Yakutia: Climbing on the Banks of the Lena

Leaving open new routes to traditional climbing in Eastern Siberia?

This is the project that have achieved Thibault Clement, Virgil, Theo and Alizee starting 1 month Yakutia region. A project carried by a common passion, which required no less than 8 months of preparation. Check out their story.

Act 1 - Elanka, the bank of a thousand wonders

Once there, we spent a few days with the Federation of Climbing and Mountaineering local. The opportunity to share stories about our best corners of climbing and exchange with local, teach climbing in a local school and organize 20 days of autonomy to come.

6-hour drive later we arrive to our base camp, 20km from the first house. We sat on the edge of the water and begins to prepare our business for the next days climbing!

After 2 days of rain, we're ready to face that for which we came! Virgil weapon of all cams, and attack the traditional climbing a very beautiful and very pure line, 35 meters high, the rock pretty good and sandy. Meanwhile, Theo Alizee and equip the pillar lines. This will give two good ways, something in the 6a and something in the 6c.

On the 2nd day take the rope I installed a relay to turn over the crack, which will eventually become a nice way school for traditional climbing. We try hard line, and it is estimated to be worth to equip the premises be difficult seekers routes (something like 7b, on micro-strips brittle).

The 7th day the Yakut of the federation to join us, the camp fills up fast! Quickly the fire is lit, and scrumptious meals will succeed in huge pots of cast iron. . One evening, after dessert, and to our astonishment, our hosts prepare pork tournedos on fire, which then accompany multiple toasts of vodka to Franco-Yakut friendship. We find incredible tricks to decline the latest glasses, and we still lucid sleep to be fresh the next day!

The local attack without hesitation to our ways, most often by climbing roping. Although they break their teeth in the technical movements, even 6a, they love, and they are very happy that the industry expands. Young (Vika, Tima, Sasha) we trust that very few people in the Federation is entitled to open new routes, the site and the activity actually suffer.

Act 2 - The Pillars of the Lost World

We concur Bottomai, a typical Siberian village to get to the foot of the columns. The first two days we see the potential of climbing lines, study the structure of the rock and the column structure. This is a very important time of the vertical adventure and openness in traditional climbing. Knowing the rock reputation, we mainly look for lines of cracks, as clean as possible in areas with healthy color. There was this time two columns with climbing we seem possible. They are 100 meters high, approximately.

After a few days of rain Virgil longer in place (this is the spirit of youth). Alizee the will of his first attempts. Clement and I were sharing the views and framing work to film the best of all the festivities. He launched the onslaught of the first tower, which is part of the "Pyramid". The approach is quite short, this tower is a first in the sector. The slopes that serve as bases for towers are composed of scree covered with 20 cm of moss and grass.

Climbing is easy, but very delicate. Every time he moves a foot or a hand, the part of the stone with which it was in contact crumbles and falls. During its evolution, catches seem to hold that pressure phenomenon. The real problem lies in its "protection" (in the jargon of the climber), that is to say in the points he makes to ensure gradually as it rises. The pitonnage is random enough: once on the three stone cracks and falls in small slabs, one in three inner layer appears homogenous and too compact for the peak makes it a path. Sometimes the peak sinks properly by shaking the entire round, and he wonders about its reliability in case of fall ... It progresses slowly, but surely, in a wave crack open, earthy and very compact. It arrives in a small niche, under an overhang, about 15 meters above the ground. There he must pass 5 meters left in an even worse pebble sadly crackling and improtégeable. Yet just 10 meters above starts a nice crack that lines the entire column to the top, and seems climbable in 2 or 3 lengths. After 10 minutes of reflection, he decided that the danger is too big, and not too delicate. It useful two peaks (Petzl) and a cord (Beal) to descend safely by retrieving nuts and other peaks of ascent. This first experience is rather alarming, it seems that the first 20 meters of each column will prohibit climbing, forcing the climber to move forward in a delicate rock and random, with no viable protection.

The next day we set out again to attack the columns climbing and highline. The installation takes us about 3 hours. It will develop between 30 and 70 meters of static ropes on each side of the highline, to surround huge headlands. Safety is paramount for me, because I am responsible for what happens above, once installed highline.
lucky we smiled when I get on the highline for the first tests, a French couple fate groves providentially! They are passing the day, and a drone at hand. They accept with great pleasure to make us some pictures. Clement, who looks forward to the "golden hours" explodes in turn. The mission "highline" is a success. And we sign at that moment an original first: the first highline on the Pillars of the Lena, on natural anchors. And by extension ... the first highline Yakutia. The premises are impressed, and we congratulate.

comes the day of departure, we will return the "inhabited" side of the Lena, leaving with emotion the wonderful Lost World, which we have transcended both. We joined Yakutsk with our friend Sasha, who came especially for: 9
help us go home. The last days there will be composed of press conferences, interviews (both local to our film, that we for the articles of local newspapers) of storage space, souvenir shopping, tours, etc.

After a month of adventure Yakut land and having forged friendships inter-cultural very strong, we leave Yakutia to find our sweet France, and yet still tell and this wonderful adventure, which allowed develop climbing in a region where the verticality is a forgotten secret and a slender dream ...