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Jannu. West Pillar. To surpass oneself

14.12.2007

 

Valery Babanov

 

Zannu. West pillar.

To surpass oneself.

 

 

  An extrac from long story

 

 Altitude 6700 metres                                                                                    October 17th

The weather has finally deteriorated.

The visibility has fallen to a few dozen metres, sometimes to nothing. I dont know what motivates us to go up, but we are definitely crazyJ.

Gradually the slope gets steeper and, in places, bare ice appears. We are climbing tied together with a thin, five-millimetre static rope.

I understand perfectly well that this is silly; the static rope will never withstand a hard pull if either of us falls, but we dont want to change anything.

Anyway, it seems easier with the knowledge that you are tied to your partner. And what about the bad things? Here, its better not to think about them.

There goes an intense battle of two exhausted bodies with the nature gone mad.

 

 Altitude 7000 metres                                                                                    October 18th

Twenty minutes have passed already, but I am still standing in one spot without knowing what to do. 

Sergey, my rope-partner, is motionless on belay somewhere far below me. He cannot see me because of a bulge in the cliff. Maybe it is better that way.

Right now, I am better off alone, as I struggle to correctly evaluate the situation and to overcome the wave of doubt that is rushing through me.

At this moment, my two personalities are struggling inside me. One of them is always in doubt. It is the careful one.

It always whispers to me: Stop, look around. You have already reached the Limit. Impassable cliffs are ahead, and what lies after that? There lies The Unknown, and there are only two of you. You have no backup whatsoever. Isnt it better to descend now, and to choose something easier? Think about it! Maybe you will never return from here alive

The second one is the optimist. It always cheers me on, gives me energy and guides me trough life. It says: Dont worry, everything will be fine! You call these difficulties!? This is nothing but a game. Play, and you will win. But, if you make a decision to descend now, you will never come back here again. Dont stop at what you have already reached.

The one who believes in something, will attain it

 

 

Altitude 7600 metres                                                                                    October 21st

It looks as though we have survived this cold, endless night. It seemed that the unearthly cold had managed to stop even Time itself - thats how slowly the hours dragged on in our anticipation of the morning.

Understandably, there was not even a mention of sleep. Instead, we had to light the gas stove every 10 to 15 minutes for a short burst, in order to preserve what little warmth remained in our cold and tired bodies.

It had just turned light, and the watch now shows six oclock in the morning.

We are ready to start moving. After a night like this, it would be nice to go to some resort, to rest, but here Sergey leads a horizontal traverse to the right for an entire rope length.

Perhaps the route is located further in that direction, because the ground directly above us looks completely impassable.

 

 Altitude 7710 metres

The summit is right in front of me. The final steps towards it are made through an effort of sheer willpower.

A few more metres, and the shockingly huge massif of Kangchenjunga, the worlds third highest peak, comes into view, filling the entire space to my left. It seems as though it is very near.

Leaning with my ice axes against the ridge, which is thankfully devoid of a cornice, I throw my leg over it.

Momentarily, I am sitting astride the ridge. This is the actual summit of Jannu. It is truly the moment of realization of my dreams.

How many days, maybe years, have I waited for this moment, and now it is reality.

 

 7350 metres                                                                                                 October 22

Seven oclock in the morning. The cold is unearthly. I am trying to fold the tent, but the crazy wind wants to rip it out of my hands.

My entire morning procedure of heating my boots and rubbing my feet has been for naught. Five minutes after climbing out of the tent, I have already lost the feeling in my toes.

My frozen hands also refuse to obey me. This has nothing to do with boots and mittens quite simply, the internal energy that has been keeping us warm all these days is quickly starting to dissipate. 

I am fully aware of the seriousness of the developing situation, especially when I begin to comprehend the height that we are at, and the amount of vertical space beneath our feet. It is almost unbelievable that we still have to cover all that.

Sometimes it seems to me, that we have become the prisoners of this Mountain, and that it no longer wants to release us at least, not alive.

 

 

 4700 metres                                                                                                 October 23

One oclock in the morning I have a feeling that I am watching myself from outside, and that I see two exhausted and tortured creatures, barely moving their feet like two nocturnal ghosts, shuffling along the glacier.

They are walking towards the base camp. The distance that had previously taken about an hour to walk, now seems to stretch on forever.

Sometimes I have a vision that the base camp does not exist at all, that it is merely a figment of our sick, altitude-inflamed imagination.

The stony chaos of the enormous glacier is weakly illuminated by moonlight.

I am watching my shadow on the rocks and it seems to me, that this shadow is all that remains of me.

There are no feelings only great fatigue and resignation.

I have an impression that the world has fragmented into a multitude of separate, disconnected worlds, and that I am lost somewhere among them, a wanderer in search of something, but unable to find it.

 

 

Summary of Statistics:

 

Area: Himalaya. Nepal.

Mt. Jannu (7710m) Kumbhakarna

The West Pillar (3000m/VI, WI+4, 80 degrees, M5 )

October 14 23, 2007

Valery Babanov & Sergey Kofanov

Alpine-style First ascent.

Descent via the route

 

Sponsors: Grivel, Scarpa, Bask, Beal, Julbo.

 

 

 

 

10.12.2007                                                      Translated from the Russian by Yuri Lipkov.

 

 

  
Mt. Jannu 7710 in the sunset light
Mt. Jannu 7710 in the sunset light

New route on West Pillar of Jannu 7710m
New route on West Pillar of Jannu 7710m

Sergey Kofanov & Valery Babanov in Base Camp. Prepating for climb Jannu peak
Sergey Kofanov & Valery Babanov in Base Camp. Prepating for climb Jannu peak

Jannu Base Camp at 4700 meters
Jannu Base Camp at 4700 meters

Crossing the glacier at 5600m. Jannu & Sobithongje peaks in background
Crossing the glacier at 5600m. Jannu & Sobithongje peaks in background

Sergey Kofanov climbing up at 7100m. Mt.Sobithongje 6670m in background
Sergey Kofanov climbing up at 7100m. Mt.Sobithongje 6670m in background

Valery Babanov at 7200m. Jannu`s summit tower in background
Valery Babanov at 7200m. Jannu`s summit tower in background

Climbing on the SW ridge at 7250m. Our shadows in the sunset light
Climbing on the SW ridge at 7250m. Our shadows in the sunset light

Valery, hard mixed climbing at 7400m
Valery, hard mixed climbing at 7400m

Sergey at 7500m on the belay
Sergey at 7500m on the belay

Valery, Ice & mixed climbing at 7550 meters
Valery, Ice & mixed climbing at 7550 meters

Valery climb up 7650m to Jannu ridge
Valery climb up 7650m to Jannu ridge

Valery on the summit of Jannu 7710m
Valery on the summit of Jannu 7710m

Valery Babanov on the summit of Jannu. In background is Mt.Kangchenjunga 8586m
Valery Babanov on the summit of Jannu. In background is Mt.Kangchenjunga 8586m

Sergey Kofanov on the summit of Jannu
Sergey Kofanov on the summit of Jannu

Develop by Alex Petrov
  Copyright © Valery Babanov.  2001-2012.
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