb Khan with two girls. I've never seen such strong ones (physically and technically). Those in the Kyrghyz settlements are real WOMEN.

(It was 20th Gleb's successful Khan Tengri climb. Right afterwards, he planned to climb Khan again for better acclimatization - ed. note)

In my next acclimatization push on Khan Tengri, I finally decided not to reach the summit, but stayed the night at 6400m.

I began the traverse August, 13.
Very soon I reached the point of no return. When I summited Pobeda East by midday, I realized there was no possible way back: There was too much snow. I could only climb further, as going down was not an option - except if you consider an option getting down swept by an avalanche. Try to understand: There were sections where I touched the edge of the snow only by raising my hands over my head. Many times I cut the slope's surface, but being only loose snow, I didn't trigger big avalanches.

At the top of Pobeda East I've found the depot, set by Novosibirsk climbers in 2000 - It was of great help to me.

Than I met Tatars, they went the passer traverse, but have lost the member (she has slipped from a crest). I followed their tracks for an hour, further I had to open trail again.

At Armenia peak I've slipped "under the full program", from the very top, I felt down about 100 meters, crumbles. Luckily, I stopped against a rocky outcrop. Well, I was realy lucky - only that one of my legs had been caught and stretched up until it almost touched my ear. Thanks God I am good at stretching!

Then I climbed toward Pobeda Main, when noticed the helicopter. It came closer, and turned around. I could not understand, what was happening. Later I was talked that heli was searching of Serguey Zuev, who was cought in an avalanche from Verbljud (Camel) slope at the other side of Pobeda. All his teammates from Novokuznetsk were also swept by the avalanche, but they were luckier...

I knew nothing about the accident, but Georgians have explained me later, at 6500.

Then I descended from this side of Verbljud. At night on Vazha my tent was ragged off by the wind, I hardly made it through the night, but luckily I escaped without frostbite.

Well, in general, everything has been fine, , except S.Z death..
Tomorrow S.Filatov and me will go home, and I hope to be in Novosibirsk Sept, 1.