Winter voyage
(Alexander Ruchkin)

- Shamony (1935 m) -

     There is a valley Shamony on the hight 1035 m between the great Monblan Massife hight of which is 4807 m, and the Egui Ruzh Massife.This is a fantastic place from which the wonderful view on beautiful peaks of Alps can be seen. 12 rope stations on four slopes of the valley make  mountains easy accessible, and for skiers -vast untouched snow  on different hight and on different taste. Shamony - is one of those places, coming to which you want to stay for erternity there or to come  again and again.It has united ununited in this valley: a city fuss with plenty of  curious tourists and untouched deep nature.
     We arrived to Shamony thanks to Jan Clodt Marme, to the presedent of French Mountaineering Federation now. In summer winning the first and the second places on the Start   Championship which took place in Shamony, so Jan Clodt  invited us to the National guide school.
     There is no purpose to compose plans as life makes its alterations. We wanted to go on the northern Grande Joras wall, but snow has covered not only peaks, but  also all approaches, so it was difficult to make our way to them. Snow was growing on the streets roofs of houses and cars like as on yeast.Our actions were chained by 1.5 m snow, we have to be  satisfied with boring trainers. Tempting two-seated aparments with a shower and the delicious cookery can stop everyone.


-Oda to cheese and to wine -

     The French adore not only the tasty, but delicious food. France - is the only country in the  world where there are the Academy of cookery and the Academy of wines.
     Wines- the pride of France and its national property. An average French drinks 80 litres of wine and eats 22 kg of cheese a year. Athough "drinks" and "eats" words don't reproduce that  trembling French altitude to food. There are more then 400 sorts of cheese in France today. As  wine is the essential part of France as cheese. It is a dainties, the God's food without which the  cookery can't exist. Not one serious dinner or supper can't be prepared without cheese on a desert ( with a quantity of 7 sorts), saying nothing it is used in various hot meals. You can eat cheese, drink a glass of wine every day and can't be repeated. A wonderful country!!!
     Two teams with one day difference rushed on the eastern Grand Capucin wall (3838 m) at  the first interval of foul weather. This is a picturesque sheer peak-sattelit in the Monblane Massife,  and the one where you can climb not be afraid of blocking up with an avalanche. By the state of  snow in mountains the avalanche danger was maximum.


-The Ascent-

     We were going by logical  crack between two complicated routes "direct" and "water and gas on the each floor".Our friends from Ekaterinburg were climbing to the right of us on 100 m.  We had to hurry, we were informed 3 days later would be foul weather.
     3 days are not much time for an ascending  in winter.Short time and cold required the maximum property from climbers. 3 days later were given a bad weather forecast. After a not long approach by skis under a wall from a rope station, we have wear quickly and began to climb. For the first evening we had time to climb on one  rope.We have hung a platform- a wall tent and  have spent a night just on the wall. The second day of sheer wall and of a well crack have brought some more 3 ropes of a new route. The crack has brought us under a huge cornice from which a plate  stratumed as a vast shelf has sticked in a metre from a roof. The night-sleeping was exotic on that plate ina huge niche.
     Next morning we have spent almost a half a day to find an exit under the cornice. And " pendulums were swinging" -but splits were  deaf, and  à cornice was huge, so that legs didn't  touched walls. With the help of sky-hooks ( small hooks for going on micro-beley) and spits got over the cornice. This is a fly over the border of a precipice. There is one wrong action and you are flying (of course on a rope).
     You ought to get over everything again. The high concentration of effort, actions are slow and it seems everything is standing still. It is continueing for 10 minutes, but by vertical. There is a crack at last where we can organize a normal insurance and to take a rest. But the route doesn't to make surprises. Spare climbing at -27 °C,  in  huge boots and dressed as a cabbage - isn't an easy job. The foul weather will not wait. There is a punctual weather forecast in France. With all equipment of 10 kg of weight and hung on the belt, I climbed into a crack of a man width and on a friction as a lizard was moving up.With hard I have climbed out of it on a small "shelf" where we have met our third night. A picturesque sunrise and not worse clouds on the horizon prevented in the evening  the weathwer has spoiled. As somehow we moving fast - 3 ropes a day - we couldn't  have time to climb to a peak. It was snowing much.It was staied 1.5 rope. But to climb was dangerous. We remained it till the morning. There was the 4th night at the wall.
     In the morning a little calm let us climb at the top, but we couldn't see beauties there. Frog and snow have made us to climb down. The strong wind was delaying us on the approach down and swinging us on various directions. A tent like a sall was swinging by the wind trying to fly into the sky.
     Having climbed down the top we have got lost our way in a valley. Deep fog, strong wind, snow have been testing us for three days on our way back. We have been looking for a way back to the rope road for three days.Having stand in the morning we have been dressing, going to nowhere on glaciers till the very evening until darkness for three days. We were spending nights sleeping- and then - from very beginning. We have been fighting for life without food for three days. Our sleeping bags and down jackets turned into small frozen lumps and didn't warm. To the end of the third day as a mirage, we have seen the station. Without any energy, with hard, till the belt of snow we,  as ships cleaving white frozen waves, have reached alive to the civilization, to people.
     We were met as heroes. Everybody tried to photograph, to make a video, to take the autograph. All covered with snow, with frosted faces we became sights. Having come down the town we came to know there was sent an expedition to look for us from the Italy side today. It is good have finished well.
     A great quatity of snow, the great avalanche danger didn't let no one team to climb up. Two Russian teams were the only made not only an ascent but two new routes with beautiful names "Winter voyage" and "Russian winter".
     Every year in the end of February the French Federation of Mountaineering awards the prize "A golden ice-cutter" for the best ascent of a year. This is a recognition of all world mountaineer's achievments. It is a show and à holiday. This year two Austrians were awardedby this reward for the ascend on Himalaya Shagar(Indian Himalaya). It is pleasant there were two Russian mountaineers on Vagiratky and on Changbeng among all nominantes. Last year "The Golden Ice-cutter" was given to Russian mountaineers from Ekaterinburg for their problem wall Makala (Himalaya).
     At the moment Russian mountaineers are known about themselves by serious ascends, despite of financial difficulties. The Russian mountaineers achivments confirms Russia is still a power State with strong potential possibilities.
     Thanks to the French Mountaineering Federation, to the Mountaineering Federation of the c. Omsk and its departament and also to the financial support of organizations "The Siberian Way", "Omsk-avia", "The Vertical World", "STREGOR", the Omsk team could take part in the Russian Mountaineering Championship and to be on the Second International Mountaineers Meeting.