Manaslus new Kazakh route: Back to Alpine style

Posted: Jun 08, 2006 01:45 pm EDT

( On May 8, 2006 Kazakhs Denis Urubko and Serguey Samoilov completed a new route on the NE side of Manaslu (8163m).

Acclimatization via summit

A few days before, they had already reached the top via the normal route, achieving the first summit on Manaslu in three years (the last ones to summit before them were Polish Piotr Pustelnik and Krzyszt of Tarasewicz in 2003).

Well acclimatized and familiar with the mountain after the first summit, Denis and Serguey started again on May 4 from the bottom of the NE side. They had set no ropes or higher camps previously. Instead the climbers set off on a single push, alpine style. Denis Urubko has now confirmed to ExplorersWeb the locations where he and Serguey bivouacked.

Four bivouacs for an alpine style climb

The climb began from BC at 4700m on the glacier, with the actual route starting at 5200m. The Kazakhs reached 5900m on their first day.

Second bivouac was set at 6500m; on our third day we reached 7100m, and 7450m on our fourth day, reported Denis. Finally, on May 8 we reached the summit at 6:00 pm.

After summiting, the climbers managed to descend back to a plateau at 7600m, where they spent the night. They reached BC the next day.

Award-friendly climbers

We climbed alpine style, remarks Urubko. Ice sections were up to 75 degrees steep. As for rock sections, difficulty was 1 pitch 6a, 3 pitches 5c, and 4 pitches 5b (European scale).

Denis Urubko is one of the best known high-altitude climbers nowadays. Last year he joined forces with fellow Kazakh Serguey Samoilov with impressive results: In summer 2005 they opened a new route on the previously unclimbed Broad Peaks SW face. They were the only climbers who reached the main summit of Broad that year, and their climb in bad weather conditions across unknown terrain got them nominated for the International Piolet dOr.

The teams new route on Manaslu might be worth a new nomination this year.

July 25th, 2005, Kazakhs Denis Urubko and Serguey Samoilov completed a new route on a previously unclimbed face (SW) on Broad Peak. They did the climb on sight, in alpine style and in very bad conditions. They were the only climbers to reach the summit of BP that year. For that climb, Denis and Serguey were awarded among the best expeditions of 2005 by ExplorersWeb.

Manaslu is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first ascent. Climbing fees have been reduced by 50% for the occasion. Denis and Serguey were among many climbers there, but they were the first to break trail and reach the summit via the normal route, on April 25.

Days later, they went up again from a new route on its NE side, reaching the summit on May 8.

Denis Urubko is considered one of the top climbers today. He has summited ten 8000ers and many other major peaks in the Himalayas and Central Asia. But he has also sacrificed summits to help climbers in trouble, some of whom he had never met before.


Image of Manaslu's NE side, showing the new Kazakh route in red, with the location of the places where the climbers bivouacked. The green lines on the left is Kukuczka-Hajzer route, alpine style, 1986. The green to the right is the normal route.
(click to enlarge).
Denis (left) and Serguey climbed the new route on Manaslu in alpine style, in one single, four day-long push (click to enlarge).
Summit pic from April 25. Denis and Serguey summited Manaslu from its normal route before opening a new line on the NE side. All images courtesy of Russian Climb (click to enlarge).

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