Major New Route on Pobeda Peak

The ca. 2,500-meter (8,200-foot) north face of Pobeda Peak (7,439m/24,406'). The red line marks the new Durov-Urubko Route. The Dollar Route (1982) follows the green line immediately to the left. Farthest left is the 1956 Abalakov Route, the line followed for Pobeda's first ascent. The first green line to the right is the Camel Buttress (2009, Gorelik-Sokolov). Farthest right is the 1961 route up the west ridge, now Pobeda's normal route. Photo courtesy of Anna Piunova/

The ca. 2,500-meter (8,200-foot) north face of Pobeda Peak (7,439m/24,406

8/22/11 - Kazakh climbers Gennady Durov and Denis Urubko have climbed a difficult new route on the huge north face of 7,439-meter Pobeda Peak in Kyrgyzstan. The new line tackles steep ground to the right of the historic Dollar Route, climbed in 1982. Durov and Urubko took six days to climb their route (Russian grade 6B, with difficulties up to 5.9/5.10 M5), summiting in the evening of August 15.

The two men acclimatized on Khan Tengri and nearby peaks, with Durov climbing Khan Tengri twice and Urubko spending a night on the summit of the 7,005-meter peak; he also did a new route on Prezhevalsky Peak with Boris Dedeshko. They then spent several days in base camp, waiting for good weather and killing time. "Gena makes wicker trinkets, I throw knives," Urubko wrote on his blog.

They started climbing from camp on the South Inylchek Glacier on August 10, but nearly two feet of new snow on the 11th created dangerous avalanche conditions and forced them to retreat to a safe camp on "The Pedestal." Surprised by good weather the next morning, they waited for conditions to settle and then continued up. They climbed the headwall right of the Dollar Route over the next three days, often with frightening, poorly protected climbing. On top, the high winds eased and allowed a safe descent via Pobeda's normal route to the west.

This new route, likely the most difficult to Pobeda's summit, had been on the minds of top climbers from Russia and neighboring countries for nearly two decades. In fact, the Russian climber Gleb Sokolov, who led an extremely difficult new route farther right on the face in 2009 , was also in South Inylchek Base Camp, hoping for a shot at the new line.

Urubko has been one of the most successful Himalayan climbers in recent years, most recently completing the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II (the first 8,000'er climbed in winter in Pakistan) with Italian Simone Moro and American Cory Richards.

Dates of ascent: August 10-15, 2011

Source: Anna Piunova,