Alpine-Style New Route on Jannu



Jannu’s north side: The approximate line of the Babanov-Kofanov route on the northwest buttress is marked in red. The approximate route of the Jordi Tosas line is in black; Tosas descended via the slopes further right. A Russian team climbed the main rock face in the center in 2004. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A 800 PIXEL VERSION OF THIS PHOTO
Photo courtesy of Babanov.com.

Valery Babanov and Sergey Kofanov have completed the northwest buttress of 7,710-meter Jannu in Nepal in a superb alpine-style ascent. The two men reached the summit on October 21 after  eight days of climbing slowed by high winds. The new line, attempted by French teams in 1994 and 1998, climbs Jannu’s north face to a saddle below the northwestern pillar, then climbs the very steep ridgeline to the top. The pair planned to descend via their route.

Babanov, 42, a Russian now living in Canada, has long dreamed of a new route from the north on Jannu. In 2006, he had traveled to the mountain but had to give up because of partner problems. This year, he climbed with 29-year-old Kofanov, a Russian guide who has made two ascents of Mt. Everest along with hard climbs in the Tien Shan, Pamir, Caucasus, and other ranges.

Earlier this fall, Spanish climber Jordi Tosas soloed a partial new route on the north side of Jannu, climbing 1,900 meters of steep ground before joining the 1976 Japanese route at about 6,900 meters. Tired and worried about avalanches and a change in the weather, he descended by the Japanese route, to the right of his line. Tosas called his line Sun Tzu.

Tosas had hoped to climb the north side of Jannu East, but gave up on that plan after discovering too much snow on the face. Last fall, Tosas soloed a new route on 7,100-meter Palung Ri in Tibet.

Dates of Ascents: October 21, 2007 (Babanov-Kofanov; date summit reached); September 24, 2007 (Tosas)

Sources: Babanov.com, Desnivel.com, American Alpine Journal

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