Gleb Sokolov from Novosibirsk – an old hand at climbing gives advice how to ascent the Khan-Tengri Peak and Pobeda Peak.

 Gleb SokolovEight times he climbed eightthousanders of the planet, having been to Everest, K-2, twice – to the Lhotse Main, as well as to the Lhotse Middle,
Lhotse Shar, Makalu and Cho Oyu. Gleb Anatolevich as a member of Russian national team took part in such unique ascents as climbing Mount
Everest on the north wall (2004) and the subjugation of the most difficult mountain in the world K-2 (2007). Gleb Sokolov is many time winner and
prizer of All Russia Mountaineering Championships. He stated the records in the speed ascents to all seventhousanders on the former USSR
(Pamir and Tien Shan). Three times took part in speed ascent competitions to Khan Tengri peak (6995 m). His best time BC (4200) – top – BC was 14 hours.
Speed ascent to Pobeda Peak (7439) – 20 hours.

Preparation

If you have no experience of single climbing and you are not a misanthrope, do not come to the south Inylchek by your own. Company of 3-4 people is optimal.
They can render first aid, insure you against accidents, when passing through the deep cracks and pull you out of there if you, God forbid, fall down.
It’s clear that you should know each other. You used to go to the mountains together, conquered the peaks. Try to provide at least one person who had high
altitude experience and who was in that area.
Try to avoid strangers, especially beware of lonely beautiful women.
Appearance is deceptive and, as a rule, they can’t do anything and have carefully concealed disgusting character. Who knows what freaks they will
give you somewhere in the 4 th camp at 6400m. Though, probably, and there are exceptions. Think carefully about tactics and strategy of your expedition.
Make a thoughtful plan for acclimatization, rest and ascents. Be sure to add 2-3 spare days. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact more experienced comrades.
You need to be sufficiently trained, and technical training should include the ability to work with a rope, walking on the rails, the organization of bivouacs, etc.

Personal gear

Often, because of some trifles everything breaks down! That is why select gear not the day before departure. Here I list equipment which, in my experience,
most important for the Hahn-Victory.
Let’s start with shoes. In my view the best shoes for Khan Tengri are – La Sportiva Spantik, Scarpa Phantom 6000, and Boreal G-1. In the last one
I went to the Pobeda, climbed Everest and Cho Oyu. To go to the Pobeda Peak is desirable to have warmer altitude boots. Magnificent are La Sportiva,
Olympus Mons Evo, Scarpa Phantom 8000, and Boreal G-1. You can, of course, take also and Spantik, Phantom 6000th and G-1, and try to provide shoe covers,
which will save your legs in critical situations. You must not save on shoes, however, as on the entire height ammunition. Fingers are not the potatoes, they won’t grow up again!
Any grapplers. Favorite are Grivel 2F – light, very relevant in the area.
It is desirable to have snowshoes. Good one is MSR Denali, TSL 225-227 Rando.
This is the basic clothing for acclimatization and climbing on Khan-Tengri. I am not going to write about mittens and socks. There should be plenty of them.
Caps – two of them, one simple for the sun and one warm for cold and wind while climbing.
The cloth is expensive. But the real clothes for the “height” can not be cheap.
Very bright sun forces you to use high-quality glasses with maximum UV protection type JULBO or CEBE.
Backpack is usual, for 60-80 liters. System is standard with two whiskers for clamping of safety and rifle. Down sleeping bags should be warm, pad – thick.

Group gear

Rope is 1 / 2 UIAA 20-30m. That will be enough for up to 4 people for the insurance during the passage of the glacier Semenovski.
Gas kitchen – 2 pcs. per group. Weight is small, but really helps in cooking. Usually we take two light torches – JETBOIL (PCS) and SNOW PEAK GST-100.
And of course I won’t write about pots and spoons. It is desirable to take the mountaineering tents, as camping tents do not withstand snow and wind.
Extra tent won’t be unnecessary; it can be left in the camp (Camp 1) for some equipment and products. Hook with an ice pick is desirable to arrange
insurance when passing through the cracks Semenovski.
Always take a roll of ordinary adhesive tape. It will be very necessary when packing products, and absolutely indispensable in the manufacture
of a litter of telescopic poles, ice axes, racks of tents, etc.

Food

For acclimatization and the ascent to Khan-Tengri and Pobeda you should bring altitude and gourmet food. I won’t write the list of it. Every man to his own taste!
All information can be found at various sites and discussed with more experienced comrades. Just remember- don’t save on food! Better to have a little left.
In the end, before flying to the “great land” you can make a final feast. If you’re not a member of society “Memory” and you are not convinced teetotaler, take a
bottle of good brandy.

Health

Check your health at least at the district therapist. Visit the dentist.
Bring individual first aid kit; add Panangin to conventional medicine, aspirin Trombo ACC (50mg or 100mg, depending on your weight),
two packs of Trental 100, or 400. This allows you to avoid the problems associated with dehydration, altitude and lack of oxygen.
Take good eye drops in case of eye burns, ointment acyclovir on herpes, sorbent type Polifepam from poisoning. And, of course, do not
forget about sunscreen and lipstick. On the glacier you should consult with the camp doctor how and when to take the above medications.
Be sure to insure your life against all kinds of disasters.

First days on the glacier

Hooray! You are on the glacier. A dream came true. The helicopter flew away; you got a place in the base tent, spread things around…!
What should you do now? The answer is simple – no fuss! Live a day or two without loading, listen to yourself. It is very important to get
used to the altitude in a stressful situation and it is very important not to disrupt. Take a walk, go to the nearby camp, and enjoy the nature
(the flowers are rather than the local girls). The first days – the time of new contacts and consultations.

Exit at the first camp (4200m) Exit at the first camp (4200m)

Exit training, almost no climbing. You bring the gear to the turn from where you will start the next exit. There is no danger, except creeks
on the glacier. Beware of them, try to get around or go with the insurance on the snow bridge. Chance to escape when released into a river is not very high.

Exit at the second camp (5300m)

The real work begins. After spending the night at Camp 1, you go out early in the morning on l.Semenovskiy. Tactics and strategy of this output depends
on the weather and snow conditions on the glacier. If the trail up is not covered with snow and there are fixed railings through the wide cracks in the icefall,
you can go first. Otherwise, skip ahead more experienced group.
Do not hurry. At dawn you must be at the first steep rise. You should always see and know where to escape in the event of a collapse of the ice.
Usually it is to the left from the ascent route to the ridge Chapaev. You will have 5-6 seconds to get away from falling flying ice. In 2004, several
groups came out very early, in darkness, unable to orient, where they run. 11 people died. Ice avalanches can occur at any time. Therefore the
probability of ice vanishing always presents and dangerous sites need to go through, run through as quickly as possible, without sparing yourself and your partner.
It will be possible to have a rest at the “bottle” when you get to the middle of the glacier. Here you must be at least at 7-30 am, in order to pass “the neck”.
Remember that above the “bottle” there are large snowfields, and in the morning snowfall dust avalanches are possible. If you are late and you do not
have enough time to pass “neck” till 10 o’clock, hide in the middle of the glacier, in a place protected from possible landslides. After dinner,
when the sun does not cover the walls of Chapaev peak any more, rock falls and avalanches will stop and in the evening you will reach camp 2.
The trail to the glacier again goes to the left, in the “neck” to the walls of Chapaev peak. Wet avalanches begin since 9-30, from its walls.
Please try to catch up by this time to pass this dangerous area. If, however, in passing, “the bottle” you get in an avalanche, never jump into the crack!
You almost always have few seconds to get away from snow and stones. In extreme case you will be digged by your friends. If you jump into the crack
you risk flying 30-40 feet and safely dye. It is not the fact that you would got out of there later.

Camp three Camp three

Acclimatized or if you have excellent health, you can risk to rise on a crosspiece, passing camp 2 and by that reducing accustoming to the altitude.
The way from camp 2 to camp 3 will take 2-3 hours, if there is a track and rigid glacier snow. If there is deep snow and there is no track the way will
take 4-6 hours. Snowshoes will be very useful. There are no technical complexities during the ascent, but do not forget about the sun. Leave as earlier
as possible. Go ahead! Camp 3 consists of a few snow caves and a bunch of tents set in bergschrund. Decide where you want to stop.
Never put tents on a slope under a crosspiece. Sometimes, during the bad weather, snow layers move down on some meters, you can appear under them and be lost.

Tactics and Strategy in the ascent of Khan-Tengri

From camp 3, if you are confident and experienced you can try to go to the top. You may need 4 to 10-15 hours or more. You do not have to chase records,
so count on 12-13 hours. If you’re not very confident in your abilities, it is better to spend the night in the fourth camp (6400m.), from where you can
reach the top for 2 -10 hours. In the camp it is possible to set three medium-sized tents. Several tents can be also set lower.
With the ascent of Khan Tengri from camp 3 in your backpack should be a down-padded coat, spare warm mittens, and a thermos of tea, light snacks and
a small first aid kit with essential drugs. You should start at 4-5 in the morning. Do not forget a flashlight. Usually it is very cold and windy early in the morning,
so dress warm. It will be easier to put cloth in your backpack than to shake a few hours, trying to keep warm. You should beware of heavy snow on the descent,
where there are no ropes, because the footprints are quickly swept, visibility decreases and you can easily go to the eaves. In this case it is better to stand
a little bit and wait. Listen to your body. If you have short breath, loss rate, loss of limb sensitivity, tell immediately about everything to your companion.
Turn around and go down. Maybe it is overcautiousness, but it can also be signs of serious illness. Rescue work on a rocky ridge at 6-7 thousand meters
is a very serious event that involves many people.
Descent of the patient is very difficult and dangerous for the rescuers. There is an example that happened in 2006. O. Rumyantseva was severely diseased
and was descanted from the fourth camp (6400m.). A happy coincidence that there were many highly qualified climbers on the mountain, who brought
her by late evening to the helicopter and thus they saved her life. She was lucky. Be careful; take care of your health and time of other!

Descent to base camp

Once you have reached the summit, there remains the important part of the ascent – descent to base camp. The same difficulties wait for you.
If you are at the bridge at 5 o’clock in the morning, then approximately by 7-30 – 8 you will be at the turn. And then it will be very close to beer, dinner and baths!
You can go down even after dinner and even at night. The probability of large avalanches is minimal. When the weather is bad, you can use gps-navigator,
especially when walking in fog on the bridge and on the glacier Semenovski.

Tactics and strategy in the ascent of Pobeda

Usually more prepared climbers go to Pobeda. Ascent the most northern seventhousander, as a rule, is preceded by acclimatization
and ascension to Khan Tengri. However, if every year many climbers manage to conquer Khan Tengri, on the top of Pobeda there are very few of them.
What is the reason? There are several of them. Pobeda is higher, the distance is great. You find yourself in other environmental conditions.
All “easy” routes disappear if the weather becomes worse, and in some hours you can appear in a trap. Then it is necessary to wait.
Therefore, take more warm clothes, products and gas.
Good acclimatization is obligatory! The basic losses are usually connected with weak acclimatization. I do not consider shameful 2-3 times
to descend to Khan Tengri and then easy work on Pobeda. Find out the approximate forecast for these days. The most snow sites are desirable
to pass in good weather. The approach under the Victory in camp ABC takes 4-6 hours. The top part of a glacier is usually closed. There are many cracks.
It is desirable to move in first half of day and in sheaves. You should consult with more experienced climbers about the place where to set the camp ABC.
At an unsuccessful arrangement huge ice and snow collapses can simply destroy it. In the worst case – together with you!
On the pass Dikiy – top of Vazhi Pshavela the safest place for intermediate camp is on 6400m, under “the big stones” and on Vazhi Pshavela from the Chinese part.
In the camp on 5800м try to settle down in snow caves, as there are rockslides. If there is good weather it is possible to pas a crest of Vazhi Pshavela spending
one night on 6400m, having avoided inconvenient on 5800m and 6700m.
From Vazhi Pshavela to the top there are 4-8 hours and 2-4 hours back. The simplest rout is through Vazhi Pshavela. For other routes certain weather
conditions, high-rise experience, qualitative equipment are required. If any component is absent or is unreliable, don’t risk, try next year. Mountains are eternal!
And it is better to return ten times, then never come back!

P.S All my wishes, recommendations are based on personal experience and concrete cases during the last 20 years.
Therefore consider this article not as a dogma, but as the guide to the action.

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