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Interview with Valery Rozov
Photos by: A. Ruchkin, Predrag Vuckovich & Thomas Senf (Швейцария).

Antarctica. Ulvetanna.
Interview with Valery Rozov

Second part of the triptych. Through the eyes of the protagonist

MR: When and how did you get that idea about jumping in Antarctica?

V.R.: The idea to go to Antarctica appeared 5-6 years ago. I saw a photo of Ulvetanna by a Norwegian expedition by chance. They were actively exploring that region in the beginning of 90tees. And they were the first to climb the top.
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of its forms and surrounding landscapes. I understood at once that I want to be there! It took a long time to find money to finance the expedition, too expensive. Everything was ready 2 years ago, but crises emerged in Russia, and the expedition got on hold again.

I was not the only attracted to the area not only by climbing, but also by jumping. Hubers took there time to visit the place in the meantime. They climbed 2 new and beautiful routs to Ulvetanna and Holtana, carried a parachute with them, but did not jump for some reasons.
Probably, due to the wind. Last year a team from Switzerland and France jumped Holtanna.
Ulvetanna, thanks god, remained untouched. And beginning November 2010 we set out to our expedition.

MR: You general impressions from the place

V.R.: General impression – that’s totally different from everything seen before. Unusual structure of the mountains. Rather the mountains may be usual, but all valleys between the peaks are covered with ice, and you find it easy to move around just on even surface.
Unusual climate. All life is linked with the sun. When it’s sunny and there’s no wind, you can undress and sunbathe (even though the temperature is 10 degrees below zero), getting cloudy and windy – the temperature s down dramatically and you do not know where to hide from cold.

A great number of beautiful mountains with high vertical walls never jumped and conquered before are just amazing! And your first thought is that it would be great to come back here again!
We visited our Antarctic station “Novolazorevskaya”. The polar explorers turned out to be nice and open people. Some kind of mixture of modern science, romanticism and enthusiasm, like in movies from 60ties.

MR: Who jumped there before you did?

V.R.: Only Holtana was jumped. Franco-Swiss expedition did last year. For all I know, that was the first base-jump ever in the entire Antarctica.

MR: What is special about jumping in Antarctica?

V.R.: The jump spots themselves were nice, not problematic, excluding Tungespissen, where despite overhang, the vertical accelerating wall was quite short. The differentials were quite big and comfortable for wing-suites.

My first jump was very cold. Being new, it took us a long time to get ready and we missed warm period. The sun was leaving after the corner and it was getting cold.
I did not manage to warm up before the jump. Immediately on exit I felt I was going numb right in the air. Before opening I understood that I was no longer able to control my muscles. I found pilot chute with difficulty. I opened quite high on all following jumps because of this. It was senseless to be flying directly on such landscape. Flight against white snow became undetectable. That’s why I tried to fly along cliffs to have at least some background.

MR: Did you expectations come true?

V.R.: In general, yes, excluding some details. I consulted people who were there a lot, studied photo and video. Ruchkin and I still remember from Baffin what Polar Night is like.

MR: How it all was, from the very start of the expedition, up to the end?

V.R.: We were very lucky with the weather. It was not very windy or snowy. We did not lose a single working day.
It was the thought I had during entire expedition: how lucky we are. All the rest was regular expedition routine. Who did what, how to film, who went where. Those were my principle thoughts. Sasha and Sergey vividly described all that in their diaries.

MR: Cameramen. Who were they, filming conditions, where from everything was filmed, team and equipment requirements.

V.R.: We were an international team. Filming crew consisted if Red Bull cameramen and photographers. Photographers Predrag from Serbia and Thomas from Switzerland. Cameraman Selim, Tengiz and Oetun from Turkey. All are good professionals. Not everyone had good mountain training and, unfortunately, they were not able to work on the upper part of the route.

Equipment requirements were standard – the higher quality, the better. We filmed a lot from tripod (a separate pain). I filmed with 3 GoPro cameras. Carried them on my bosom right after charging, slept with them, walked with them and took them out only before the jump. Everybody else did something like that as well. Otherwise the batteries did not stand the cold.
We became a very good and efficient team – not a single tension or conflict during entire 35 days trip. My special thanks to Yuri Baikovsky. His advise and logistics were of great help. I was really impressed by ALCI team and Victor Serov, who perform air flights in Antarctica. And of course special thanks to Kostya Vasenko for Omega Pacific and Metolius hardware, as well as ropes.
Thanks to our old friends for Basca for splendid sleeping bags. Terrex series, Adidas outdoor ware was very impressive. So did Red Bull without whom I would not have flown anywhere.

MR: What else did Antarctica give you?

V.R.: The sensation was how many beautiful and unusual places there are on Earth!
Plus a wish to certainly come back!

MR: What’s next?

V.R.: Next there’s long-waited for family holidays. We are going skiing to France.

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