New Route on Latok III
Jun 29th 2011
June 25, a team led by Alexander Odintsov climbed a new route on the west face of Latok III (6949m). Odintsov and team members Alexey Lonchinskiy, Ivan Dozhdev and Eugeniy Dmitrenko began this expedition on June 10, establishing nine camps in their fifteen-day climb. Two days after reaching the summit, the team returned to base camp.
This climb caps an eleven year bid for the west face of Latok III. Prior to Odintsov's success, Latok III had only one route to its summit. This line ran up the peak's southwest ridgeline (ED+: VI 5.10 A2, 1800m) and was established by a Japanese team of three in 1979.
Odintsov first attempted Latok III in 2000 with Alexander Ruchkin, Yuri Koshelenko and Sergei Efimov, but retreated when rock fall broke Koshelenko's hands and an avalanche swept Efimov 400 meters down the mountain. When they found him, his legs were broken. "The wall surpassed our expectation," Odintsov said about the route in Alpinist 30. A year later, he returned with a new party, only to face tragedy. Three quarters of the way up, Igor Barikhin's rope was severed and he fell to his death.
Latok III's west face marks Odintsov's ninth climb in his project "Russian Way -- Big Walls of the World." This project began in 1995 with Peak 4810 (4810m), and has since included Ak-Su (5217m), the Troll Wall (1742m), Bhagirathi III (6454m), Great Trango Tower (6225m), Great Sail Peak (1617m), Jannu (7710m), Kyzyl Asker (5842m) and now Latok III. Odintsov has not yet identified the tenth climb of the project. Click here for an interview with Odintsov about his experience in the Latok area.