Russian Latok III success
On 25/06/2011 a Russian expedition comprised of Alexander Odintsov, Alexey Lonchinskiy, Ivan Dozhdev and Eugeniy Dmitrienko summited Latok III (6949m) in Pakistan's Karakoram via the hitherto unclimbed West Face.
Precise details are currently few and far between, but according to www.mountain.ru, after acclimatising on nearby Latok V the Russian mountaineers immediately set their sights on the unclimbed west face which they had unsuccessfully attempted twice before. The climbers started on 10 June and established 8 camps. Summit success came about on 25 June and two days later they returned safely to base camp.
The Russian summit comes after two previous failed expeditions. Odintsov, who also led the successful 2004 Russian Jannu expedition, first attempted the face in 2000 but the expedition was abandoned quickly after the other three expedition members Ruchkin, Koshelenko and Efimov were injured in an avalanche and Efimov was evacuated by helicopter. A year later Odintsov returned for a second attempt with a larger team comprised of Klenov, Ruchkin, Devy, Khadzhinov and Barikhin, but this too was abandoned when Igor Barikhin tragically died in a rockslide.
Latok III was first ascended by a Japanese expedition in 1979 led by Yoji Teranishi via the SW Ridge and the mountain forms part of the Latok group comprised of Latok 1, II, III and IV which lie circa two and a half hours to the east of the famous Ogre group.
Talking of latok I: currently a strong Italian expedition comprised of Ermanno Salvaterra, Andrea Sarchi, Cege Ravaschietto, Marco Majori and Bruno Mottini has its sights set on the "impossible" North Ridge this 7145m high mountain. Ever since the epic first attempt in 1978 by Americans Jim Donini, Michael Kennedy, Jeff e George Lowe this formidable crest has rebuffed some of best mountaineers in the world and it is worth remembering that the mountain was first ascended a year after this attempt via the South Face by a Japanese expedition led by Naoki Takada. In the 33 years that have followed, no one has managed to set foot on the summit again.
Video interview with Alexander Odintsov by PlanetMountain at the Trento FilmFestival 2008