Jannu 2004

Russian team headed by St. Petersburgian Alexander Odintsov presses onward to the top on the north wall of Himalayan "7-thousander" Jannu (7710 m). The ascent is performed within the frame of the BIG WALLS – RUSSIAN WAY project. The current expedition is the second one – the previous attempt took place in last autumn. This year assault is sponsored by PANASONIC.
The route is very hard, technically difficult along the whole its length but especially over the part which begins at 7000 m height and goes up to the summit. In general, the Jannu north wall is believed to be one of the most challenging on the planet. Due to high concentration of the technical difficulties high on the wall, the route attracts attention of the world most ambitious climbers. At present the russian team is leading in an implicit competition for the honour of being the first to ascend the wall. Last year fall they had climbed through the lower part and had begun above the 7000 m level. This time the team hopes to complete the route.
As well as in last year, Nikolay Totmianin, leading guide of CET Neva agency, is member of the team. As it is known to our site readers, last spring, May 22, 2003 he summited on Everest with no bottled oxygen. After long enough rehabilitation, Nikolay, as usually, was guiding CET Neva client's groups on the Central Asia 7-thousanders and then, in October had left for Jannu. Below are his seldom reports from the 2nd, current expedition.

A historical reference.   The granite Jannu massif (7710 m) stands at the Central Himalaya, being among the Kanchenjunga group, in 11 km to the West-South-West from the world third top. The first ascent of Jannu had been realized in 1962 by very powerful French team (for example, R. Demaison, G. Magnon, R. Paragot had been among the expedition members) led by celebrated L. Terray after two previous expeditions in 1957 and 1959. As well as at the first ascent of Makalu in 1955, the climb had been made by the team with its full complement. The ascent had been recognized to be the most technically difficult one among others made to that date in Himalaya – Terray's expedition had been forced to apply 3 km of fixed lines and more than 300 pitons.


N. Totmianin's dispatches

Monday, May 3

Hello friends!
What we still need to climb through reminds in many features the Petit Dru american diretissima or a combination of key pitches of Semiletkin's, Popenko's and Bezzubkin's routes on Svobodnaya Korea north wall. To start working on the upper wall one should be climbing for three days with using fixed ropes up to 7000 m altitude. Camps 5600 and 6700 are used only for sleeping, nobody resides there. But the Camp 7000 has a special status – they lodge in it. So, it should be maximum comfortable to provide the rest and health recuperation necessary for climbing the extremely hard relief. Our group have spent the whole day only to cut out a 2x2 m area intended for Efimov's tent with our ice-axes. I've climbed up thirty-five 7-thousanders but it was for the first time in my life that preparation of a bivouac at 7000 m took so much time and force. The tent is cut into the snow slope by its half and covered with a 3x4 m awning, so dust avalanches pass by it along the surface with no harm.

Camp III, 7000 m.

70-90-degree rocks decorated with ice spots and overhangs produce a scene for our performance. We use universal rock pitons of 2-5 mm thick, roll-formed channel of three sizes, stoppers, friends and camalots both for the climbing and the protection. There are unscrewable expansion bolts for monolith pitches and sky-hooks in addition. The ice pitches are spots of tough ice of several centimeters to one meter thick. Ice screws are very helpful here. Ice instruments and ice-fifi are in use for climbing such pitches. Taking into account the weight of clothing, footwear and crampons, leading climber turns out to be loaded with 15 kg approximately. Any free climbing with Millet shoes, multilayer clothing and Polartec gloves is rather problematic. The rock is dry but cold. While the leader, hanging on the rock vertical, is sweating due to efforts the belayer struggles against the cold.
There are about 5 rope-lengths from the Camp 7000 up to the bottom of the fixed line on the upper wall. Climbing through them takes typically 4 morning hours from us. Thus, the nearest task for the next avant-guard rope team is to fixe at least a couple of ropes more and to move upwards, closer to the bottom of the fixed ropes, the suspended platform for tent. Our today's avant-guard is Bolotov's team. For the day time they have overclimbed a 5 m roof and straightened the fixed line. Tomorrow it will lighten weight carrying and economize at least 1-1.5 hours. Mikhailov and Odintsov have arrived to 5600.

Obstinate cough is an inevitable consequence of working on the high altitude. Our Base Camp doctor puts us on variety of medication methods including the inhalation of grass decoction. There is an electric inhalator among our gears which helps efficiently to cure the respiratory diseasies.
One more problem of the high altitude is dehydratation of the organism. Only morning and evening liquid consumption is apparently not enough. The leading rope-team takes a thermos with tea along but has an opportunity to drink a little only at upper anchor of the fixed line. From here the leader leaves for climbing and is ploughing through with no drinking before the day is out. The main kind of drinks is tea. Princess Nuri in bags has well brewed in the "boiling" water at 7000 m. Other beverages are instant coffee, cocoa, juices and milk in different combinations. Beer and fruit compotes are consumed with pleasure in the Base Camp.

My hookah.

The wall fiercely resists but the team has high morale... Good bye to everybody!

N. Totmianin from the Base Camp.

P.S. A serious trouble had happened yesterday. One of four fixing points of the tent platform, prepared for lifting and suspended at 7000 m, had been torn out and the carcass tubes turned out to be broken. Reserve tube set will be brought up by Mikhailov's team in two days. All this does not speed up the climb.

Friday, March 26
Jannu expedition got the start.

On March 25, Panasonic – Jannu North Wall Expedition arrived in Katmandu. We flew by Quatar Airlines flight from Moscow to Katmandu via Doha. The weather in the capital of Nepal is sunny and hot as in summer. The team staff and part of the expedition gear will left Katmandu for Tapletjung on March 28 by plane. The main part of the load had been sent on March 26 at 3 a.m. by truck which is to arrive to Tapletjung by night of March 28.
We have still not received about 200 kg cargo sent from Moscow. Hope, holidays and strikes will not distort our plans.
On March 25 we had met around the table with members of the Russian Everest North Wall Expedition. After successful acclimatization ascent of Ama Dablam they returned back to Katmandu. Everybody enjoyed with eating, drinking and singing. They left today for Tibet, their main goal.
Good bye to everybody. Totmianin.