Russians Siege Trango, Put Up New Route

Posted on: September 28, 2011

Trango Tower (6251m), Pakistan. In eight days, Dmitry Golovchenko, Sergey Nilov, Viktor Volodin and Alexander Yurkin put up No Fear (VII 6B+ A3, 1120m) on the formation's northwest face. [Photo] Victor Volodin

Last month, a four-man Russian team established a new route on the northwest face of Pakistan's Trango Tower (6251m). No Fear (VII 6B+ A3, 1120m) put up by Dmitry Golovchenko, Sergey Nilov, Viktor Volodin and Alexander Yurkin, is the first largely independent route established on Trango Tower in more than a decade.


Trango's northwest face is host to one other established route: Insumisioa (VI A3+ 6A), a 1995 creation of Basque climbers Antonio Aqueretta, Fermin Izco and Mikel Zabalza. The route's name is a reference to draft dodging, a nod to the fact that the four of them were avoiding compulsory military service while on their expedition.

Volodin's group started preparations for their climb on August 2, when they worked in pairs to fix five ropes along the planned route. On August 5, they began to ascend in capsule style, building three portaledge camps along the way. The route follows a prominent corner system and overlaps with Insumisioa on a sloping, snowy terrace for three pitches. No Fear then angles left to the summit of the tower. The crew aided much of the climb, but also free-climbed rock up to 6b+.

In total, they spent eight days climbing the formation. The weather was clear and sunny for the first five days, but conditions gradually deteriorated. The team summited on August 12 in snow, rain and brutally low temperatures.

An expedition jeep struggles through a boulder-strewn river near Ascole village on the way to the Trango Group. [Photo] Alex Yurkin

Officially, the expedition celebrated the eightieth anniversary of The Moscow Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, but Volodin says that the climb also satisfied a personal goal. On his first visit to the mountains of Pakistan in 1997, Volodin participated in the first ascent of the west face of K2. On his way back through the nearby village of Askole, Volodin glimpsed Trango Tower and could not forget its beautiful summit. He immediately decided to return someday. More than ten years later he said, "the stars finally aligned, as you say. It was my dream, and it came true."

Victor Volodin displays his climbing club's colors on the summit of Trango Tower, with Sergey Nilov and Dmitry Golovchenko. [Photo] Alex Yurkin

For more news stories in the Trango Group, see the following articles:

Victor Volodin raps off of Trango after summiting the day before. [Photo] Alex Yurkin

March 1, 2005 NewsWire

September 28, 2006 NewsWire

March 1, 2007 NewsWire

July 27, 2007 NewsWire

July 20, 2008 NewsWire

October 1, 2009 NewsWire

Alpinist 11 Mountain Profile

Sources: Viktor Volodin, Dmitry Golovchenko,,

Here at Alpinist, our small editorial staff works hard to create in-depth stories that are thoughtfully edited, thoroughly fact-checked and beautifully designed. Please consider supporting our efforts by subscribing.


Correction: No Fear is the first largely independent route on Trango Tower, not in the Trango Group. Thanks to AlpineEssence for catching that. -Ed.

2011-10-06 02:26:23

I must also point out that at least several major independent lines HAVE gone up in the Trango Group (Great Trango, Nameless, Monk/Trango Pulpit/Trango II) in the last 10 years.

Certainly I would place the alpine (disaster) style efforts of Kelly Cordes and Josh Wharton's 'Azeem Ridge' and Dodo Kopold and Gabo Cmarik's 'Assalam Alaikum' (not the most imaginative name, but that's another conversation) plus suicidal descent with near death fall of the old Russian route on Great Trango as standard setting alpine lines in excess of 7,000 vertical feet of rock climbing with minimal equipment.

Capsule style is neither seige nor alpine style - but outside of these particular semantic explorations these guys put in a fine effort on a quality, steep line at altitude; while the rest of Trango basecamp was probably scraping their way toward yet another repeat effort on 'Eternal Flame' or the 'Slovenian Route.'

2011-10-03 11:54:41
andy kirkpatrick

Come on Alpinist - Capsule style has been used on the majority of all the hard high altitude walls, and is a valid and safe style. Would you call it a siege if it had been a US or euro team?

2011-10-01 12:31:57

I agree with chewtoy... four people, eight days, 1000m of climbing, all at high altitude... true, it isn't alpine style but its hardly a "siege" and most importantly its damn impressive!

2011-09-28 22:42:07

umpf: "Russians Siege Trango, Put Up New Route"

The implication, is that Russian climbers who are famous for fixing "last great alpine problems" in the outer ranges (does anyone say that anymore?)have climbed anoter route via a fix fest.

Arguabley fixing one rope dismisses any claim for Alpine Style or using other pre-placed gear, food, or water for that matter.

That said, fixing five ropes on a ~1000 m climb is not a siege by modern siege stds. i.e. They had no embibical cord from top to bottom.

"Capsule style" has always been a bridge between fix it all, and fix none, but by all accounts is not siege style.

eh-nouh discourse, time for a donount.

2011-09-28 19:39:09
Post a Comment

Login with your username and password below.
New User? Here's what to do.

Forgot your username or password?