The Most Brave 2021

A short story about the events from the world of the Ural mountaineering - the festival "The Most Brave 2021", which on November 20-21, 2021 for the eighth time gathered all those who are not indifferent to drytooling and mixed climbing on the rocks of the Sverdlovsk region.

"The cyclones began to check the clock with the dates of the Tolya competitions", - remembering the spring championship of the Sverdlovsk region in the rock class in the rain, I thought, looking at the heavy leaden sky above my head. According to the forecast, a snowy apocalypse was promised for the weekend. On the one hand, it was bad, on the other hand, this provided a sharp jump in temperature towards the level near zero, which could not but rejoice my body, which had already forgotten the Far Eastern cold.

To get to the place a day earlier than the start, on November 19, at the Yekaterinburg railway station at 11:39, I got on the train and got off at the Verkhne-Neyvinsk station. In an attempt to find a bus stop for a summer cottage, she attempted to enter a closed village. For some reason, local law enforcement officers immediately believed that I was not a spy, looking at a dirty, leaky down jacket and two backpacks behind my back and did not knit, pointing in the right direction. Of course, the bus to Sady in November didn't want to run anymore, so I called a taxi.

A familiar road. In April she trampled her down to "Seven", or "Seven Brothers". The searched for this time "Three Sisters" are in the neighborhood. Only now is winter silence and crunchy snow underfoot. The gray tone, like a fog, enveloped the pine forests that surrounded the deserted dacha cooperative - the whole picture as a whole caused a feeling of unprecedented inspiration in my soul. Because all around was such a deep and dear to the eye hopelessness. I knew that these hectares stretch for tens of kilometers in both directions - I saw them from the top of the remnants six months ago. I knew that gloomy factory chimneys and silhouettes of the same type of high-rise buildings were sticking out somewhere very far away. But this is far away, between me and them this abyss from the empty November forest. For some reason, I recalled the Khabarovsk Territory, looking at this ..



The organizers looked as if they had just crawled out of the trench after three days of continuous hostilities: faces covered in soot, in their eyes wild determination mixed with terrible fatigue, their tongues twisted a little, but confident steps. In order not to get exhausted at all, preparing 34 qualifying routes and 3 final, they periodically took a rest, sawing wood and dragging lumps to the fire. It seemed that these people no longer belong to civilization.

Suddenly, a female figure appeared in the company of three heroes. "Zhenya, right?", - I heard a friendly voice, - "Very nice, Katya!" Looking at the size of the log that Ekaterina Repina was pulling on her shoulder without any external stress, I remembered an anecdote.

In general, at that moment I began to guess who will take the first line among the women who are great. And as it turned out, she was not mistaken. In the remaining couple of hours of short daylight hours, I ran through the massif, taking a few pictures and feeling the rocks. A thin ice crust covered the relief, and snow fell on small shelves and crevices, making the granite much more slippery than a year ago.

Half an hour behind the Macbook by the fire and the material has been sent. Now all that was left was to join the procedure of survival in the cold forest: take something on the chest for courage and intelligence, throw a dozen jackets (the Ural term for "dumplings") from the cauldron into the stomach, rub with a neighbor on a plate and a mug of some winter Yerydag six and start organizing a dwelling, or rather assembling a tent with a stove.

A couple of hours later, I folded my bones into two sleeping bags and turned off - the most difficult day of filming was ahead.



I woke up to the cheerful conversations of the participants who came out of nowhere into reality.

Noticed a change. The iceclimbers regiment has clearly arrived. In 2020, the performance at qualifications was more like a locksmith (the sounds of knocking hammers echoed through the surrounding pine forests), which, in general, is not surprising given the near-zero temperatures. The bulk used aider for what in vain, hammering fifa on the most impossible in the local granite outliers. Last weekend, the owners of the ice tools and the crampons came, probably from half of Russia (56 people from Yekaterinburg, Samara, Moscow, Irkutsk, Perm, Barnaul). Their graceful dances on an icy rock, coupled with the snow-white winter landscapes of the Urals, pleasantly excited my sense of beauty.

The shooting conditions were definitely depressing: hard white overexposure, wet lenses, foggy glasses. But I hunted non-stop on the marathon field all 6 hours from 11 to 17. By the way, I acted as the official photographer of "The Most Done" for the second year in a row, and tried to work on the mistakes. In 2020, I noticed that the frames were mainly attended by either those who climbed beautifully and a lot, or those who dressed in bright clothes. Some poor fellows were left without a single picture as a keepsake. Therefore, now I meticulously memorized who and in what quantities I was shooting in order to maximize coverage and please every participant.

At the end of the first day and as a result of the fact that some could not stay for the second, the following list of finalists was formed:

1. Mukhametzyanov Ratmir (268)

2. Kovalenko Vitaly (193)

3. Glazunov Evgeniy (168)

4. Akhunov Ruslan (153)

5. Baltabaev Evgeniy (137)

6. Tkach Nikolay (136)

7. Gaidamako Kirill (128)

8. Skotnikov Dmitry (115)

9. Balakin Maxim (108)


1. Repina Ekaterina (179)

2. Ovchenkova Alexandra (109)

3. Samofeeva Anna (81)

4. Penkina Polina (79)

5. Asipchuk Alexandra (71)

6. Skotnikova Marina (60)

7. Suranova Svetlana (58)

Day 2. FINAL

Not everyone survived to the second day in good health. The reason for this was undoubtedly the coronavirus, or the midnight disco around the fire. It's hard to say for sure without a PCR test. But we untimely lost Nicholas in the ranks of the fighters for the title of the Main Well done. After watching the tracks, the girls also had a shortage: probably the number of cornices on the lines and the height of the directors' imagination played a certain role in this. The point is that the second part of the famous "Vertical limit" could be filmed at the festival site. In the program for passing the route number 3, there was a jump from a cliff across an abyss with hacking tools into a log. The elements of tree climbing to the delight of the participants, I think, were inspired by the arborist everyday life of the organizers and brought some zest to the overall plot.

The first guy in the grotto of the second final route. At the start, the undisputed leader of the competition in terms of qualification results. Suddenly the sound of a body falling to the ground. The collective “Aaaaaah!” Rang out, as if in front of everyone’s eyes the multiple and reigning champion of Russia, climbing the 8b thread, had just figured out - there was a pause. "I'm fine," came from below. "Well, in general, you can continue, you haven't loaded the rope!", - said one of the judges. Ratmir saddled the rock again, throwing to the belayer: "Don't belay!" The crowd laughed, and the fighter's ice tool refused to continue the battle and was tightly wedged in the hole.

For a long time, for a short time, "Thank God, it's over," Anatoly Syshikov gave out, finally exhaling, and began to distribute the goods prepared by the sponsors.

In the hot confrontation of adherents of different directions of mountaineering inactivity, climbers again won the victory among men. Looking at Ruslan Akhunov in the rocks under the snow was not a sight for the faint of heart. For women, according to points, only the first place was determined, the rest were decomposed according to the results of qualification - everyone had difficulties in the same areas.

Results among men: 

1. Akhunov Ruslan (Yekaterinburg)

2. Kovalenko Vitaly (Yekaterinburg)

3. Mukhametzyanov Ratmir (Tyumen)


Results among women:

1. Repina Ekaterina (Yekaterinburg)

2. Ovchenkova Alexandra (Moscow)

3. Penkina Polina (Yekaterinburg)

After the awarding ceremony in the grotto, hugging the surviving participants goodbye and digging up the found belongings with equipment from a kilogram of freshly fallen snow, we dragged tons of wet ropes and belongings to the cars. Ahead awaited a noticeable track with dozens of accidents, a cat Plumber, bored at home alone, and a return plane to the Caucasus.


Thanks for the titanic work in organizing this lawlessness to Anatoly Syshchikov, Vitaly Kovalenko, Evgenia Tsepilova, Nikolai Tkach, Ekaterina Repina.


To sponsors for inspiring people to fight for prizes: Sportmarathon, Vento, Remera, Stenolaz, Arboexpress


Participants - for emotions, energy and love for their work, which infects more than any coronavirus!


All photos from the festival can be viewed here:

Or download it here (the link is valid for 2 weeks):