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Валерий Бабанов

  Валерий Бабанов закончил Французскую школу гидов ENSA в Шамони.
  На сегодняшний день является единственным представителем из России, имеющим международный диплом Профессионального Гида UIAGM.
  С осени 2002 года входит в международную ассоциацию горных гидов.

Подробнее читайте в разделе «ГИД»...  


Предлагаемые услуги:

  • восхождения на вершины любой сложности и любой высоты;
  • организация и проведение экспедиций в Гималаи, Каракарум и другие горные районы;
  • ледолазание;
  • скалолазание;
  • горные лыжи;
  • каньонинг (спуск по водопадам).

Опыт работы гидом свыше 15 лет.


Карта сайта: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Ascents:Alaska, Ruth gorge, Mt.Barille, June 8-13, 1999

Unexplored Land

26.09.1999

I arrived at Talkitna with the help of "Talkitna Air Taxi" on the 19th of May 1999. The next entire day I spent purchasing food, gas for the heater, and registering at the local Ranger Association. On the 21st of May in the afternoon a light, almost toy-like airplane revved up swiftly on the run-way and smoothly took off, taking me for four weeks to the world of my dreams, the world of the Ruth Glacier.





I asked the pilot to make the control lap over the southern slope of the Mount Dickey before the plane landed accurately at the foot of the Mount Barrille, the north-eastern slope of which would some time later become the arena of my pioneer ascent. I did not even know that at that moment. The southern slope of the Mount Dickey occupied all my thoughts. I looked forward to come close to it, view it thoroughly, touch it by my own hand.

It would take me 30 minutes walk to reach the Base camp. Shouldering one rucksack and putting the other one onto the toboggan, I plodded down the Ruth Glacier to the place in the infinite icy vastness, the place that was supposed to become my home for a certain period of my life. The surrounding landscape excelled all my expectations. Huge walls of gray and black granite were rising high right out of the ice of the Ruth Glacier. A curling web of majestic snow-white caps crowned the tops and the ridges of the mountains. It was a really breathtaking sight. The next morning was attacked by a piercing wind and fine snow-powder, slashing beastly at the walls of the tent. The weather changed for the worse very fast. The sunny period, that I knew had set over the region 2 weeks before, appeared to come to an end. The evening did not bring any improvement to the place. It was snowing all night long. The next day hardly presented me a couple of sunny hours. The weather spoiled at all. Monotonous days of anticipation began to crawl drably. The Alaska storm came over the region, soaking the mountains with sleet and burning them with winds. The temperature dropped. I had not a shadow of desire to get out of the tent. In this season in Alaska all the boundaries between day and night cease to exist. You can easily fall asleep, a book in your hand, at 5 a.m. and only wake up at 2 p.m. After 12 days of anticipation the storm died away. On the 2nd of July I enjoyed the first sunny day of the period.

The next day, on the 3rd of July, I undertook an attempt of making a new route on the southern face of the Mount Dickey. I had worked it out still at home, examining photos of the mountain. Now I approved the choice with my own eyes, looking over the rocks from the spot on the Ruth Glacier. I passed the initial snow-icy part at the foot of the mountain without difficulty and reached the first rocks. The picture that I saw shocked me. The granite there was so greatly affected that it would no way allow me to make any safe fixing or pitch a secure base. Stone literary crumbled underneath my fingers. The pitons went through the rock like through butter. I was getting desperate. "What am I to do? No doubt you should turn back. You will not make the route alone. It is too dangerous!" - I calculated feverishly.

It took me the whole next day to carry over the equipment to the northeastern foot of the Mount Barrille, the place where the plane had brought me two weeks before. I liked the slope still when I saw it for the first time. There it was again, 2 700 feet high, 1 200 feet of them - a sheer bastion, cut by several roofs and ledges. There already existed two routes on the slope. But they were situated to the left, over the eastern part of the rock. The northeastern bastion still remained unexplored.



Mt. Borille, Alaska. Ruth gorge. "Forever more" route. Photo: V.Babanov.


Mt. Borille, Alaska. Ruth gorge. Photo: V.Babanov.
Topo of the route in UIAA symbols

I passed a heavily torn glacier at the foot of the rock and on the 7. of July I reached the rock itself. Using the dihedral system, that day I managed to route 300 feet and fix the rope. I decided to spend the night in the tent. 10 minutes of skiing - and I was there. The next day I continued the ascent. Using the same technique I reached a big roof sticking out 6 feet above the face of the rock. I accurately passed it on "friends" and reached "the mirror", the stretch of the route, which I regarded as the most difficult part of the ascent. Pieces of ice falling from above, I made the conclusion, that I had made the right choice when planning the route. It was the safest way to get to the summit. Those pieces of ice were falling from the vast snowfield situated at the upper part of the bastion. A smooth-faced stretch of the rock lied right in front of me. At the distance of 50 feet was the beginning of a narrow ravine rising almost 300 feet high. I had to use "sky hooks" there. The hammer started to throb. I was moving inch by inch towards the summit.

The whole next day I devoted to passing that long-stretching ravine. I had to sleep in the portledge, only black emptiness beneath my feet. On the fourth day of the ascent, when I was already in the upper part of the bastion I came across a small sloping ledge. The spot had not looked difficult from beneath and I had thought I would not have any problems with it. But in reality… The ledge turned out to be a stretch of pulpy rotten granite, which could not hold the pitons firmly. Any intermediate support could let me down any time. This ledge cost me a lot of nerves. The 12.of July was my fifth day on the route. I finally reached the top of the rock bastion. I was looking at the sequence of plain rocks and big ledges. There I met "loose" stones and blocks. That relatively easy part of the face was followed by another bastion, which was not so sheer as the previous one. But that did not mean I should not be fully concentrated. In the middle of the bastion I spend the fifth night of the ascent. The rock was so huge that I felt completely lost on it. The world that I left far behind me seemed to be so strange, even alien, unreal. The only real things remained - me and the rock, and nothing else. The sixth day was the longest one. There were no more those protruding roofs, highly difficult spots, nothing but the long distance, separating me from the summit. After making another 450 feet I reached the snowfield. It looked safe enough, but there always existed a hidden danger named avalanche. That stretch of the route demanded sure actions and accurate calculations as well.

To get to the summit I had to pass the snow-field, 300 feet long, two rocky stretches of medium difficulty, and about 900 feet of snowy slope, transforming smoothly into the ridge. I decided to leave the tent at the spot. So then I had no baggage in my hands. Nevertheless it took me four hours before I reached the summit of the Mount Barrille, deeply sticking in the molten snow. I did it! I felt as if I had done something really significant, magic. I stayed on the summit for some time, then I started to descend.

The sky turned black. The storm was about to come. I had to hurry up, down to the tent. Descending cost me an hour and a half. I reached the tent in the company of strong wind and heavy rain. Such dreadful weather lasted till midnight. The wind was trying hard to tear the delicate walls of my portledge to pieces. I could hear avalanches roaring somewhere above my place.

The entire next day, the 14th of July I was retracing my way down. At 10 p.m., very tired, I crawled into the lonely tent on the glacier. I had lived one more stretch of my life on the mysterious planet, named Ruth Glacier.

Valeri Babanov

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