Piolet d'Or veteran plans record on Everest

Top Russian alpinist Valeriy Babanov wants to climb Everest this spring without artificial oxygen. If he succeeds in his project on the highest mountain in the world, the 59-year-old would be the oldest person to summit in this style.

The Russian mountain guide and mountaineer Valery Babanov In his long alpine career, he has climbed several eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen, mastered extreme climbs such as the northwest edge of Jannu (7710m) in alpine style and was the first to climb numerous routes. He was honored twice with the Piolet d'Or for the first ascent of Meru Central and for his new route on Nuptse East. Now the veteran is planning to set a record Everest:

I am 59 years old and plan to become the oldest mountaineer to climb the roof of the world without bottled oxygen. I've been preparing for this my whole life.

Valery Babanov
Valeriy Babanov is currently preparing for his Everest climb on Lobuche.
Valeriy Babanov is currently preparing for his Everest climb on Lobuche. Image: Valeriy Babanov

Everest expedition: acclimatization started

For his expedition, Valeriy Babanov got support from the renowned agency Seven Summit Treks. As they recently announced, the Russian is planning to climb the highest mountain in the world via the normal route on South Col. A few days ago, in preparation for Everest, he climbed Lobuche, a popular 6000-meter peak in the Khumbu Valley for acclimatization.

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Valeriy Babanov: 40 years of experience

In contrast to many other Everest aspirants, Valeriy Babanov has a wealth of mountaineering experience. The alpinist, who now lives in Chamonix, has climbed over 600 mountains over four decades.

He stood on the seven-thousanders of the Pamirs and the Tien Shan eight times. Two ascents took place in one day in high-speed “camp-to-camp” style: Korzhenevskaya Peak (7103m) and Lenin Peak (7134m).

Valeriy Babanov climbed six eight-thousanders, five of them without artificial oxygen. “In addition,” says the alpinist, “we climbed Broad Peak and Gasherbrum 1 using new routes.”

In addition, the award-winning alpinist's route book includes around 45 long and extremely difficult ascents in the Pamir Mountains, in Tien Shan, as well as in the Alps, Yosemite, Alaska and the Himalayas.

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Credits: Cover picture Valery Babanov

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