Валерий Бабанов закончил Французскую школу гидов ENSA в Шамони.
На сегодняшний день является единственным представителем из России, имеющим международный диплом Профессионального Гида UIAGM.
С осени 2002 года входит в международную ассоциацию горных гидов.
The idea "to switch" from the 7000 picks and to begin climbingtechnically complex, new routes on the 8000 pickshad come to my mind after my ascension on Jannu in the Himalayas in the autumn of the year 2007.
Only there, when climbing the extremely complicated routes at the height of 7500 meters I understood that an individual climberhas more chances to succeed and the nextlimit for an individualis much higher: somewhere above the eight thousand kilometres limit...
Standard ascensions on the eight thousanders by classical routes didn't interest me but new and technically complicated routes were just what I needed.
Already in the spring of this year together with Nikolay Totmjanin we have made a quite bold attempt to climb a new route in alpine style to the Dhaulagiri summit (8167м) on its western side.
The Mountain didn’t surrender.
And in order not to not leave without the result we have climbed it following the classical route. Certainly, it was not a route we would like to climb.
But I was calm enough as I knew that there was still another expedition planned in one month, this time in Karakorum, Pakistan.
We had got a permit for the ascent of three eight thousanders: Broad peak (8047 m), Hidden peak (8068 m) and Gasherbrum-II (8035 m).
There I was hoping to compensate my defeat on Dhaulagiri.
There were six of us to go to Pakistan : two French: AntoineGirard, ElisabethRevole, and four Russians: Valery Shamalo, Pavel Chochia, Victor Afanasiev and me as the leader.
Victor was going to become my main partner for future ascents.
I knew that he had enough experience with technical ascents in our mountains plus several ascents on 7000 m summits in Pamir.
Very important was also the fact that he had already climbed a 8000m peak, the K2.
Moreover he had a lot of motivation. That’swhyIwassurethatwewillsucceed.
We had big plans : to climb three 8000 m peaks by new routes and all of them in a light, alpine style.
I have been maturing this idea for more than a year.
I had proposed this idea to Victor already last year and he immediately agreed to participate.
But this was not enough. Expedition costs were too high for two participants.
That’s why we had decided to invite other people who would like to climb the same summits but by classical route.
That’s how finally there were six of us.
On the 15th of June all the members of expedition have met in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
After we had completed all the necessary formalities and bought a big part of our provisions we left the city that was suffering from the Two days later we were in Skardu and one more day later in Askole.
After that there were no more roads and only paths.
All goods and provisions had to be carried by local porters.
The convoy was quite impressive, in total there were 150 people.
After one week oftrekking, on the 26th of June we had finally reached the place under
Broad peak where we built our Base Camp at the 4900 m height.
This peak was the first goal of our expedition.
On that day we became involuntary witnesses of a tragedy that happened on the slopes of Broad peak.
During the descent from the summit at the 6500 m height Slovak climber Vlado Plulik got missing.
Probably he slipped on a steep ice slope. The body of Pulik was never found…
But in any case, life goes on and already two days after our arrival to the Base Camp we had started our acclimatization on the classical route to Broad peak.
After the sunny days that we had during trekking the weather became worse - it started snowing.
But even that could not stop our plans to climb quickly and as high as possible.
Unfortunately the circumstances were not favourable to all the members of our team.
Already one week later one of the participants, AntoineGirardhad to be urgently taken back to Skardu by helicopter due to suspicion of appendicitis.
So, there was five of us left.
It took us one week and a half to acclimatize ourselves at the 7100 m high.
Only after that Victor and I were ready to start our main ascent following a new route.
Valery Shamalo, Pavel and Elisabeth were also ready to start their ascent of Broad peak by classical route.
Some words about the new route.
The itinerary goes through a beautiful pillarclearly drawn out of the relief surrounding the western wall of Broad peak.
I was wondering a lot why till nowadays no one tried to take this route though I had an idea.
It’s not unlikely that potential climbers were scared with the huge ice serac overhanging in the middle of the wall.
From time to time huge pieces of ice were breaking off it and crashing down reminding that the hanging glacier is still “alive”.
But already during our first days in the Base Camp we had carefully observed the wall through binoculars and had found a safe route through this hanging hundred meter high ice barrier.
My inner voice was telling me that we had chosen the right way and that everything would be all right.
Early in the morning on the 9th of July Victor and I had left the Base Camp to start our ascent.
Weather conditions were not that good.
Drizzling snow was depressingly falling from the heavy clouds which were very law just above our heads.
Each of us was carrying about 20 kg on his back.
But all these difficulties were of no importance for us, because both of us were deep in our thoughts and at the same time in our minds both of us were already on the mountain.
In spite of the bad weather during the biggest part of our ascent, already on the 4th day we had reached 7000 m altitude and had passed through the vertical ice serac overhanging out of the wall in several paces.
It was actually the key point of the route.
On the 5th day of the ascent (13th July) we had reached 7500 m.
Success seemed to be very close as all the main difficulties were already behind us.
There were still 300 m to climb on a simple steep slope till a col and then to go by ridge to the top.
But suddenly during the night the weather became very bad.
It was constantly snowing.
I was worried about the fact that we were just under a huge 45° angle snow slope.
It was the perfect place to get avalanches.
The place where our tent was standing could become a trap for us.
The first avalanche had hit us at 03.00 AM.
Our tent resisted but still we got slightly scared. We had decided to dress ourselves.
Then avalanches started falling every 15-20 minutes.
The situation became more than serious, we had to struggle to survive in those conditions.
We were afraid that our tent will finally be hit by the next avalanche and fall down.
This nightmare didn’t stop till the morning.
Then the snow was not falling that hard anymore and we got the possibility to dig in a bergschrund.
On that day it was out of question to go up, down or anywhere else at all.
On the next day (15 July) in the morning the sky was blue without any cloud but the huge slopes of Broad peak were heavily loaded with the fresh snow.
We had to go away from this spot.
After analysing the situation we had to take the only possible decision to traverse allthe slope to the right side in order to reach the classical route.
That could lead to dramatic consequences.
In another situation we would not even think to do such a thing, but we had no choice.
Falling from time to time into the waist-deep snow we had started our dangerous traverse.
Finally everything turned out good.
With “only “ a couple of avalanches on our way we had managed to reach the Camp 3 at 7100 m height.
We were alone.
We decided to have one more day of rest there and then continue our ascent.
The next day, 16th of July, several people had climbed to the Camp 3. Among them there were 3 members of our expedition.
Everyone had planned to continue the ascent the next day early in the morning. The weather forecast had promised a nice weather so it was just perfect to attack the peak.
Everything was going smoothly according to the plan.
Departure on the 17th of July at , difficult ascent in a deep snow till the col at 7800 m and then walking by the ridge till the summit.
Victor and I had reached the top of the summit at , just during the sunset.
It was an unforgettable scene. Can something be better than such a moment ?
At the same time two Spanish and one Portuguese had reached the top as well.
We had done our descent till the Camp 3 in the complete darkness, only using our headlamps.
Tired but happy we had reached the tents at 7100 m height round the midnight.
First of all it was a victory over ourselves. Alltherestwasnotthatimportant.
Characteritics of our Broad peak new route : 3000m, VI, WI 5, M6, 90 °.
But the expedition was not over yet.
We still had to climb two other eight thousand picks: Hidden peak (Gasherbrum-I) and Gasherbrum-II. It was two days walk from our Broad peak Base Camp.
On the 23rd of July our five-members team with two cooks arrived to the Base Camp of the both mountains at 5100 m.
As everyone was already well acclimatized during previous ascent we had nothing to wait for. Exceptmaybeforagoodweather.
Our next goal with Victor was a new route on the south-west face ofGasherbrum-I, in alpine style.
Victor and I were firmly determined to win and full of energy.
Our success on Broad peak gave us an additional impulse to accomplish something new.
The weather became good literally a couple of days after the departure of most climbers. Right at that moment when the weather conditions were perfect for the ascent many expeditions were assembling their staff and leaving the Base Camp.
We had left the Base Camp on 25th of July and started our ascent to the Hidden peak the next day early in the morning.
One could say it was a perfect ascent if there was no accident with a stone that fell into our tent during the night from 30th to 31st of July.
Ithappenedwhenweweresleeping, at6900 mheight.
Itwasamiraclethatwewerenotkilled. But it’s totally another story...
Victors’s head was severely cut and bleeding but happily the bone was not touched.
We were really lucky.
The damn stone could have caused much worse consequences.
I can only add that my partner showed outstanding courage by his decision to continue the ascent.
He had only to say: “I have to go back” and I would immediately stop the ascent without any hesitation.
Finally, tired but happy on the 1st August at 03.00 PM, we were standing on the top of the summit.
Moreover, we had the possibility to share our satisfaction of the victory not only among the two of us but also together with our friends Valery, Pavel and Elisabeth.
By pure coincidence our routes crossed at the 7800 m height and we had met.
None of us could have imagined that this would happen.
In the beginning we were descending the summit all together but after that our routes diverged.
Victor and I went to our tent at the 7200 m height while the others continued to descend to their camp.
The next time we had met each other again it was in the Base Camp two days later.
Everyone was happy.
And there was a reason for that. Valery Shamalo, Pavel Chochia and Elisabeth Revolehad climbed three eight thousand peaks.
Moreover, they had done it in less than a month’s time. Victor and I managed to climb Broad peak and Gasherbrum-Iby new routes in three weeks.
About the route to Gasherbrum-I.
Actually, the climbing itself starts from a bergschrund at the 5800 m height.
It mainly consists from ice and snow. Sometimes there are mixed sections (ice and rock).
Till the altitude of 7600 m, where our route meets the Yugoslavian one of the 1978 year, it is the new route.
General description of it: 2300 m, VI, WI 4, M5, 80°.
I would also like to add that four days after our return to the Base Camp we had tried to climb the 3rd peak that we had planned: Gasherbrum-II. But the weather and the general fatigue after the previous ascent (only four days had passed after it) didn’t let us a chance to succeed.
The expedition was finished at this point and we were going back down.
Each of us was taking with him something that he had acquired there.
But we were the only ones to know about that…
Sponsors of Valery Babanov : BASK, Grivel, Scarpa, Julbo, Beal.
Information Sponsor: RISK-online.
Valery Babanov (left) and Victor Afanasiev (right) after two new routes in Karakoram
In Broad peak Base camp with friends
An acclimatization at 7100m
Valery Babanov. Mixed climb on Broad peak new route
Valery Babanov. Climbing up on vertical serac at 7000m on the Broad peak new route
On the traverse at 7500m after two days of bad weather
Broad peak ridge at 7850m
The summit of Broad peak, 8047m in sunset. Photo: Miguel Angel Perez
Last meters to the Broad peak summit at 8047m
Valery Babanov (left) & Victor Afanasiev (left) on the summit of Broad peak
Broad peak New route
Gasherbrum I (Hidden peak) 8068m - our next goal
Valery Babanov. The first day of climbing on SW face new route on Gasherbrum - I
Bivouak on the SW face of Gasherbrum-I
View from the tent at 7200m on new route
Victor`s head was severely cut...but he could continue climb to the summit
Victor & Valery (right) on the summit of Gasherbrum-I, 8068m
New route on the SW face of Gasherbrum-I (Hidden peak), 8068m.