(Angela Benavides/Karrar Haidri) Battle Royal in winter Karakoram is on! The Russians have landed in town.
The team arrived in Islamabad on Saturday and were briefed yesterday by new ACP Secretary Abu Zafar at the Alpine Club of Pakistan.
They have Lhotse Middle, Everest North Wall, Jannu North Face and K2 West Face among outstanding accomplishments. ExWeb's Karrar Haidri said expedition leader Kozlov told him that as for winter climbing, the mountaineers have only winter climbed in Russia before.
Outfitted by Adventure Tours of Pakistan, the climbers will next move to Skardu and have their gear shuttled to K2 BC by helicopter, while they acclimatize in the Sadpara Mountains.
The plan on K2 is to start climbing December 25 without supplementary O2, fix about 2,000 meters of rope on the route, follow Cesen up to 7560 meters, and a new variation line from there to the summit.
They overcame Jannu and Everest north walls; they forged a new route on the west face of K2. Returning to the savage mountain, they aim for its first winter ascent. The Russians are back: epic guaranteed.
They're the toughest climbers born to the motherland:
Viktor Kozlov (leader), Alexey Bolotov (tried to rescue Inaki Ochoa), Vladimir Belous, Nikolai Totmianin, Valery Shamalo, Vitaliy Gorelik, Ilias Tukhvatullin, Andrey Mariev, Vadim Popovich, Evgeny Vinogradskiy (4x8000ers), Nikolay Cherny ( 73 years!), Sergey Bychkovskiy, Igor Borisenko, Vladimir Kuptsov, Sergey Gaydukov and Yury Dimchuk.
The 16 multi-awarded veterans will once again be led in battle by Viktor Kozlov who spent years planning and preparing for the challenge. The plan is to climb Cesen up to 7560m, and then follow a new variation line to the summit. The team will use no supplementary O2.
While all the surrounding 8000ers have been attempted (and one climbed) in the current renaissance of Karakoram winter climbing, K2 has been left alone.
This winter, two teams will also attempt the first winter ascent on Nanga Parbat, and two more will try GI.
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