Russian direttissima up Thalay Sagar North Face
In September 2016 Russian mountaineers Dmitry Golovchenko, Dmitry Grigoriev and Sergey Nilov made the first ascent of Moveable Feast (1400m), a difficult new climb the North Face of Thalay Sagar (6904m) in the Indian Himalayas.
Over a ten day period in mid-September Dmitry Golovchenko, Dmitry Grigoriev and Sergey Nilov climbed a stunning direttissima up the North Face of Thalay Sagar in the Garwahl Himalaya, India. The new route tackles a line up the huge buttress to the left of the obvious Central Couloir, to the right One Way Ticket established in 2003 by Frenchmen Stéphane Benoist and Patrice Glairon-Rappaz. On the upper section it crosses Attraverso lo specchio, the impressive attempt up the NE Ridge carried out in 1994 by the Italians Enrico Rosso, Giancarlo Ruffino and Alessandro Vanet and also the 1983 Polish - Norwegian route put up by Andrez Czok, Hans-Christian Doeseth, Frode Guidal, Havard Nesheim and Janusz Skorek.
Golovchenko, Grigoriev and Nilov started up their Moveable Feast on 9 September and, in an remarkable single push, reached the summit on 17 September. They descended via the original route up the mountain, climbed in 1979 by Roy Kligfield, John Thackray and Pete Thexton and returned to base camp on 19 September. The Russians climbed without a portaledge, stating that they viewed this as "a sort of extra challenge". The overall grade for the 1400m outing is estimated at Russian 6B (the most difficult on the Russian scale), or ED2, and this breaks down into M7, WI5, 5c free climbing and A3 aid. Interestingly, the new climb came about by chance as they had originally planned to climb in Nepal, but were later forced to look for a backup option due to beaurocatic problems.
Reporting on www.mountain.ru, Golovchenko stated: "Our route starts from a crevasse, between ice and rock. The first 500-600 meters climb a steep slope of ice and snow. Then you deal with the first bastion, vertical rock with sets of cracks all filled with ice. It took us 2 days to climb 200 meters. Due to the wind and weather conditions even the vertical sections were covered in snow and ice. And if you see rock, it most probably means that it is both steep and smooth. Further up, mixed climbing begins up the 300-400m high, 70-80° rock barrier. One of the ledges for our tent was under the overhanging rock (we had to chop some ice to build it) and we found some equipment there: ropes and some aid climbing gear. We assume it was left by the 1994 Italian expedition. One pitch further leads to the summit bastion: black and quite loose rock, overhanging at 110 degrees. We tried to bypass this, however we were unsuccessful and eventually decided to climb it straight up. After the bastion, the final section starts and a snow slope leads you straight to the summit. Here we took some pictures and later we found some Indian fixed ropes and used them for the descent."
Golovchenko, Grigoriev and Nilov have been climbing together since 2013, the same year in which Golovchenko and Nilov were awarded one of the six Piolet d’or for their 2012 ascent of Muztagh Tower (7.284 m) in Pakistan.
Thalay Sagar (6904m)
"Moveable feast", buttress of North face
Length: 1400 m
Elevation: 1200 m
Average degree: 62°
Wall average: 71°
Mixed climbing: up to M7
Ice climbing: WI5
Free climbing: F5c
Aid climbing (totally 5 pitches): from A1 to A3
Russian grade: 6b
Alpine grade: ED2
Bace camp: midnight from 18.09.2016 to 19.09.2016
Descent: via classical route climbed in 1979