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Author: Valery Rozov, Moscow

A jump from Kukurturlu wall

I've wanted to do an interesting base-project on the Caucasus for a long time. Formerly I spent a lot of time there as an alpinist.

An idea to make a base-jump from the Western Kukurturlu wall is of that kind which don't need to be invented. It just was in the air, waiting for its time and chance.

The chance came in the form of alpinist festival in Uzunkol, where I was invited as a guest. The idea of showing BASE climbing to the alpinist public came to mind. As you know, the jump didn't take place because of “technical” reasons.

It was a pity to refuse from the idea, so we were on Caucasus at the beginning of September...

After a good exploration in July, we changed our logistics radically. We decided to go to Kukurturlu from Elbrus region. We made ascent to the saddle, then the traverse of the western ridge, descent along the ridge to Kukurturlu peak.

This choice proved its value. We reached Kukurturlu during one day, 10 hours. The necessity to bring the load high in the mountains makes this procedure quite physically hard, although. Nice weather, which accompanied us before, disappeared. The snowstorm began and it became much colder. In the night the temperature reached minus 20 grades . Rather cold for Indian summer :-)

Rope placing and seeking for separation point turned from pleasure to difficult and unpleasant work. It was a luck that we were here in July and knew the wall structure and the main reference points well. The exit we found only in 4 pitches from the peak. If you look to the wall from below, it is in its right section, in about 50 m right from the famous Grigorov's route.

We had food for 3-4 days, so, in spite of ceaseless snowstorm, we felt quite confidently. By a portable radio transmitter we knew a fresh weather forecast – it would be a small window tomorrow, September 10, in the morning. We decided not to risk and to use this opportunity. Morning is bad time for us, although. The wall is in shadow, it is bad for taking pictures and too cold.

In the night we slept badly and everyone was little nervous. From time to time we leaned out of the tent to see if the stars appeared. The forecast didn't lie . Our wall and valley were clear . The entire Elbrus region was covered with clouds which concentrated near Kukurturlu saddle point and can close our exit. We were in a hurry. At 8.00 AM we were already near our ropes and ready to jump. We connected with a group of operators who would meet me below. Everyone was ready.

There was no correct ledge in the point of jump. I had to dress, simply hanging on the rope. It is uncomfortably. It was very cold, and I tried to warm and concentrate before starting to undress for putting on wing suite.

The membership was international: two Germans and three Russians. We discussed how I must command on my separation – one, two, three or ready, set, go. Sanya Ruchkin said he was not sure and could mix everything, and we ed Russian variant.

The wall under me is huge. Stone falls more than 15 seconds, and then it disappeared. It was slippery on the exit. But when I unfastened, I felt calmly. I separated correctly and even flew not bad, in spite of being frozen.

I tried to follow the plan and route which we discussed with guys below. I reached the planned landing area and opened quite high. Everyone waited me there, and it was no sense to fly further. The time of free fall was 52 seconds. The difference from exit to landing was 1500 m. If one target to fly more, it can be 1700 m.

Next, everything was like usually: joy, relaxation, toasts for good luck and return. By the way, in 2 hours after my landing it became misty and snowy again.

This project was the most mass one. At the same time 17 people worked on Caucasus ! The jump wouldn't take place without their help and it wouldn't be filmed and photographed. I felt like Gagarin when he was launched into the space. Everybody knows Gagarin, but few know people who “launched” him.

I meet this lack :-) :

Group which worked from the Elbrus region (alpinists):

- Valery Rozov (video)

- Alexander Ruchkin (photo)

- Sergey Firsov (video)

- Tomas Senf (photo)

- Martin Mierzwa (video)

- Sergey Vedenin

- Sergey Fursov

- Alexander Fedorov

- Danila Timofeev

Coordinator in the Elbrus region:

- Marina Migurskaya

Group on landing place (Kukurturlu canyon):

-Andrew Kamenev (photo)

-Anton Jdanov (photo)

- Dmitry Shikov (video)

- Sumbat Alexandrov (video)

- Valery Pyatov (video)

- Kostya Shavrov (video)

- Natalya Rozova (coordinator)

Thanks for help and welcome (in Kukurturlu canyon) to:

Enver Habchaev (director Uzunkol a/c) and his wife Laura (for delicious meals)

Ruslan, Muhtar and Issa Magamaev – their horses are excellent!

And of course special thanks to our partners:

- Leatherman

- Clothing of «MHW» trade was provided by OOO “Sportmaster”
The team is insured by the insurance company


P. S. In principle, in summer and in good weather one can go here from the Elbrus region during one day, descend to the exit and jump. So, if you are not fooled with photo, dare :-)

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