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Jannu, 7710
North Face

The "Big Wall - Russian Way" project consists in climbing new routes on the most famous walls in the world. A mountain wall is a natural phenomenal occurrence represented as a precipice more than 1000m long and with a steepness more than 70.

First Attempt: Fall-2003

The Team
At present phase of the Project the members of the team were confirmed.
The climbers are:

Alexander Odintsov- the leader, St.Petersburg


Alexander Ruchkin - St.Petersburg


Nikolay Totmyanin - St.Petersburg


Sergey Borisov - Ekatherinburg


Kirievsky Gennady, Magnitogorsk


Alexey Bolotov - Ekatherinburg


Mikhail Pershin - Ekatherinburg


Dmitry Pavlenko, Ekaterinburg



Mikhail Mihailov - Bishkek


Ivan Samoylenko - St.Petersburg

Mikhail Bakin - St.Petersburg


The Sponsors are:

the Committee of physical training and Sport under St.Petersburg' Administration.

Panasonic - Jannu North Face


Alexander Ruchkin. Almost unreal
"Big Wall - Russian Way". Panasonic - Jannu North Face

This mountain took so much forces that no one before.

The wall of altitude difference about three kilometers did not allow us to take a pause for breath. It has increasing complexity at the altitude higher than 7000m that makes further ascent of steep sites and cornices doubtful.

Having made 50 pitches up to 7000 - the third high-altitude camp - apparently, you understand that you have no forces for further working on the wall any more. But it exactly is just the aim that led us here. The wall is so abrupt that you can see the whole of it, from the beginning 7000m and up to the top 7710m.

The mountain did not want to surrender. We wrung our positions working by three groups that replaced each other. It was possible to climb only 5 meters a day attacked by a gale-force wind. But what the meters it was!

If to lift El-Capitan at 7000m we will get the same result as usual hanging fixed ropes on North Jannu face. Every day brought us more doubts, that we would not summit the mountain than we would do that.

Some of us began to lost their nerve: if we climb only five meters a day on such difficult wall we will not climb it at all; we just can not imagine how many days we do need to climb up all of these 700 meters of the wall.

Something touched me inside, began to stick out of me and expressed in three and a half pitches that I made the next working day. I have never met and even heard about such wall's surface. There are a lot of cornices with a minimum quantity of cracks there above 7000m that we had to overcome.

We had to pass from one finishing crack to another, hammering a chock in a quartz hole on a completely hanging wall.

We used sky - hooks almost in the heavens, at 7400. That's not the way to do it! It seemed the rock simply mocked at me. I had to resolve difficult labyrinths of cracks and the ways to get from one crack to others.

We had to fight every meter of the wall and it did not give up without striking a blow. And we became felt our losses if we were in the war. The fighters went off from a charger like shot patrons: wounded head, broken rib The eyes refused to look at such working loads and such horror.

People went like on the war to the knife: everywhere danger lies in wait for them.

Sooner it became warmer up to such degree, that in the bottom part of the route above 5700m, the ice screws were thawed, but the fixed ropes, on the contrary, were frozen 5cm up into the ice.

Ascending the first part of fixed ropes I pulled out pitch's bolts and got my heart stopped beating when I was falling 3-5 meters in a precipice, but due to frozen into the ice rope I managed to stop in the air. The next pitch pulled out again, and everything repeated. And I fell seven times in this way. I had luck to remain alive.

Someone looked from above at our games with the terrible wall and with our lives. Climbing the wall our group found thawed ropes left by some previous expeditions throughout on the right and on the left and we had no a guarantee that and our expedition would not left the mountain not to get up to the summit. This northern face already became mythical. In spite of the fact that we managed to climb superior the previous teams, it seemed there was no end to the wall.

Having carried food and gear for seven days we, at last, after four-day ascending the way over 60 pitches long from 4600 up to 7400m, reached the portaledge fixed at 7400m. Mike Mikhailov and I had to work on the wall for some days, and Dmitry Pavlenko, after carrying a gear had to change me.

Out of spite the weather began to spoil already at 6700 and upper and when we went to work it deteriorated finally.

In such weather we sat at home or in the portaledge at 7400m, but coming monsoon and resentment that only a pair of pitches would remain to climb up to the summit, did not leave me alone. And the idea that we have to recede, go away with nothing for our pains and come up to expectations those people who do not believe in us, after we spent so much forces, forced us to climb even through a snowfall.

Avalanches were sliding via a chimney that out route went through. Only 30 meters I could climb that day clearing cracks from snow, warming frozen fingers, selecting snow-covered equipment and deciding how to climb further.

For three days Mike and I worked through a snowfall. Mike's down overalls became wet, chilled, and next day it became clear, that if he did not descend at the double and reduce altitude, he would have threatened all of us. He began descent.

The same day Dmitry ascended from the camp at 7000m for changing: these days he could not make the way to us hauling gear. We decided to work how much as we could. We reached an inclined chimney, where we could to move faster. Having climbed 25-30 meters more on vertical rocks destroyed in places in a constant snowfall and fell together with rock's pieces several times we finished up under cover of a darkness and descended.

Next day Dmitry was the leader. The wall became less abrupt, but not easier. To tell the truth, weather decided to indulge us a little and gave two days without snowfalls that sped up our ascent.

Pavlenko mainly free climbed a gradient of the chimney allowed to do that- preliminary clearing the surface from snow, trying to discover small ledges and edges. Very destroyed in places walls transformed our way up to painful slow movement. For two days almost four pitches made us closer to the summit. Staying in the base camp and seeing in a telescope our friends promised us only three pitches left up to the top. They already said that a lot of times, and all the time they were mistaken.

We planned the summit push on 25.05 and got up at 3.00 a.m. We could not sleep. Snow rustled with small avalanches on a portaledge's tarp.

We hoped that it would have stopped snowing up to our departure.

We felt killed weariness collected for six days of work at the altitude higher 7400m. Every day it seemed to me that soon the organism would give failure on the most crucial place.

The snow did not stop, but even amplified. And we decided to have a day-rest. On communication we asked to stop the people ready to follow us from camp to camp for summit push. We did not know how many pitches left, probably three. And the main thing we did not know if the relief was complex and if we had enough forces and time to reach the top.

26.05 having replaced Dmitry I was the leader. Exhausted by the altitude and vertical ropes, we made two pitches more and were not sure, that the summit was close to us. Power of the Wall oppressed us. Finally we rested against a snow-firn ridge. I climbed it with my last strength, failing in snow up to the waist or getting out on firn, sliding off in blunt crampons.

Having got out on a sharp crest and shifted to the south I screamed!!!!.....

It has come to pass! And It has ended!

I bolted, hammered ice tools, fixed the rope.

Dmitry reached me, we embraced, hugged ourselves still not believing, that we summited a sparkling, peaked pyramid top of Jannu from the north face.

Having descended to the portaledge, I had no forces at all and I felt exhausted one hundred per sent.

Undermining from inside illness felt my weak spot. I had to descend running at night. A day later Nick Totmyanin, Sergey Borisov and Gena Kirievsky summited Jannu too.

Unfortunately Alexey Bolotov did not manage to reach the top with his broken rib. He even tried to do that but at 7400m he got his crampon broken and had to descend.

In my opinion to climb Jannu North Face means to cross the blade.

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