(aaj.americanalpineclub.org) By Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, from information supplied by Anna Piunova, mountain.ru
Ushba (4,710m), south pillar, Harakternik.
|Ushba from south. Northwest summit (4,694m, left) and Southeast (Main) summit (4,710m). Normal route to Northwest summit (Almer-Cockin, 1888, 4A) reaches gap between summits from far side. (1) Artsishevsiy, 1971, 5B. (2) Grigorenko-Prigoda, 1972, 5B. (3) Myshliaev, 1962, 5B. (4) Voloshanovskiy, 2010. (5) Monogarov, 1960, 5B. (6) Harakternik, 2011, 6A. (7) Kensitskiy, 1972, 5B. (8) Kustovskiy, 1962, 6B. Supplied by Anna Piunova|
The south face is ca 1,500m high. In early July the three Ukrainians first climbed 900m up easy rock (2-3) and glacial terrain, followed by 300m on the crest of the ridge to where things became difficult. About nine pitches (max 5b) led to the base of the pillar. The next three pitches gave largely free climbing, up to 6c, with short sections of A2 and A3 (skyhooks and Iron Hawks/birdbeaks). About four more pitches, up to 6c and A3, took them to an overhanging section. To this point they had followed the line climbed in 2010. The next 130m provided the crux, beginning with a 25m overhanging wall (A3). More 6b and aid took them to the top of the pillar.
On the upper section most ascents follow the right side of the final buttress, the Red Corner. These Ukrainians climbed the center in four fine pitches of 6a. They bivouacked on the final ridge and reached the summit at 8 a.m. on July 7. Starting down by the classic 1903 Heibling-Schulz Route (5A) on the southeast and east flanks, they found the snow too dangerous and bivouacked again, continuing their descent early next morning. Total time spent on the mountain was five days, and the route was named Harakternik (6A, 6c and A3). They had been lucky with the weather, which was still a bit wintry, being hampered only by a strong wind.