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Russian alpinists delay eight thousander climb due to organization issues

February 26, 2014, 13:47 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG
Russian alpinists were planning to climb the world’s fourth tallest eight-kilometer peak in the Himalayan Lhotse range
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© EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA

YEKATERINBURG, February 26. /ITAR-TASS/. A team of Russian alpinists has delayed an attempt to traverse the legendary 21st century route in the Himalayan Lhotse range to the world’s fourth tallest eight-kilometer peak, earlier scheduled for March. Traverse is the term climbers use to describe consequent mountaineering of two or more summits.

One of the team members, five-fold conqueror of the Everest, Yevgeny Vinogradsky, blamed the postponement on organization issues, but said “preparations continue”. Vinogradsky is going to the Himalayas with the head of the expedition to scout the route one more time in May, when many alpinists will be challenging the eight-kilometer peak. The team is going to climb Island Peak of slightly more than 6 kilometres high located in front of the three Lhotse peaks to take photos and examine conditions.

Besides, in autumn Russian mountaineers are going to climb the eight-kilometer peak Manaslu, part of the Mansiri-Himal range in north-central Nepal that Vinogradsky attempted to climb previously but failed. He added after the previous lull in enthusiasm over mountaineering adventures the team was now experiencing an influx of young people, which “cannot but please”.

There are just 14 eight-kilometer high mountain peaks in the world situated only in two mountain ranges - the Himalayas and the Karakorum. Each is a huge range with several peaks. The Lhotse range has the main 8,501-meter summit. The two others are Lhotse Middle (8,414) and Lhotse Shar (8,386). Lhotse Middle remained the world’s highest unclimbed summit until May 23, 2001, when Russian alpinists were the first to scale the peak and thereby closed the history of conquest of the Himalayas.

According to the chairman of mountaineering federation of Sverdlov Region in the Urals Mikhail Morozov, all independent ascents to the summit are almost excluded because of steep walls and very rugged terrain. Until recently the peak was believed to be conquerable only by reaching the Lhotse main summit or Lhotse Shar and then making a traverse through the more than several kilometers-long and extremely jagged ridge. Ascent to the main peak and Lhotse Shar alone is a task of special expedition. The additional traverse that requires several days of work at altitudes of 8,300 metres above the sea level and more kept Lhotse Middle unclimbed for a long time, whereas almost all challenging ridges and walls on all other eight-kilometer peaks were conquered.

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