Russians complete a new route on Jannu
On October 21 Valery Babanov and Sergei Kofanow stood on the top of Jannu (officially known as Kumbhakarna, 7.710m) after climbing it’s northwest buttress in alpine-style. The Russians reached the summit after eight days of climbing in difficult weather conditions. The last part of the route they climbed with minimum equipment.
Jannu is situated in the East Nepal, close to the eight thousender – Kanchenjunga. Being one of the most difficult mountains it has always attracted alpinists. Almost every year there is an expedition trying to climb one of it’s walls. The route completed by the Russians had already been attempted before by French teams in 1994 and 1998.
According to Olga Babanova, who is expecting the climbers at the BC, the pair planned to descend via the same route.
The first ascent of Jannu was made on 28 April 1962 by a French team of Rene Desmaison, Paul Keller nad Robert Paragot. The following day Lionel Terray reached the top accompanied by Jean Ravier and Sherpa Wangdi. The French route was repeated by Japanese climbers in 1974.
The first alpine-style ascent was done two days later by a team of young British climbers: Brian Hall, Alan Rouse, Rab Carrington and Roger Baxter-Jones. It was a landmark in the development of alpine-style climbing in the Himalaya. In the same year (1976) Japanease team led by Masatsugu Konishi completed an impressive route on the awesome north face of the mountain. The line followed an icy spur far left side of the face. In spring 1989 the Slovenian Tomo ╚esen staggered climbing circles with his claims to have soloed a more direct route in 23,5 hours from basecamp to summit (descent took him 18 hours). The climb involved complex route finding, 5.11a rock climbing and total commitment. Unfortunately the feat was later widely dismissed as a hoax (although there are some who still believe the Slovenian).
A direct route via the north face (ABO+, VI A3+, 72 vertical pitches, 3250 m) was finally climbed in 2004 by Russian team led by Alexander Odinstov.