Kazakh Alpinist Shares Adventures with New York Audience

AlpinistKazakh alpinist Maksut Zhumayev, whoclimbedMount McKinley, the highest point in North America, shared his impressions with his compatriots June 14at a meetingat the Kazakh Consulate Generalin New York City.

Zhumayev discussed what inspires climbers to conquer new heights, despite the difficulties of hiking as well as methods of preparation for new climbing. He also confirmed his affiliation withthe romantics, whose inner world is vividly expressed in the songs of Vladimir Vysotsky,who wrote “only mountains can be better than mountains.”According to him, every ascent requires careful preparation.

“Kazakhs making such achievements in the U.S. and conqueringnew heights are a great symbol for the successful development of our country and Kazakh-American cooperation. In particular, the ascent precedes a number of projects in the U.S., including performances of large musical groups from Kazakhstan. The first performance will take place June 30in prominent Carnegie Hall. So, we look forward to new successes and new meetings,”said Kazakh Consul General Raushan Yesbulatova.

Zhumayev flew to the U.S. May 22 to make his solo ascent, a climb alone and without companions, of Mount McKinley, or Denali,as it is called. Despite bad weather, he was able to climb 6,200 metres, June 8, and conquer the peak.

“We will flyto New York and from there to Anchorage, acity in Alaska, topurchase products there. Afterwards we will goto the town of Talkeetna. From there we will flyto the glacieron small planes. We will land on the glacier, disembark and begin a long transition to an advanced base and assault camp. Climbing will be very interesting. I haven’t done anything like this before. This will be a very long skis passage on the glacier,” Zhumayev said before climbing.

Zhumayev’s expedition was postponed for several days due to bad weather. On June 1, despite the bad weather he flew to the glacier.

“On the small plane we flew together with the pilot. Of course, I was afraid. Due to bad weather we flew above the clouds, then descended down, circlingover the airport trying to find a hole in the clouds to slip through the passes of the glacier. I’m glad I arrived safely, but a couple of gray hairs appeared on my head, and in general everything is fine,” he said. After landing Zhumayev immediately hit the road and for four hours rose to a trans-shipment point at a height of 2,400 metres.

Zhumayev safely overcame all subsequent segments. He said that the movement was complicated by bad weather and he had to drag a lot of his personal things behind him. During the ascent he began to collaborate with other climbers, who along with him rose to the top of Mount McKinley.

According to him, on average it should have taken from six to 10 hours to climb. There are places on the mountain where even the two experienced climbers could notdepart, so time should be very carefully chosen and it is necessary to climb only in good weather.

Zhumayev is famous for becoming the first Kazakh to conquer all of the world’s 14 highest peaks above 8,000 metres, including Mount Everest and K2, and only the 12th alpinist in the world to do so without the use of oxygen.

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