"Our backpacks were 25 kg heavy, and we had to fix all ropes from Camp 2 till the top." (Click to enlarge).
Capture the pain, the doubt, the fear - and the triumph. Image of Maxut on the summit of Dhaulagiri, courtesy of Russian Climb (click to enlarge).
Lack of funds made the two climbers simply walk to Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, and climb each in one single push. Image from Dhaula courtesy of RussianClimb (click to enlarge).
"When we returned from the top to C4 by 7:00 pm, there was no tent to be seen it was completely buried in fresh snow. We had to dig it out; it was 9:00 pm when we could finally enter the tent. Image courtesy of RussianClimb (click to enlarge).
"Now we are going down to Marpha for our trek to Annapurnas Base Camp. If the weather holds, we hope to reach BC in 10 days. All pictures by the Kazakh team courtesy of Russian Climb (click to enlarge).
Dhaulagiri - Kazakh young guns' debrief: Summit in a perfect storm

Posted: May 04, 2006 01:35 pm EDT
(MountEverest.net) Young Kazakh guns Maxut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov are safely back in BC, and according to their website, very tired.

The pair led a remarkable climb up to the summit of Dhaulagiri in full-storm conditions last Tuesday. They reached the summit in spite of high winds and lightning. On the way up, they fixed all the ropes they had, then unburied some old ones to use at difficult points leaving the route fixed and ready for all other teams currently on the mountain.

Despite exhaustion, the guys managed to send a small report and some pictures to Russian Climb. Now they will walk (probably because they cant afford to hire a chopper) to Annapurna, their second goal this season. The guys are barely 30 years old, but each already has nine 8000ers under his belt.

Fixing team at work

We descended to the Base Camp yesterday evening, very tired, Maxut told Russian Climb earlier today. Our backpacks were 25 kg heavy, and we had to fix all ropes from Camp 2 till the top. We carried along a lot of rope, but it wasn't enough - we had to dig out some old ropes from the snow, and bring them up in order to fix some difficult sections. Now the entire (normal) route on the West ridge is fixed.

We stopped at four camps on the way: First at 5800 m, second at 6600 m, third at 7200 m, and our highest camp at 7400 m.

21-hour summit day in a perfect storm

"Our summit day started from C4 (7400m) at 00:30 am. We reached the top of the West ridge at about 1:00 pm. It was there when the storm burst around us, with thunder and very strong wind. We reached the top at 4:00pm and returned to C4.

When we got there by 7:00 pm, there was no tent to be seen it was completely buried in fresh snow. We had to dig it out; it was 9:00pm (21 hours after the pair started out) when we could finally enter the tent.

"Now we are going down to Marpha for our trek to Annapurnas Base Camp. If the weather holds, we hope to reach BC in 10 days.

Story corrected on May 19, 2006. Dhaulagiri is the climbers' 9th 8000er, not the 10th as we originally published.

Maxut Zhumayev, although barely 30 years old, has now summited nine 8000ers (including Kangchenjunga and Makalus West ridge) - all of them without supplementary O2. Vassiliy Pivtsov is Maxut's regular climbing buddy with pretty much the same track record.

The climbers are part of a National team of Kazakhstan climbers whose intent is to summit all fourteen 8,000m peaks in time to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the country's independence from the USSR this December 2006.

The Kazakhstan National climbing team has already summited Dhaulagiri, and while they want to help the team achieve their goal, Maxut and Vassiliy have climbing ambitions of their own. Regardless, Dhaulagiri is a good, close-by peak to get acclimatized on before giving a try to dangerous Annapurna.

Already in 2003, the Kazakh National 3 in 1 team, with Maxut and Vassiliy as members, managed to accomplish 2 out of 3 peaks in one summer, Nanga Parbat and Broad; the first of which they ascended in a scant 15 or 16 days. By then, the young pair had already summited both Gasherbrums, Shisha Pangma and the highly difficult Kangchenjunga.

In 2004, the Kazaks ascended Makalu's West Pillar. In spring 2005, Maxut and Vassiliy showed up on Cho Oyu (despite the air company losing some of their gear) and accomplished one of the first summits of the season. In summer they went for K2 and launched two amazingly bold attempts in very bad conditions. Finally they had to call the expedition off - not because the mountain won them over - but because someone stole much of their equipment in the peak's lower camps.



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