Russian Expedition Succeeds on West Face of K2 A Russian Expedition team has succeeded in climbing a direct line up the west face of K2 (8611m), in the process completing the first independent new line on the world´s second highest mountain since 1986. Over a 2 month period, the 16 strong, highly experienced Russian team climbed the west face via rotating groups of 4 climbers, fixing ropes and overall establishing 7 camps on the wall. Even though members spent many days in the famous ´Death Zone´, the team did not use any supplementary oxygen during their ascent.

The line of ascent taken by the Russian Expedition with the 7 camps marked.

The first pair of climbers, Andrew Mariev & Vadim Popovich(team leader), reached the summit on the 21st August with 7 other members successfully reaching the top on the 22nd. You can find a short report on the ascent at climbing.com or if you want a more detailed view of the expedition you can read the expedition chronicle at the Russian K2 official website New Big Walls Climbed in Pakistan In opposition to the large Russian Expedition above, a small Belgian-Polish team successfully climbed 3 new lines on 3 separate big walls in the Charakusa Valley in Pakistan. The 2 biggest routes required completely opposite styles – one a big-wall siege over 16 days, the other a 37 hour single push attempt. The 16 day push (incl. 7 days stuck in a portaledge during a storm) resulted in a f7c / E7 1200m route of which all but 15 feet (icy-crack) were free-climbed. The route was named Badal and the team used only eight pitons and 12 bolts of which only one was used to protect free climbing. The second route, a 37 hour round-trip resulted in Ledgeway to Heaven (28 pitches, f7c / E7, 1300m), a route that ascended splitter granite cracks with perfect ledge belays on a 3,250 foot spire, situated on the west ridge of K7.The final route was a much shorter 400m E3 named the Ski Track situated on Iqbal Wall. You can read a full account of the climbs and the potential for new routes in the Charakusa valley by Nicolas Favresse on the Alpinist website

Ledgeway to Heaven (E7, 28 pitches, 1300m) Photo Adam Pustelnik

You can find out more information on the Belgian Polish trip at Nicolas Favresse´s official website The Charakua valley is currently the place to be with bug name alpinists including Steve House, Vince Anderson, Marko Prezelj and Kelly Cordes all in the valley looking at objectives. You can read a full account of the going-ons so far at Alpinist and at the Patagonia weblog, thecleanestline.com Related: Belgian Team repeat Riders on the Storm in Patagonia>>