(K2Climb.net) There is no justice in Heaven! cried Serguey Bogomolov on K2 last year, after four fellow Russian climbers perished in an avalanche on the Abruzzi spur, which almost swept him with them. On Annapurna this past spring, Serguey knew hed been playing Russian roulette again. He survived but became snow-blind and didn't top out. Still, Bogomolov hasn't given up his goal of completing the 14, 8000ers. Yesterday he left for K2 again, and in good company: The Kazakh National team, with Maxut Zhumayev and Vassily Pivtsov leading the pack.<cutoff>
Anna and K2 are the only 8000ers left to go for Bogomolov. After his spring attempt, Serguey however swore he would never return to Annapurna from the same side again. It is unclear whether he made the same promise on K2 last year, but he is coming back for a different face this time. Bogomolov and the Kazakhs will try their skills and luck on the NW ridge.
<b>Max and Vaso's 2007 Everest/K2 double header</b>
Maxut (Zhuma) and Vassily (Vaso) are fresh from a bold ascent on Everest. The two climbers were the first non-sherpa climbers to reach the summit this season. They topped-out without O2, and reportedly refused to sip gas during their descent, in spite of having spent over 48 hours in the death zone. Should they summit K2 - it would become their 12th 8000er.
Last year, the two climbing buddies were awarded among the Best of ExWeb for a double header of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. The young men, barely 30 years old, walked to the peaks and climbed each in one single push. While other teams routinely fly to Dhaula in a chopper, and spend time to set up camps and acclimatize - Maxut and Vassiliy trekked to BC in deep snow and over high passes, breaking trail for their porters. Once at the base of the mountain, they went straight for the top in one single push.
All other climbers were holding down low when Maxut and Vassiliy arrived. Without giving too much thought to weather forecasts or snow conditions which happened to be very bad - the two climbers walked right up fixing rope for everyone else.
With time still left on their air tickets back home, the two strolled over to Annapurna. Reaching the north side, the two Kazakh soldiers found themselves the only team there. In a five day long climb, the two broke trail in deep snow all the way up the avalanche-prone slopes.
With Everest out of the way, the Kazakhs still have K2, Lhotse and Manaslu to go. The two climbers are familiar with K2 as well though. In 2005 they attempted the Abruzzi Spur together with two other team mates. Pushing for the summit in stormy conditions, they reached over 8000 meters before turning back. They went up for a second attempt, but by then the mountain was deserted, and their climbing gear was stolen from C1.
<b>On the way to China</b>
The current NW Ridge expedition left Almaty yesterday for Bishkek and will move to China by road. Also in the expedition are 5 other climbers from the Kazakh National team, coached by Ervand Iljinsky: Serguey Brodsky, Andrew Puchinin, Aggey Skopin, Malik Ismetov, and Alexander Sofrygin.
<i>Four time "snow leopard" Russian Serguey Bogomolov has summited 12 of the 14, 8000ers. He has K2 and Annapurna left. He usually climbs independently, as a member in international teams.
Maxut Zhumayev and Vassily Pivtsov still have Lhotse, K2 and Manaslu left to climb of all the 14, 8000ers.</i>
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