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International expedition to K2 to arrive in Almaty on September 2

01 september 2011, 12:05
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Maksut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov on top of K2. ©National Geographic\Maxut Zhumayev
Maksut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov on top of K2. ©National Geographic\Maxut Zhumayev
International expedition that ascended K2 on August 23 will arrive in Almaty on September 2 at 8:30 p.m. local time, Kazakstan alpinist Maksut Zhumayev’s wife Olga told Tengrinews.kz.

According to her, all six alpinists: Kazakhstan climbers Maksut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov, Gerlinda Kaltenbrunner from Austria, Ralf Dujmovits from Germany, Darek Zalusky from Poland and Argentinean Tommy Heinrich will arive to Almaty. After the arrival they will fly to their home countries. Earlier Zhumayev said that the sportsmen were planning to separate in Kyrgyzstan.

"It turned out that their plans changed and instead of separating in Kyrgyzstan, they will first go to Urumqi, then Almaty. Maksut and Vassiliy will certainly stay here and the rest of them will fly to their home countries possibly on the same day,” Olga said.

Participants of the expedition are still processing their last trip to Chogori. “We reached our advance camp. It is now safe. We receive calls and congratulations from our friends and families. Many thanks to Kazakhstan Prime-Minister Karim Massimov for his congratulations. Ralf Dujmovits is sending his “respect” to him,” Zhumayev said on August 25.

“We still don’t understand what we have done. When I start thinking about it, tears come up. We have been trying to reach it for 11 years and have finally made it. Now we have to process it somehow,” Zhumayev added. He also said that the expedition turned out to be between life and death during the final trip: “When we got to the first camp during out final ascent, our most experienced alpinist Ralf Dujmovits from Germany said that snow is too dangerous to go any further. He had a serious “man-to-man” talk with his wife Gerlinda Kaltenbrunner. But she insisted that she trusted our experience and would "go on with Kazakhs". Two hours later after Ralf and Tommy went down the landslide indeed covered us. Luckily we were positioned and roped one after another. Vassiliy Pivtsov was positioned first and he faced the attack and we all managed to hold up. The landslide failed to through us off the slope.”

According to the climbers, the victory over landslide gave alpinists additional strength and a surge of inspiration. “We were thinking about stopping and going back, when there was not much left to the top and we were walking breast-deep in snow. But we didn’t give up. We managed to reach the top,” Zhumayev said.

K2 is the most northern 8-thousander in the world. It is 8,611 meters high. It is located at the border of China and Pakistan. The alpinists ascended it from the northern Chinese side. This route is considered the most difficult and dangerous. The experts also note that Chogori is challenged by few alpinists only, while Everest is ascended by 600 sportsmen a year. Several expeditions tried to ascend K2 this year, but nobody managed to reach the top, except for Zhumayev, Pivtsov, Kaltenbrunner and Zalusky.

Argentinean photographer Tommy Heinrich and Ralf Dujmovits, who withdrew from the final ascent, spent an excellent time in the base camp. “Thanks to Tommy, our sport expedition became an ecological one as well. Tommy, Ralf and Kyrgyzs took down around 400 kg of garbage that was left on the mount by previous expeditions. Our tents in Italian base camp, unfortunately, also turned into garbage after they were hit by a rockfall. But this is not important anymore. We are going back home to our families, wives and children, who are waiting for us. This is a real drive!” Zhumayev added.

The alpinists have now ascended all 14 8-thousanders of the world. Only 25 people in the world can be proud of such achievement. Gerlinda Kaltenbrunner became the first woman in the world who ascended all the highest mountains of the world without bottled oxygen.

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