Kazakh young guns back for Dhaulagiri + Annapurna

Posted: Mar 21, 2006 02:40 pm EST

(MountEverest.net) They are young, bold, strong - and with one goal in mind: Help Kazakhstan's National climbing team bag all 14 8000ers before year end.

The National team set its sights on the challenge back in 2001. They hope to complete the Big 14 in time to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence from the USSR this December 2006.

Best in the class for a bold double-header

Willing to contribute, but also nursing their personal climbing ambitions, young guns Maxut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov - two of the best climbers on the team - are back to the Himalayas. Together, they are ready to summit Dhaulagiri and Annapurna this spring. Although details are still sketchy, the pair hopes to summit both peaks in light style.

Should they succeed, the two regular climbing mates would end the season with 10 8000+meters peaks summited. It unclear if they'll move to the Karakorum afterwards to take care of some unfinished business - K2.

Maxut Zhumayev, although barely 30 years old, has climbed eight 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 guys don't seem to care that no one was able to reach the top of Dhaulagiri last year, or if Annapurna is considered the most dangerous of all 8000ers. According to their website, their only interest is to summit both peaks a.s.a.p.

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 of their 3 peaks in one summer, Nanga Parbat and Broad; the first of which they ascended in a scant 15 or 16 days. By then again, 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 Vassilyi 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.


The Kazakhs still have K2, Everest, Lhotse and Manaslu to go. Usually on a tight budget, at least the two have plenty of time to finish: Vassiliy (right) is 31; Maxut (left) will turn 30 on New Years Day.

Image of the climbers last year before departing for K2, courtesy of RussianClimb.

Visit our new website