GREAT TRANGO TOWER, NORTHWEST FACE

Posted on: December 1, 2003


The upper half of the Great Trango Tower’s northwest face, showing: 1.The Ukrainian Route (VI 5.11 A4, 1950m, Lavrinenko-Mogila-Yarechevsky-Zhilin, 2003) 2.Lost Butterfly (VII 5.10 A4+, Berecz-Nadaski-Tivadar, 1999; joined Parallel Worlds for ten pitches, but did not reach summit) 3.Parallel Worlds (VII 5.11 A4, 1828m, Lowe-Ogden-Synnott, 1999) 4.The Russian Way (VII 5.11 A4, 2675m, Odintsov-Potankin-Samoilenko- Koshelenko, 1999) [Photo] Yuri Koshelenko

After receiving information from Yuri Koshelenko, who climbed a new route, The Russian Way (VII 5.11 A4, 2675m), on Great Trango Tower in 1999, Alexander Lavrinenko, Vitaly Yarechevsky, Alexey Zhilin and I decided to climb a new route on the northwest face. The route looked very logical, natural and safe in photos.

We arrived at base camp on July 2 and started to work on the route on July 9. Before committing to the route, we spent two days fixing ropes on the first seven pitches. The third day we hauled bags to the top of the fixed ropes. It rained all three of those days. The weather deteriorated for the next two days, and we stayed in base camp. Besides those three working days, the ascent took twenty-two days once we committed to the route, including two and a half days rappeling the route.

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The route was very logical—cracks from bottom to top—and it was safe, with no danger of falling rock or ice. Unfortunately, our hopes to do a lot of free climbing did not come true because of the lack of features on the rock face and many vertical seams filled with dirt. Even on the low-angle, lower part of the route, we could only free climb about thirty percent of the route. As a result, the ascent took much more time then we expected. The upper tower turned out to be very cold and covered with ice; we had to lead in double boots. The temperature was as low as -10 degrees C at night, and around -5 degrees C during the day before the sun hit the route.

The route (VI 5.11 A4, 1950m) was climbed in capsule style, and we took turns leading. Small pitons and Peckers were very useful for the thin cracks. Every belay station was equipped with a bolt, and twelve additional bolts were placed between stations where they were necessary. We started our descent about 100 meters below the summit because we ran out of food and fuel and could not afford to stay the extra two days we thought would be necessary to reach the summit and descend. (We think roughly two to two and a half pitches remained to the summit.) We climbed forty-three pitches, returning to base camp on August 4.

— Vladimir Mogila, Odessa, Ukraine



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