5 Crazy Russian Climbers
Russia has provided the climbing world with a number of entertaining and amazingly crazy climbers. Not only have they made many contributions to the sports of rock and mountain climbing, they have given the world hours of "Holy Sh*t!" moments to enjoy, especially these 5 crazy Russian climbers.
- The Abalakov Brothers. Vitaly and Yevgeniy were pioneering mountaineers who have enhanced the sport for us all. Vitaly made the first Soviet ascent of Lenin Peak in 1934 and was accused of being a German spy in addition to leaning towards Western climbing styles. He also invented some modern climbing devices used today including camming devices. Yevgeniy is known for making the first ascent of Stalin Peak, at 7,495 meters the highest point in the Soviet Union. He was also a sculptor and went to the front at the beginning of the Soviet-German war.
- Valery Babanov. Since 1980 this crazy Russian climber has climbed more than 600 ascents. He is know for climbing a high grade of difficulty and high altitude (7,000+meters) climbing. He has many first ascents under his belt in addition to speed records and various climbing awards. He boasts two high-speed ascents of over 7,000 meters - Korzhenevskoy peak at 7,108m and Lenin peak at 7,134 meters - each in a day!.
- Anatoli Boukreev. I first learned of Anatoli Boukreev in Jon Krakouer's "Into Thin Air," in which he rescued a number of climbers on the disastrous day of May 10, 1996 on Everest. But, he is also known for making 18 successful ascents on peaks above 8,000 meters, seven of them without supplemental oxygen. Boukreev was sadly lost in an avalanche when attempting the south face Annapurna in late 1997.
- Sergey Kofanov. Born in 1978, Kofanov is the youngest of these crazy Russian climbers and, when he was 28, he was the youngest Russian to summit Everest. He was also the youngest Russian to finish the '7 Summits' - the highest peaks on all seven continents. He has already won multiple awards and accolades from the climbing community and took part in some crazy rescues. I am sure we will continue to see some awesome ascents from this Russian climber.
- Alexander Ruchkin. This crazy climber is a member of the Top 10 mountaineers in Russia. He has been climbing things since 1985 and has made more than 200 summer and winter ascents including Jannu's north face in 2004, in which the Russian team was awarded the Piolet d'Or.