Night in a tent on the top of Belukha, or Abalakov's traverse 4A "pass Delone - peak Delone - Belukha east"

Due to the fact that the border administration of the Altai Republic in the summer of 2020 demonstrated to the entire mountaineering community its desire for mountaineering, which was expressed in a very tangible result: the guardians of the law were able to overcome the Delone pass and settle right on the Mensu glacier directly at the state border and the continuation of the classic and the easiest route for climbing Vostochnaya Belukha from Akkem - I decided to share my memories and photos of 2018 about the passage of Abalakov's route 4A traverse "Delone pass - Delone peak - Belukha East". After all, this line now is the lightest of the guaranteed available in the season.

Reading this story, you should understand that the condition of the route changes very much within the framework of even one summer month.

A little about the participants of the ascent.


Our pair of two was a heterosexual coalition of two acting guides. At that time, I was a beginner guide and managed to visit the top of the Mountain 4 times during a small part of the summer, while my partner was undoubtedly the most experienced main guide on the battlefields of the highest point of Siberia - in narrow circles he was called "V* 99 Belukh" (now the number of his successful ascents for a long time already exceeded a hundred). Meanwhile, he never visited the lines that are not usually used for lifting commercial groups, so he readily supported my ardent desire to traverse.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that by the time the events about which the narration began, I had absolutely no experience in official Russian mountaineering: there was no category, a book, there was not even a badge. The only thing that I managed to accomplish in this direction after moving to the capital of the Far East was to receive a certificate of the completed course of initial training NP-1, NP-2 in the Vladivostok school of Alexander Ishchenko. She skipped the final exam - she was chopped up in the championship of the Primorsky Territory in sports tourism. From the unofficial: two years earlier she climbed into the black one to another Altai peak - Aktru along the route 2A / 2B and appeared in 2015 in an attempt to storm the BAM peak on Kodar.

V*, despite all his Belukha background, was not a climber. Not documentary, not figurative. At least he did not admit this either to himself or to others. But this was replenished a hundredfold by his empirical experience, amazing intuition, physical data, sharp mind and sense of humor. (Yes, I think the Mountains also appreciate a sense of humor.)

To train before the traverse, we ran a 30-kilometer route from the base near Lake Akkem through the Karachik pass in a day and returned through the Yarlu valley.

By the way, the observation of the training run through Karachik, which amazed me to the depths of my soul: the ascent to the pass tore to pieces my template of the usual perception of the two peaks of Belukha from the side of Akkem. The template was called "East - Pyramid, West - Hill". From this side, everything turned out to be exactly the opposite - mirrored. A new sacred tourist route for seekers of mysticism began to suggest itself, because even I could not believe my eyes. See for yourself: 

We didn't want the gamble will turn into a completely unhealthy adventure, thats why appropriate weather forecast was meticulously selected. We even managed to go down and see the beginning of the route to the first key. What a coincidence: then no one walks, then everything at once! We learned that on the same dates with us the traverse "Delone pass - Delone peak" was planned to be done by a sports group of tourists.

Day X. 24 August 2018

I forgot to write about my main desire, which greatly influenced the plan for the future ascent. Since the first visit to the summit in June, I have longed to put up a tent and spend the night right on top of this beautiful Mountain. The idea haunted me and I haunted others and my future partner - after a while he gave up and agreed. That is why we did not leave Tomsk sites early that day.


Almost all of them climbed in a bundle in parallel (in crampons, 1 instrument for each. During exploration, they used "halves", but came to the conclusion that this was inconvenient, because two ropes too often and strongly interfered with the movement by being very clinging to the terrain , therefore, during the ascent, they were replaced by one single). On the route, loops and ice screws were used for insurance. I would also advise you to take anchors - we simply did not have them. Climbing is not difficult, maximum II-III category. The main difficulty was mixed - it was he who was on the keys. The keys are simple and short: these are two places on the ridge up to Delone (1 - almost immediately after the place for tents, 2 - takeoff on a large depression of the ridge), and one place near the exit of the ridge to Belukha.

You can set up tents on the route approximately in the center of the ridge along the route to the Delaunay peak (this is exactly what the group of tourists did) - the place was noted in the first photo.


Time of passage in our conditions:
from the Delone pass to the place for tents 1.5-2 hours,
from the place for tents to the top of the Delaunay peak - 3.5 hours,
from the top of Delone to the top of Belukha - 2.5 hours.
Total: from the Delone pass to the Belukha summit - about 8 hours, we descended the next morning according to the classics, so I find it difficult to say anything about the route in the opposite direction.


Photos from the route:

There are no photos of the keys. At the top of Delone, we were covered with a cloud, so I don’t post pictures from there - they are of no value.


A little was clarified already on the descent from the Delone peak closer to the center of the saddle. There were huge and very landscape cornices, in a couple of places the crest became a sharp knife with double-sided blows. In general, there was no technical difficulty in this area, rather psychological, because, carefully traversing the snow ridge without the possibility of organizing a belay, one could see the Akkem wall in all its splendor under one's feet.

I will not forget the landscape at sunset until the end of my days. I had never seen such beauty in my life, and since there was no longer an opportunity to shoot, I remembered. A bloody-scarlet huge solar disk hung over the Crown of Altai on the right and looked out like an eye of Sauron through the half-darkness of a lost cloud. Everything on the left side of the ridge was colored with deep purple colors of such depth that the brain felt ecstasy.


At the top of Belukha we were already in the beginning of dusk. The place for the tent was trampled and cut down. When we had almost gone to sleep, a strange sound appeared outside. I felt really creepy (even on the route for the whole day I had never experienced anything like this), because the sound was very similar to human steps in cats around our shelter. The problem was that we knew exactly where all the people in the Gora region were and what their plans were - no one could be here, and no one answered questions. I could not leave this inexplicable phenomenon undisclosed and was about to look out of the tent, but here the stumbling block and the wall that prevented me from realizing my plan was my partner, who, by coincidence, was closer to the exit. "I won't let you go! Point." So the mystery remained a mystery to me.

In the morning, at dawn, the first commercial group at the top, watched with amazement near the final point of their destination our tent, in which breakfast' tea was boiling in Jetboil at that moment. The weather was changing rapidly - it was necessary to hurry - descended already in milk.


P.S. All events and characters are fictional, the last photo is falsified. Just like thousands of other people, we have never violated any just laws of our country and, of course, have never been to the Eastern Belukha peak, which has been lonely empty since the collapse of the Soviet Union.