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  Russian Mt Everest 2004 Expedition - Center of North Face Expedition


Update 4/28/2004: Yuri Koshelenko called from Everest Camp.

Very tired voice. We've just come to BC after 4 days working on the route. The weather is bad, no visibility. Last year there were strong winds, this year there is a lot of snow. But snow covered stones in the beginning of route, so the way became more simple.

We are OK. 8 pitches fixed up to 7 500 meters high. Now Pavel Shabalin is on the route and they will set bivi.

The wall is huge, a lot of work ahead. But everything is more or less normal.

Tomorrow if the weather allows Shabalin's group will go higher. We set the route I marked but several changes. The general line is the same. I think we reach 7 800- 8000 quit soon, but this is the place of turn point all previous expeditions. We will see.

All the best, Liana

Translated by Liana at risk.ru for EverestNews.com

Dispatches

A combined team of Russian climbers supported by the Russian Mountaineering Federation will begin a daring and unique attempt to summit Everest. The team of 20 experienced climbers, many of the members of a team that successfully climbed Lhotse in the spring of 2001, will take off from Moscow bound for the Himalayas. The team will be attempting to summit via an unclimbed route up the center of the North Face.

The expedition leader is Victor Kozlov, and the senior coach is Nikolay Chernij. The final list of climbers was announced at a news conference at the World Trade Center on February 20th.

Given its unique route the team has made special preparations for the climb. A recon team traveled to the base of the mountain in May 2002 and began planning the route up the center of the North Face. A second recon team began a preliminary climb via the proposed route and reached a height of 6,800 meters.

The recon teams were able to gather some important information about the coming climb. When it reaches the summit the team will have climbed a distance of 4.5km and vertical altitude of 2.5km. Up to about 7,200 meters the climbers will be traversing a rocky zone filled with ice that will give way to a snowfield. The recon also puts the prospective altitude for the summit-push camp at 8,200-8,300 meters.

According to Jury Ermachek the team expects to spend March on Ama Dablam acclimatizing, then they will descend to Katmandu to rest and at the end of March or the beginning of April the team will move to the base of Everest's North Face. As the planned route is expected to take a lot of time the team will begin fixing the route right away. Much will depend on the weather so the sooner the work of the climb is begun the better.

Some of the team will likely use oxygen for the climb. Some will require oxygen below 8,000 meters some only above the height. As some of the team have not climbed 8,000-meter peaks their performance at that elevation will determine oxygen use. The team will take oxygen with them on the final summit push regardless, time will tell if it is needed or not. Ermachek also expects that given the time of the year the team will encounter severe cold, high winds and a shortage of oxygen on their ascent.

Leaders of groups: Yuri Koshelenko, Petr Kuznetsov (has the own route to Everest), Pavel Shabalin

List of Members:

* Viktor Kozlov - head of the project, Moscow;

* Nikolai Tcherny - main coach of the team, Moscow;

* Alexandr Piatnizyn - coach from Rostov-on-Don;

* Doctor - Sergei Bychkovski, Ekaterinburg;

* Camera man (to 6200m) igor Borisenko, Sergei Shakunin;

* Photo Vladimir Kuptsov;

Climbers:

1. Yuri Koshelenko (Rostov-on-Don); (he was nominated on Piolet d'or four times, the winner of the Piolet d'or for the ascent on Nuptse East)

2. Petr Kuznetsov (Krasnoyarsk); (he was on Everest twice- the first time via the classical route, the second -North Face first ascent)

3. Pavel Shabalin (Kirov); (Ak-Su - 10 climbs; first ascent Changabang, Northern face)

4. Eugeni Vinogradski (Ekaterinburg): (Everest four climbs (all with oxygen), three climbs on Cho Oyu)

5. Yuri Ermachek (Ekaterinburg); (the winner of the Piolet d'or for the ascent on Makalu, Western Face, Everest,)

6. Nikolai Zhilin (Ekaterinburg); (the winner of the Piolet d'or for the ascent on Makalu, Western Face, Khan Tengri)

7. Andrei Mariev (Togliatty); (k2, first ascent Changabang, Northern face, Nanga-Parbat)

8. Viktor Volodin (Moscow); (Everest, peak Urriellu, Marks peak, Engels peak, peak Korzhenevskoy, Communism peak, Lenin Peak)

9. Viktor Bobok (Moscow); (a high-speed ascent on peak Korzhenevskoy - 11 hours from base camp; Shkhelda in a two-men team with J.Koshelenko, Shisha Pangma)

10. Vladimir Arhipov (Krasnoyarsk); (Pobeda Peak, Khan Tengri peak, peak Korzhenevskoy, Lenina peak)

11. Gleb Sokolov (Novosibirsk); (Lenina peak, Communism Peak, peak Korzhenevskoy, high-speed solo to Khan Tengri).

12. Ilias Tukhvatullin (podolsk-Tashkent); (Everest, Ak-Su - 6 ascents, Khan Tengri, Northern face).

13. Alexey Bukinich (Sochi); 22 years - the youngest participant of the team, experience of ascents on "7-thousand" mountains.

Plans. they started Feb 25 from Moscow to Dehli. Then - acclimatisation climbing to Amadablam. Then - BC of Everest. The end of the expedition - June 2nd.

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