(TinaSjogren) He belonged to the Russian Band of Brothers: the proud mountaineers who went for the toughest challenges, all for one, and one for all.
In a decade when sleek moves on lower altitude began to replace new lines on 8000ers; the Russians doggedly went for Jannu North Face, Everest North Wall, K2 West Face and K2 this winter.
It was unexpected - but not surprising - to find the Russians on Annapurna this fall, attempting another new line without much ado.
Iljas Tukhvatullin led one of the teams, unknown Uzbek climbers he introduced to the normal route. Incidentally, his name had been mentioned at ExplorersWeb only a few weeks before: prior to the Kazakhs, Tukhvatullin was one of the pioneers who had done Khan Tengri North Face, still unclimbed by the west.
Iljas did it in August 2005, in ten days, with Pavel Shabalin. Pavel lost several fingers to frostbite but only two years later they both summited the unclimbed west face of K2, as part of the Russian team.
Latest was the recent K2 winter attempt, another bold step, this time not fruitful. Sadly, 2012 is turning a dark year for the hardy Russians.
RussianClimb reports that Gleb Sokolov has called off the search for the perished climbers on Annapurna, killed by yet another of the peak's notorious avalanches. Sokolov said the team searched a huge part of the slope, and found nothing but masses of snow.
Challenging the highest Gods for most of his life; Iljas Tukhvatullin now has joined them.
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Two teams - an Uzbek expedition led by Iljas Tukhvatullin and a Russian group led by Gleb Sokolov have been attempting the North Face of Annapurna.
The Uzbeks went the normal route, while the Russians hoped to climb a new line near it. An avalanche hit Iljas Tukhvatullin's group between C1 and C2. The huge snowmass hit at 3 pm on Sunday. Iljas and Ivan Lobanov were both burried, only one climber was not caught. After trying to find his mates the mountaineer climbed back 150 meters to C2, and then down again to C1 from where he radioed BC. The other climbers came up and searched the area but without result.
RussianClimb report the avalanche was not a serac crash, but the whole icy slope fell down, perhaps as a result of earthquake.
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