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Expeditions > Kukurtlu 2002 >

The North-West Face of Kukurtlu (4610m), situated in the Caucasus near the slopes of Elbrus, is the most difficult wall in Russia. Today there are only 3 routes on it (one 6A and two 6B).
The reasons for that are: permanently bad weather, the vicinity of huge glaciers, the rock is unsafe, there is a great danger of rockfalls, very steep angle of the wall (150 meters of the route have 100 degrees, the rest part - 80-90 degrees).

The team is planning to make a new route (supposedly 6B cat. of diff.) by the center of the wall.

In 2002 a new class of competitions is added to the Russian Championship - "The Class of First Ascents". If succeed, the team plans to submitt the report on the new route to these competitions.

The history:

The autumn of 1999.
It took the team of Alexander Abramov 6 days to climb 20 pitches of Lukashvili Route on the Kukurtlu wall and reach the summit (4639m).

December of 1999. The quarter of the new route on Kukurtlu wall has been climbed. The team untied the fixed ropes and spent 2 nights on the portaledge. During the night of December, 9, on the portaledge Sergei Shchepachkov developed pulmoral edema. Abramov and Shchepachkov had to descend. The expedition was stopped.
Alexander Abramov: "We made a lot of negative and positive conclusions. One of them is that this route cannot be climbed in winter. Because of short days and very low temperatures the speed drops by four times. We have climbed only one quarter of the wall. We can see the line of the route, but the wall is difficult enough. The previous attempts on this line confirm this fact. In summer we will, by all means, return and climb it to the summit."

Routes on Mt.Kukurtlu 4639m

2B West Shoulder, Markelov, 1936

4A couloir of the South Face, Yevseev, 1961

5A East Spur of the South Face, Naugolny, 1962

5B Bastion of the West Ridge, Zhizhin, 1967

5B South Face, Nekrasov, 1957

6A West Face, Giutashvili, 1974

6B the center of North-West Face, Lukashvili, 1981

6B right side of the West Face, Andreev, 2000.


СЗ стена Кюкюртлю 2002.
The sponsor - "Alpindustria" Company


Expedition news:

(18.06.2002) new!
Today at 5 a.m. the team started for the route. The main task was to pass the lower part of the wall as quickly as possible - it is too often hit with the rockfalls. We climbed seven rope-pitches of ice and began working on the rocks. We were alarmed by meeting abseil slings - on this very place in August, 7, 2000, the rope party of two, Pershin-Nefyodov, were caught in a rockfall and Nefyodov got killed. We were ready to start the third rope pitch on the rocks, when suddenly a rockfall started. Luckily, no one was hurt, but a slab chopped our fixed rope. No one was working on it at this very moment. We considered it to be a serious warning and decided to drop the whole attempt of climbing a new route. We thank "Alpindustria" company and Sergey Zunzam for support and we thank God for the warning. Good-bye."

Alexander Abramov June, 14, 20:00, reports over the phone from beneath the Kukurtlu Face: "We've been lucky so far - it hasn't been raining till 1 p.m., we could even see the wall and the details of our route. Today Abramov, Vlasov and Selivanov put up a tent at 3600m at 4 p.m. The day temperature is +5, it is very damp. The snow is 1 meter deep. Tomorrow we'll start carrying loads to the beginning of the route. Two observers are expected to arrive tomorrow - in this case there will be seven of us. Best regards to everybody."
Alexander Abramov reports over the phone from beneath the Kukurtlu Face: "Today we got up at 5 a.m., left at 7 a.m., we brought some equipment to the beginning of the route, examined the way to our line. There is much snow. Tomorrow, Sunday, we'll have a rest day. On Monday at 5 a.m. we are planning to start working on the route. It's too dangerous to start later: the lower part of our route is prone to rockfall. Today in the afternoon we witnessed that all sorts of debris - snow, ice, rock - bombarded the wall. Our line looked more or less safe. Six members from Dombaiskaya rescue team arrived today - we'll be working together. Best regards to everyone. The sponsor of our expedition is "Alpindustria" company "

Alexander Abramov reports over the phone: "June, 13, but luckily not Friday. It is almost dark, but we still sorting the gear. Tomorrow the three of us - Abramov, Vlasov, Selivanov - are moving to ABC. Onipchenko and Antonov will have to carry all the rest of the equipment to ABC later. It has been raining non-stop for the second day. The tents and people still endure this, but we have a great desire to move higher - at least, it is snowing there and not so damp. Besides we have run out of fresh food, such as cabbage, so nothing keeps us in BC. Today we carried a big portion of our loads to ABC. It was clever of us to have find out the way yesterday - today we had to walk in the mist all day and even couldn't see the wall. The sponsor of our expedition is "Alpindustria" company."

Alexander Abramov reports over the phone: "As soon as we prepared to sleep, the terrible wind began with pouring rain, which lasted all night long and subsided only in the morning. By 9 a.m. we had had our breakfast and were ready to start. The entire Kukurtlu wall looks like a waterfall, but our line seems to be the driest one. We left our BC at 2500m with 80kg of load to the supposed place of ABC (3600m). After two hours of walking through morains we encountered deep winter snow. Soon we noted that Andrei Selivanov was still walking in his training shoes - he letf his plastic boots at the place where we stopped to eat some food. By the way, all the food we have is manufactured by Raskladka.RU. On our way back we were haunted by the lightning, but at last, by 4 p.m. we were back in BC. Everyone is in good health, only Andrei Selivanov has some problems with his knee, so we will leave him in the camp tomorrow. Our best regards to everybody. The sponsor of our expedition is "Alpindustria" company."

Alexander Abramov reports over the phone: " We woke up at 5 a.m. and by 6 a.m. we left Khurzuk. After the sixth bridge (there are 12 of them all in all) the most interesting began. The way was blocked with huge rocks and trees broken in the avalanches. But our guide Ismail recollect the other old road, by which we got the upper kosh (mountain-dwellers' hut). It took us two hours to get from here to the BC by horses. Today we saw the Kukurtlu face for the first time with snow-covered ledged. But it began melting quickly in the afternoon. If it doesn't snow, we are in for problems with the water.Tomorrow we are going to 3600 to organize ABC. Best regards!"

Alexander Abramov reports over the phone: "The weather is fine. We arrived in Cherkessk today, bought all the necessary stuff, visited the Rescue Team Service. We agreed that 3-4 rescue team members will come to our BC with radio stations on June, 14. We will spend this night in Khurzuk. Tomorrow at 5 a.m. we are taking a horse ride up Ulu-Khurzuk valley to the Kukurtlu glacier, where we will organize our BC."

In June of 2002 there starts the expedition under the leadership of Alexander Abramov on one of the most difficult walls of the Caucasus - Kukurtlu. In 1999 the team of Alexander Abramov climbed Lukashvili Route (6B) in 8 days. The team - Abramov, Milenin, Vlasov, Turchaninov, Dorfman - won the third place in the Russia Mountaineering Championship. In winter of 2000 the team Abramov, Shchepachkov, Tushvatullin made an attempt to establish a new route (6B) on the wall, but because of the illness of Sergei Scchepachkov they turned back. In 2002 the team will repeat the attempt to establish a new route

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The Team

  • Abramov A.V. (Master of Sports)
  • Onipchenko Maxim (Candidat to Maste of Sports)
  • Antonov Sergei (Master of Sports)
  • Selivanov Andrei (Candidat to Maste of Sports)
  • Vlasov Nokolai (Candidat to Maste of Sports)
  • Alexander Abramov
    Master of Sports of the USSR in Mountaineering, 37 y.o., professional climber.
    Climbing instructor and mountain guide, mountain cameraman.
    Chairman of Trainers' Council of Moscow Climbing Federation.
    Chairman of Moscow Ice-Climbing Committee.
    Chairman deputy of Russia Ice-Climbing Committee.
    Member of the Russian Geographic Society.
    Organizer and leader of several famous projects, such as: "7 Summits", "Landrover on Elbrus".

    He has been into climbing and organization of expeditions and competitions for over 20 years.

    For last 10 years - on professional level. Up to 1990 he had made over 100 ascents of different categories.

    The Most Prominent Achievements of the last 10 years

    1991 - Champion of the USSR in winter class - Svobodnaya Koreya Peak (6A)
    1991 - Silver prize-winner of Army Championship in high altitude and technical class - Engelsa peak, 6510 m (6B)
    1992-1994 - professional mountain guide in "Pilgrim" tourist company.
    Led more then 10 groups of "REI" company (USA) on Elbrus(5642m).
    Led 3 groups from Germany and Austria on Korzhenevskoi peak(7105m) and Kommunizma peak(7495m).
    Prepared the first Slovenian expedition to the North Pole, horse trips for "REI" in the Caucasus.
    1993 - member of the expedition on Everest (8848m), Nepal, up to 8000m.
    1994 - Beginning of "7 Summits" project. The leader of the successful expedition on McKinley (6100m), USA, Alaska.
    1995 - The leader of the expedition on Kilimanjaro (5900m), Tansania, Africa.
    The expedition made a new route on Breach Wall.
    The leader of the winter expedition on Montblanc (4810m), France.
    The leader of the first Russian successful expedition on Carstensz Pyramid (4884m), Indonesia.
    The leader of the expedition on "The Nose", El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, USA,
    1996 - The leader of the expedition on Aconcagua (6970m), Argentina, South America.
    1997 - The leader of the winter ascent on Ushba (4700m), 6A.
    The Champion of Moscow in Ice-Climbing (speed and difficulty)
    The member of the expedition on Lhotse Middle (8411m).
    The leader of the successful expedition on Elbrus by "Land Rover"
    1998 - The ascent of Khan Tengri (7010m)
    The Champion of Moscow in Ice-Climbing (speed)
    The 3rd place in the Russia Ice-Climbing Championship (speed)
    The first winter ascent of Aksu (5400m), 6A.
    Silver medals in Russian Championship in winter ascents.
    1999 - The leader of the Cho-Oyu ascent (8201m). China, Tibet.
    The 3rd place in Russia Championship.
    The leader of the expedition on Kukurtlu (4600m), 6B. The 3rd place in Russia Championship.

    Has many ascents in the mountains of Check Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria, France, Switzerland, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Kirgizia, USA, Argentina, Indonesia, Tanzania, Nepal, Tibet, Crimea (Ukraine);
    over 30 winter and summer ascents on Elbrus, 15 of them as a mountain guide.

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