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Cholatse (6,440m) north face, calendar winter ascent, Russian Route.
From material provided by Anna Piunova, mountain.ru
North face of Cholatse seen from Lobuche East. (1) French Route (Badaroux-Batoux-Challamel-Mora-Robach, 1995). The dotted line shows the Korean variations during the first winter ascent (Park Jung-hun-Chai Kang-sik, 2005). (2) 2010 Russian Route. To the left is Pk. 6,367m on the ridge northwest of Tawoche. Joel Kauffman
Galya Cibitoke, Alexander Gukov, Sergei Kondrashkin, Viktor Koval, and Valery Shamalo from St. Petersburg arrived in Kathmandu at the end of February and from there reached the north side of Cholatse via a trek over the Chola Pass. Their goal was the large rock buttress right of the 1995 French Route. During the second week of March, five days into the first attempt, the very strong female alpinist, Cibitoke, lost consciousness. She had to be brought round by artificial respiration and an injection of dexamethasone. The team retreated to base camp.
Despite Cibitoke recovering quickly, and eager for another attempt, her teammates felt it best for her to descend to lower altitudes, and Kondrashkin accompanied her. Later, they realized the probable cause of her sickness was carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty Jet-Boil stove.
On March 14, after only one day’s rest at base camp, Gukov, Koval, and Shamalo started back up the route but with a change of plan. The first foray had showed that the upper, partially overhanging pillar would need much aid, a portaledge, and capsule style. The team had not brought a ledge and wanted to climb in alpine style, so they followed a slanting line up left, bypassing the overhanging pillar to reach the upper section of the French Route. The initial pitches followed snow and ice runnels to a complex rock section, which the three crossed on aid. Above, the climbing was a mixture of free (with ice tools) and aid…. (read more)