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Photo & TV group: Igor Borisenko, Vladimir Kuptsov, Serguey Gaidukov, Yuri Dimchuk.

Expedition chronicle


29 Jan 2012 The trio: Iljas Tukhvatullin, Andrew Mariev and Vadim Popovich worked on the route since Jan, 25. The duo Alex Bolotov and Eugeny Vinogradsky worked since Jan, 26.
They brought gear to C2 and further, made the depo. Andrew and Alex fixed 12 ropes, they reached 7000 m. 17 ropes has been already fixed above C2.
Yesterday the group led by Nickolay Totmjanin (Valery Shamalo and Vitaly Gorelik) started up from BC. Now they are in C2. Tomorrow they plan to climb upper 7000 m and to find the place for C3.

24 Jan 2012 Today morning Vladimir Belous has been evacuated by heli from BC. Good luck, Vladimir, to treat your fingers!

Yesterday, Jan, 23, Nick Totmjanin’s group went up from BC in bad weather.
Hooray! Today, Jan, 24, we see the sun, but the sun with the strong wind.

Today Totmjanin’s group climbed above C2, but the strong wind forced them to descend to BC.
Today in 12:00 Moscow time we had the first direct television broadcast with the TV company NTV-Plus. The second live broadcast will be on Friday in Moscow at the 12:00 at the channel Sport-plus.

The helicopter landed in BC about 9 am. We waited it some days, because of the bad weather. Vladimir Belous was evacuated from BC. He has frostbites on the1st finger on the right hand and three fingers on the left hand, the second step. Here in BC our doctor Serguey Bychkovsky help Vladimir with all needed first aid. Then Vladimir will fly from Skardu to Islamabad and then to Moscow. The team thanked the insurance company RESO Guarantee for the timely, prompt support!

The expedition head Victor Kozlov
The expedition doctor Serguey Bychkovsky

23 Jan 2012 TV correspondent Yuri Dimchuk wrote today: according to locals (our cooks), the weather in December and January on K2 is always very bad, extremely windy. But later, since Jan, 25, it would be better, warmer and less windy. We hope…

Yuri publishe also some pictures from the party, where Alex’ birthday was selebrated when guys descended to BC.

And also you can see Vladimir Belous, with frostbitten fingers (not toes!) and the doctor, who is treating him.

Pics: Yuri Dimchuk

22 Jan 2012 Jan, 20 Iljas’s group descended to BC. Jan, 22 Alexey Bolotov’s group returned to BC too.
Guys lifted loads to C2. C1 and C2, broken by the hurricane, has been reset.
They couldn’t climb above C2 via fixed some days earlier ropes because of the strongest winds.

Yesterday, close to the evening, the sun appeared on the sky for 30 minutes. We didn’t see the sun from Jan, 12. But today, Jan, 22 the weather extremely worsened.

The trio led by Nick Totmjanjn are ready for the work on the route.

20 Jan 2012 Alex Bolotov (who’s 49 today!) and Eugeny Vinogradsky are going up from BC.

19 Jan 2012 Eugeny Vinogradsky called to Yekaterinburg:

Jan, 14 we ascended to C1, there was the strong wind, but that night we spent good. We hoped to work on the route next 3 days. But Jan, 15 the wind became hurricane, and on 1-30 am we felt out tent was kicked hard… I said to my mates that we have to put on clothes… next wind gust, and we were in time to put on our boots and harnesses… The tent was immediately cut by the wind, and our gear flew out of it. We risked to be swept with the tent, it standed on the edge of the rock. Me and Vladimir Belous were in time to put on the crampons, but Alexey Bolotov’s crampons were swept out by the wind… But then we were lucky to descent fast and successful to BC. But there… The hurricane had cut 6 tents, a lot of gear was swept throw BC territory. Now all is OK, we repair the tents. The wind is calmer.

Eugeny Vinogradsky (left), Vladimir Belous, Alexey Bolotov in BC after the dramatic night descent from C1, swept by the hurricane.

18 Jan 2012 The forecast shows the increasing of the wind speed to weekend till 135 km/h. Totmjanin’s trio is now dsending t BC, they spent night in new C1, and hoped to spent next in C2, but it’s impossible because of strong wind…

17 Jan 2012 Look at video “Base Camp” on the official expedition site! Today Nick Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo and Vitaly Gorelik work on the route, their goal is to reborn C1 and, probably, C2…

15 Jan 2012 Today was the Hurricane on the Mount and in the BC. Our tents flew in BC. C1 has been absolutely swept. Bolotov’s trio returned to BC.
Today evening all the team is in BC. Tomorrow we’ll repair our tents. And next day, if the weather permits, Totmjanin’s trio will start up.
We hope for the weather forecast from Karl… Hope to receive this very important for us data today or tomorrow.

14 Jan 2012 Today Iljas Tukhvatullin, Andrew Mariev and Vadim Popovich descended to BC. Jan, 12 they reached 6350 m, cut the site for the tent, and decendd to C1, where spent the night. Next morning they returned to 6350 m, set the tent of C2 and fixed 5 ropes above it.

Today Alex Bolotov, Eugeny Vinogredsky and Vladimir Belous ascended to C1 from BC with the loads for the next camp. They are in C1 now.

The weather in BC is very bad, overclouded. The wind speed at 6000 m is about 30 km/h, at 7000 m till 40 km/h. There’re few snow on the route, but a lot of hardest winter ice.

The trio led by Nick Totmjanin is preparing to start up tomorrow from the BC.

Camp 1 at 6000 m

Andrew Mariev

Nickolay Cherny in BC

Iljas Tukhvatullin

Vadim Popovich

11 Jan 2012 Nickolay Totmjanin and Valery Shamalo fixed ropes above C1, spent the night there and today descended to BC. Iljas Tukhvatullin and Vadim Popovich are now in C1, preparing for the night. Tomorrow they’ll go further and hope to set C2.
The team has fixed 21 ropes from the route beginning till C1, and 16 ropes above C1.

All expedition members and all cargo are in BC and C1.
The coach Nickolay Cherny sits in the mess-tent and keeps the wood stove…

9 Jan 2012 Alexey Bolotov, Vladimir Belous and Eugeny Vinogradsky today fixed 5 ropes above C1 and then descended to C1 and stayed for the night there. Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Andrew Mariev and Vadim Popovich lifted the loads to C1 today and descended to BC. The weather was acceptable today, but no sun…

8 Jan 2012 Yesterday, Jan,7, the weather was very bad: snow storm, strong wind, the visibility 50 m in the BC.
Today morning Alexey Bolotov, Eugeny Vinogradsky and Vladimir Belous went up from BC. They lifted loads to C1 and stayed there for the night.
Tomorrow, if the weather permit, Bolotov’s trio will set ropes above C1. And the second group will start up from the BC.

6 Jan 2012 Today Jan, 6 the weather is too bad at the bottom of K2. The trio Iljas Tukhvatullin, Andrew Mariev and Vadim Popovich descended from C1 to BC. Alexey Bolotov’s group in so bad weather lifted the gear loads and made the depo at 5500 m. Now all the team is in BC, preparing the holiday dinner (Today is the Ortodox Christmas!)

5 Jan 2012 Yesterday, Jan, 4, the trio Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo and Vitaly Gorelik worked on the route. Today morning Iljas Tukhvatullin, Andrew Mariev and Vadim Popovich left BC and went up. At 6050 m they prepared the site and set the tent of C1. They stay for the night in that tent. Tomorrow morning Alex Bolotov, Vladimir Belous and Eugeny Vinogradsky will start up from BC.

3 Jan 2012 Alex Bolotov, Vladimir Belous and Eugeny Vinogradsky fixed 6 ropes and reached 5900 m. Tomorrow Nick Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo and Vitaly Gorelik will work on the route. Today weather: BC (5000 m) -23C, 5900 m -29C

But there’s the place in BC, where is always warm: the large mess-tent with the wood stove (wood had been brought in October to BC by porters). There’s the temperature +3+5C, when there’s -23C outdoor. It is comfortable for the climbers to rest there.

The ice, used for the water for tea and cooking, is so hard, that we has broken two ice-axes.

2 Jan 2012 Today the first group began to work on the route. Iljas Tukhvatullin, Andrew Mariev and Vadim Popovich fixed ropes and reached 5600 m. Tomorrow the second group – Alex Bolotov, Vladimir Belous and Eugeny Vinogradsky – is going up too.
It’s few snow on the route, but too cold.

Yuri Dimchuk: We stayed in Skardu again. The forecast shows that we’ll stay here fot 3-…. days…Guys in BC had some problems with the generator.

1 Jan 2012 Yuri Dimchuk:
Happy New Year! The third group didn’t fly to BC today. Pilots said that there’re no conditions in K2 BC. We met NY in the hotel, with candles, because there’s no electricity power. But we had New Year tree! Guys in BC are setting the camp, we’ll send you news ASAP they ‘ll call us.

31 Dec 2011 Today Eugeny Vinogradsky, Nickolay Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo, Vitaly Gorelik, Nickolay Cherny and Serguey Bychkovsky arrived to BC by heli. Tomorrow, if the weather permit, the third group will fly to BC with the rest of the expedititon loads.

30 Dec 2011 First! Departed!
Dec, 30 in the morning the helicopter MI-17 started from the Army Base in Skardu. Boarded: Iljas Tuhkvatullin, Andrew Mariev, Alexey Bolotov, Vadim Popovich, Vladimir Belous, three Pakistani and the part of the expedotion loads. Today at 5000 m under K2 five Russians and three Pakistani began to set BC. Tomorrow, if the weather permits, there’ll be the second flight from Skardu to BC.

26 Dec 2011 The second part of the team returned to Skardu from the acclimatization. We wait the helicopter to BC…

23 Dec 2011 Vadim Popovich: Dec, 19 eight members went by cars to the south of Skardu. Spent night at 3800 m, then reached the pass. Two nights at 4000 m. Next day ascended to 4400 m.

Vladimir Belous: some pictures from the acclimatization push


22 Dec 2011 Eight members returned to Skardu after the acclimatization push. Other 8 will begin the same tomorrow. Expeditional loads are ready for the heli transportation to BC. The weather begins inproving.We wait when Pakistani Army will provide a helicopter to airdrop our supplies.

21 Dec 2011 Yuri Dimchuk (TV correspondent): our doctor has a stomach problem yesterday. But today morning he’s OK.

19 Dec 2011 Eight climbers began their acclimatization push. Others are preparing loads for the tranportation to BC.

17 Dec 2011 Victor Kozlov called: “We’ve already reached Skardu”

15 Dec 2011 Victor Kozlov called (3-40 pm): today morning we came to the aitport. WAited till midday, but the flight to Skardu was postponed… maybe airport there couldn’t work. We decided not to risk, and to go by bus. Now we’re on the way.

13 Dec 2011 In the Central Alpine Club of Pakistan, in a solemn atmosphere the Russian team was awarded by an official permit for a winter ascent to K2 top. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Central television channels in Pakistan.

Today, December 9, launched a new unprecedented project of the national team of Russia on mountaineering – “Winter ascent of K2 (8611 m)” . Shortly before the start of this unique expedition Nicholas Totmyanin , Honoured Master of Sports, the owner of Piolet, ran to the office of Red Fox for the last inspection equipment team. pictures of the expedition “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m” RF: What are the dates of the expedition?

NT: We take off on December 9. In general, we plan to be at base camp on January 1. At check-in time to spare. First, before you fly by helicopter at 5200 m, we need to come to Skardu and acclimatise somewhere. Second, in December, a very unstable weather, and we may encounter a situation where the helicopter would not fly for weeks. Or are only 2-3 opportunities for getting to. Therefore, we should so plan the first new members have got to base camp, could immediately start working and have all the necessary equipment. It may also happen that the weather is good, the cargo is ready, but we have not yet acclimatized. In this case, two high-altitude porters loaded with the first flight to build a base camp.Not only do they have to be acclimatized, so another 1-2 days I’ll have to teach them how and where to put the tent. To do this, we have a rough plan of base camp, which is painted where that should be located relative to the helipad. To be close to the tent is not blown away when landing the helicopter. Well, and more … Winter is long, 29 days in February! 🙂 On one day we have more!

Photos from the expedition, “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m” 

RF: Preparation is the final stage?

NT: Yeah, working on all the details. Stove and a kerosene heater. Communication is provided by sponsors. Chefs will be people who work in the summer high-altitude porters. They will be equipped with special equipment such as sleeping bags and warm puff. Ordinary cook, we can not take because it is unthinkable for a cold. Take with 6 new kerogazok. Now the porters on summer prices are entered kerosene and firewood. Since we do not know what they will bring kerosene, here I made ​​the filters for gasoline and kerosene from the sand and water. The generator is also duplicated. As shown, even in the summer to take a dangerous – it may be damaged. And, therefore, does not charge any batteries or radios, no telephones. Work is also underway with the local population. For example, fuel for the generator, we will buy at some gas station at a specific person. In case of bad weather and cancellation of getting to some day we will have to spend the night in a hotel. But only one in Skardu, warm hotel for 18 seats. Therefore, we advance in the last year agreed with the owner to an additional amount was booked at this time just for us. So even try to anticipate such nuances. In Viktor Kozlov with a whole suitcase of paper will be a detailed painting of all the things needed for the expedition. Athletes ready. In spring and summer all those involved in the ascent of K2, were in the high mountains. Especially for our company fabricated a high-tech Red Fox gear. In winter than in summer are important insulation quality of clothing, tents, sleeping bags, mats. We have tried to take this into account, and the company Red Fox realized our wishes in gear. Underwear + + polartekovy kombeza gorteksovy or downy kombeza – suit, in a word, sleeping bags, which can be combined in pairs or sostegivat, tents with double inner layer, special masks for respiratory protection from cold air, – this and much more is made ​​specially for the expedition .

Photos from the expedition, “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m”

RF: When can you expect, the first summit attempt?

NT: I hope that will happen is some natural anomaly and at the base camp in January bloom flowers:) Then we immediately go to the summit. Time of the assault camp to the summit will be a maximum day. We’ll have to literally run away. One happy that winter still, day or night. But perhaps, when we arrive, two months will stand severe frosts. For us, it’s perfect weather – the sun, no clouds, no wind, calm down. But this means that the space temperature at night. And our happiness, if the weather is like in the summer, will change very dramatically. Then the wind will unfold in the other direction, the air goes up the hill and becomes warmer. Last winter I watched all the reports – the wind is less than 70 km / h did not show. But there were times when it is now for weeks kept the temperature of -15-25 ° C, at the top of -35 ° C. This is not hot. But it is a normal summer temperatures Peak Pobeda. We know with what it is. And if the wind and -50 ° C, did not save him. After all, we still climb and oxygen-free! The only good thing that the air is dry, and frost is better tolerated. We hope that there will be no wet fronts. It is also possible that all the cracks on the route will be blocked by snow, and we will be able to dig somewhere cave. If a strong wind blows, the tent creates a loud, monotonous drum sound, which psychologically puts pressure on athletes. And if you dig a tent on the floor of the cave, you can comfortably relax. In addition, in a cave, until it does not snow and set obmerz and warm. When burning a candle 0 ° C, despite the fact that the street can be -20 …- 30 ° C. Thephoto of the expedition “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m” RF: It will be filming the expedition?

NT: This is one problem. She was not climbing, but it is a problem for athletes. We have scheduled 5 Live and 5 entries for NTV. How will the equipment for the operators in such harsh conditions, is unclear. They also have to remove and inside the tent and outside. Usually you take the camera, and it says -20 to +50 ° C. A qualitative survey is needed, especially video. When we go up the hill, trying to make every effort to keep the camera dry and warm. Keep it or puff, or a sleeping bag, at the very least a warm things in the backpack. A base camp operators will be responsible for their own equipment. How do they manage to keep equipment in the performance? This is an issue. And then we somehow are able to take a hefty gloves, and the operators – I do not know:). Photo Expedition “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m” RF: Dawit is a need to survey participants in climbing?

NT: From the perspective of an ordinary member, I do not care if I can shoot or not. But I myself put in place Viktor Kozlov, – for it is no less important task than to provide us. Of course, he will make every effort to organize the best shot. After all, we go to work on the mountain, and he will only sit at the base camp and get nervous. Here, care for him – to help operators. To write the camera, the batteries do not sit down to the people themselves do not feel cold. We will survive somehow, I do not doubt it. The doctor we have an experienced climber. Yes, and Viktor Kozlov in the expedition spent a long time.

Photos from the expedition, “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m”

RF: In the event of an emergency, such as disease or some of Athletes, in whose care you can count on?

NT: In the winter, except for us on the mountain no one will. Therefore, the only thing we can do – it’s 2 days to go down to the border guards, which in turn can call someone. That’s it! Real help can only come if the weather is good fly a helicopter. So we should expect that if someone gets sick, have a very long stay at base camp. In general, winter walks across Russia flu. And if someone gets sick before the expedition climbers, it’s best to him and not to go. This is a problem that could knock someone in the last minute. Of course, we have pre-akklimatiziruemsya. And in general I think that when you go on a serious acclimatization, athletes must be torture, so that if someone is sick, it is immediately apparent. To advance the doctor began to take some action, up to the order to send the athlete’s home. It will be cheaper than to produce a rescue helicopter. It is very difficult to understand at first, the disease or not. Maybe now will sharpening or a manifestation of gornyashki, and after 1-2 days the person will recover. Here is the problem the trainer’s council to decide whom to fight, and who not. We even before high-altitude porters, who will work at the base camp, put a condition pre-acclimatization. So a mountain to climb – it’s a problem, and to be able to survive there, – is quite different. Is there life on top of K2 in winter, we check at the base camp and we just have to survive! Even in the summer to recover in the base camp hard and almost impossible in winter. So the main thing is not to expend energy on. And for this we must make base camp more comfortable.

Photos from the expedition, “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m”

RF: When are you going downhill?

NT: We are planning descent somewhere in early March. But this is the next big problem. Here we climbed the mountain – no power, do not want to go, the helicopter can not fly and will not fly a week. But to sit there just will not force us, let us go down. To do this we take with snowshoes, which can reach the frontier trails. In the meantime, we’re going, local guys, so just at the base camp is not sitting, will be walking for 4 hours there and back to Concordia – trample landmarks correct path and that, in which case we could carry on their own feet.

Photos from the expedition, “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m”

RF: Can it happen that in parallel with R2 you will be yet another expedition?

NT: Actually the Pakistani embassy interested in the success of our expedition. Exclusive, one might say. Therefore, they are in every way we can help with obtaining visas. As for the other missions … While silence. Formally, to forbid impossible. Therefore, Viktor Kozlov, appealed to the Pakistan Alpine Club has requested that no one but us was not just on this route. Of course, they can not confidently say “yes”, there are rules.But it may issue a permit, a visa does not. Or, to give permission, when our expedition had already come down. However, it may be another problem. If someone goes to K2 in winter, even on a different route, they will use the same helicopter as we do. Therefore, we asked the Ministry of Defence of Pakistan has requested that we scored first, and then everyone else. Viktor Kozlov tries to implement all the possible options for the expedition. In Russia the unreal to meet with the commander of the helicopter, which will be getting to perform. And then the commander of the crew who will fly with us, took the time and told when and where we need to be explained the whole situation with the winter, who can fly, how much cargo can be taken. Therefore, all of our getting to those designed for harsh conditions.

Photos from the expedition, “first climb the summit of K2 Western face 8611 m”

RF: Your parting words before the expedition.

NT: Do not adjust themselves to the fact that it is something intolerable. Gore is normal, the route is beautiful. In the summer there scared to climb in the winter safely. Especially the route itself is shorter. Well, and more importantly do not look at the thermometer. On the one hand, it is curious how many degrees. No’m not Meryl. On the other hand, as you will see -50 ° C, all at once break off inside. Psychological effect will be felt. In the base camp, of course, is a thermometer showing the least. Let’s try to keep him in the 3rd camp, and at the end of the expedition will see. But most importantly, passing the thermometer of this route, do not look at him. If we know the actual temperature, it can do to stop climbing. It will be difficult to cross over itself. So we can expect surprises from everything – from the mountains, and from nature and from each other! If I were asked, “What would you do to go on top of K2?” I would say, “He became a bird.” They fly at great height. Man – a creature more antediluvian. And all because of the fact that the bird’s body temperature 43 ° C, and we have 37 ° C – the difference is only 5 ° C. But we now also have fluff, just do not know how to fly:)!

RF: Thank you, Nicholas, for pleasant conversation. We hope and believe in you!

Outfit of the national team of Russia for the expedition, “Winter ascent of K2 (8611 m)”: