AMIN BRAKK

Posted on: December 1, 2004


In June and July the Russian Extreme Project team, consisting of climbers Arcady Seregin, Alexander Lastochkin, Sergey Kovalev and me, with videographer Dorfman Lev and photographer Dmitry Lifanov, set out to climb a new Russian route on the 1200-meter west face of Amin Brakk (5850m). I wanted to make a base jump from the summit. Amin Brakk is one of the most complex and extensive walls on our planet. Harder than Nameless Tower, it was first attempted in May 1996 by the very experienced Basque big-wall climber, Jon Lazkano. In 1997 Lazkano, together with Adolfo Madinabeitia and Jose Carlos Tamayo, returned to make a capsule-style attempt on the granite face. After fifteen days on the wall the trio was forced to give up 300 meters below the top, worn down by bad weather, cold temperatures and lack of food.

Spanish teams made several more attempts, but it wasn't until 1999 that Pep Masip, Miguel Puigdomenech and Silvia Vidal climbed this virgin tower. Their route, Sol Solet (VII 6C+, A5, 1650m), took thirty-four days; it is considered one of the most technically complex routes in the world. Earlier the same season, a Korean team climbed twenty-seven pitches on the west face only to turn back 100 meters from the summit in heavy snowfall and strong winds. Less than a month later, the Czech team of Filip Silhan, Marek Holecek and David Stastny completed their route to the summit, naming it Czech Express (5.12c A3 70 degrees).

The west face, which has a system of ledges, is not exceptionally vertical. Our team spent twenty-two days (eleven days fixing and eleven on the mountain) making our ascent (A3 6A, 1250m). On July 19 we summited, having overcome ice-covered rocks, deep snow below the summit tower and incessant blizzards (of our thirty-three days in the area, only three were sunny). The only thing that we did not manage to do was climb an absolutely new route. Because of abnormally bad weather near the top, we finished the last 500 meters via Czech Express (it was easier and faster). On July 22 I made a successful base jump, free falling 1000 meters in thirty seconds in a wing suit. The sensations after landing were inexpressible. It seemed I had gone for a spin in a time machine. After so many days living on a vertical wall, to in one minute appear below on a horizontal, safe site-able to do what you want, to go where you want-was fantastic!

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— Valery Rozov, Moscow, Russia

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