In my imagination Siberia was flat, cold and snowy: I never thought I would climb there.
Expedition / Bigwall
The Red Corner, From Zero to Hero, Wake up in Siberia, Sketchy Django
The Commander, The General, The Monk
Before setting off we were really worried about the bears, but in reality, once we reached base camp, we realised that we would have to deal with an entirely different problem: mosquitoes, which made our stay hell. We had never seen so many in our whole life.
The idea of visiting Siberia came to us one evening whilst sitting at a bar, when during a meeting of the The North Face team, we started imagining what was the best way to go climbing together. We wanted to explore somewhere in the middle of nowhere, to open new routes and live an unusual experience. Finding a compromise, did not seem simple at the beginning: each one of us had something different in mind; but as soon as Iker and Eneko laid out their photos of three rock faces in Siberia, unanimity prevailed:
they looked magnificent and untouched and we were curious about the country they were in, in our imagination Siberia was a cold and flat land, we would have never thought it possible to climb there.
At the beginning of July, after many days of travelling, and a few bureaucratic problems, we finally reached the destination. We set up base camp near a lake, just a few hundred metres from the rock faces; the location was amazing, if it hadn’t been for all those mosquitoes: I have never seen so many in my life. Those annoying insects really tested us, transforming our three weeks’ stay into a nightmare.
The rock faces were practically untouched, before that they had only been explored by a group of Australians: the perfect play ground for our objective, and that is to open lines which would appear logical, in the cleanest style possible, using almost exclusively mobile protection and using bolts or pegs only when we couldn’t do otherwise.
During those weeks, when the weather conditions allowed us to, we opened and freed a few routes, the majority in one single push, following the most evident lines and mainly using mobile protections; the only exception was on the more difficult route, which we attempted using fixed ropes, placing, even by hand, five bolts.
The Red Corner (7c+, 450m), The Commander, From Zero to Hero (7a, 490m), The General, Wake up in Siberia (6b, 240m), The General, Sketchy Django (6a+, 400m), The Monk