Kazakh Alpinist Plans to Climb South America’s Highest Peak

ASTANA – Maksut Zhumayev, Kazakhstan’s most prominent alpinist who has conquered the world’s 14 eight-thousanders without oxygen equipment, wants to continue his streak of victories this year.

Maksut Zhumayev, Kazakhstan’s most prominent alpinist

Maksut Zhumayev, Kazakhstan’s most prominent alpinist

“Climbing the highest point in South America, Aconcagua, is the plan. This peak is within my goal of the Seven Summits. It should be done in the winter, in January or February. There are still two mountains left in Australia and Indonesia, but they are not the toughest ones. Antarctica is also in the plans, but it is very expensive,” he said in an exclusive interview with “The Astana Times.”

Climbing with a colleague, Zhumayev indicated it will take two weeks to scale the peak. It will also take about 2-3 million tenge (US$5,541-8,312).

“If I have time, I will climb before the Universiade in 2017. If not, then by the international exhibition EXPO2017. It always comes back to finances; if I had the money, everything could be done within one year,” he said.

Climbing Aconcagua will be in honour of all people with disabilities who became handicapped from unfortunate events such as car crashes, Zhumayev said. The conquest will be dedicated in particular to Eugene Lyovkin, a young man whom doctors diagnosed would never walk again. After years of practice and hard work, however, he has able to stand.

The climb will be innovative. Unlike past events, the alpinists plan to stay in contact through social media such as Whatsapp, Periscope, Facebook and Instagram to keep followers up to date.

Zhumayev’s additional plans for 2016 are scaling Mont Blanc and Mount Elbrus, as well as some peaks in Antarctica. A very active runner, he also expects to participate in both major marathons in Astana and Almaty and all possible triathlon starts organised by the Kazakhstan Federation of Amateur Triathlon.

In previous years, Zhumayev climbed the majority of peaks on his first try, although reaching the summit of K-2, the “killer mountain,” required six attempts. Although K-2 is 239 metres lower than Mount Everest, scaling it is much more difficult and dangerous. By 2010, Everest was conquered 5,014 times; K-2, 302 times. Unfortunately, statistics show for every four climbers who survived the battle with the latter, one died.

After climbing his most difficult peakpike, Zhumayev needed a new goal. As a result, he became associated with the Kazakh Alpine Club, created three years ago in the image of the European groups. The club gathers people who want to live a healthy lifestyle.

“The higher the goal we set for ourselves, the more real it is to achieve something. The impossible is possible; I proved this to myself more than once,” he said.

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