Jan 28, 2013. Kaspersky Team....
Olga Rumyantseva has succeeded in her solo-climb of the highest volcano in Antarctica –Mount Sidley! Olga was lucky with the weather (though you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise from her messages) and transport – so much so, that she is already back inMoscowfull of impressions and with some stunning photos.
We asked Olga about the surprises – both pleasant and unpleasant – the difficulties she faced and the feelings she had after making it to the summit.
Congratulations! How was the climb?
The climb up Sidley lasted four days. The sky was overcast; it snowed and was very cold. The most serious problem was a lack of visibility, so any climbing was impossible. So as not to waste time I carried my tent up part of the way twice –1500 m the first time and 600 m the second time. It meant the last leg to the summit was just an 800m spurt. I was lucky with the higher camp: it was warm and there was no wind, which meant I could lie down and bask in the sun when it was shining on my tent.
On the summit of Mt.Sidley
The fourth day brought strong winds that blew away the clouds. But it was very cold, about -25, though with the wind-chill factor is felt more like -35. Everything froze, but the visibility was great, so I could admire the scenery. During my ascent I spotted some impressive snowy “mushrooms” as large as a house.
The climb was easy, though it was hard to call or take photos because of the cold. I wish I could have taken more – the scenery from above was something else! Actually, I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful there. It certainly brightened up my climb.
What was the most difficult part about climbing Sidley?
Dragging myself out of the tent on the day of the climb.
It was very cold, even forAntarctica. My hands were frozen. Everything froze the moment I stopped. But then the wind dropped and I felt much warmer, though my fingers almost got frostbite dialing a phone number on the peak.
Overall, the most difficult part was waiting…for the planes, for the weather…
How do you cope with extremely low temperatures?
I’m not very good at dealing with very low temperatures. The cold immediately gets into me and it can be disheartening. I’m not a fan of the cold!
What can you say about your first volcano a few days after the climb?
I am happy with the successful start to the project. The climb of the oldest, most mysterious and, I hope, coldest volcano of the project is under my belt. Next stop – Kilimanjaro!
Were there any difficulties on your journey back from the volcano?
Well, it wasn’t easy. Even getting to Union Glacier Camp was a problem! The weather changed dramatically, with strong winds blowing acrossAntarctica. It was a bumpy landing at Union Glacier. They’d never experienced such strong winds at the camp – I have never seen such sturdy tents before, and the planes were surrounded with other vehicles so they didn’t blow away. But Union Glacier is fairly close to civilization – there was only a flight to Punto Arenas left. Though, that could have been delayed too, as disaster struck: the Ilyushin, the only plane that flies toAntarcticafrom the mainland, broke down after we’d gone to Sidley. The engine had to be replaced. While we were out at Sidley they had been trying to fix it and had even flown out an engineer fromMoscow. While the plane was being fixed, lots of people from several expeditions were stuck at the camp! I thought I wouldn’t get a place on the first flight. Everything ended happily though – everyone was flown out on the same plane.
What are the first three things you do when you get back to civilization?
I have a wash – you can’t beat a hot shower after an expedition. I think everybody does that first. Then I catch up on my sleep – any bed is a luxury after long nights in a tent in the snow. I eat. As a rule, after a climb we go to a restaurant and order meat, salads, wine – everything we had to do without during the climb.
THE KASPERSKY 7 VOLCANOES EXPEDITION
Jan 15, 2013
Climbing the highest volcanoes on every continent alone, without any backup is definitely not for the faint-hearted! You’d have to be bold, spirited…and just a little bit crazy. But Olga Rumyantseva certainly isn’t daunted by the prospect. She has set off to conquerMt.Sidley, Kilimanjaro,Mt.Giluwe, Damavand, Elbrus, Pico de Orizaba andOjos del Salado. Now, we at Kaspersky Lab rate commitment and dedication very highly, and that’s why we’ve decided to help Olga in her undertaking.
Olga (38) has a successful career as a financial consultant behind her and is the mother of two daughters, but she hasn’t stopped there. Her hobby of mountaineering turned into her profession in 2008 when she became an instructor at the Seven Summits climbing club. We asked Olga about her passion for climbing and why the 7 Volcanoes project is so important for her.
Why did you decide to conquer the seven volcanoes?
You don’t conquer mountains; you climb them, or you don’t climb them . The number seven appeals to people. Seven notes, the seven colors of the rainbow…seven continents. The challenge of climbing the world’s seven highest summits on all the continents has long been popular. In recent years a new challenge – climbing the highest volcano on each of the seven continents – has also gained popularity. I like that it’s not just some random number of volcanoes but a whole project. Every new summit is a new discovery, a new journey. And it’s something anyone can do, unlike the Seven Summits.
Why those seven volcanoes in particular?
That’s the specific challenge – the highest volcanoes on each continent. Volcanoes really are fascinating. They’re alive.
Of those seven volcanoes, I’ve been to four as a guide: Elbrus, Pico de Orizaba, Kilimanjaro, andDamavand. While I was taking clients up those volcanoes I got the strong urge to return to them myself and climb them the way I wanted to, and am capable of doing, without having to worry about anyone else.
Why do it alone?
Alone is not exactly the right term. I would say without a team, without any backup.
Usually when people plan a mountaineering expedition there is a team where everyone has a role and they all start working together to achieve that goal. And although every person is important, within the framework of the expedition, he or she can easily be replaced. In other words, the group is more important than the individual.
I’m not a team player. I don’t like team sports. I need to know that the result is all down to me, that it depends on me and nobody else, that there’s no chance of sitting on the substitute’s bench.
Having said that, mountaineering is not really a sport. There is no competition as such. There’s no winner or loser. You need to set a target and reach it. It’s important to adhere to your own standards. Climb the way you want to climb. For me, climbing is a way of life, a philosophy…
Do these climbs enhance your experience in any way?
The 7 Volcanoes project envisages trips to various corners of the planet. This is not just about the physical side, but also new impressions, getting to know new people and their cultures. A lone traveler is more open to meeting new people.
I think, I’ll meet lots of new people and make some interesting acquaintances during training and the actual climbs. If I find kindred spirits among those new people, if I see them share my goals (all of these seven volcanoes are in fact popular climbing destinations), then it’s quite possible we may travel some of the way together.
At the same time, I will have everything I need for traveling on my own, so I can keep traveling independently from other people regardless of the circumstances.
How difficult will it be?
It depends. In general, it’s pretty tough: most of these volcanoes have altitudes over 5000 m. This is high-altitude mountaineering, and it requires serious physical training. Just like on any other big mountain, a climber can encounter harsh weather conditions on these volcanoes.
How do you train for that?
Just like for the other climbs: you need to train your body for intense physical activities in an environment where there’s insufficient oxygen in the air. Any physical exercises will do, be it long-distance running, swimming, etc. And most importantly is a strong desire to reach the summit. 50% of your success is down to your positive psychological state. I have that type of attitude: wait, endure and believe in your own strength.
Could anyone do it? Let’s say an office worker. Could he or she just go and climb a volcano?
Yes. But you can’t just get up and go. You need to find an experienced guide and then go. In order to climb, and, more importantly, descend afterwards, stay alive and in one piece, you need to know how to acclimatize yourself to extreme altitudes, how to plan your physical reserves, be able to orient yourself while on route, to know about the peculiarities of the weather in the mountains, the hazards of mountain, have basic mountaineering skills (such using crampons while walking on ice, etc.), and loads of other factors.
The only exception is Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano inSouth America. It’s nearly 7000m high. You must have experience in high-altitude mountaineering before going up to such an altitude. Of course, people can try it without the right experience, but they most likely won’t make it and cause irreparable damage to their bodies.
As for the other volcanoes, they are quite appropriate for newbie mountaineers. Just one example: last year, Sergey Pikkat-Ordynskiy from Kaspersky Lab, climbedOrizaba, the highest volcano inNorth America, without any prior mountaineering experience – that guy had never been in the mountains before and wanted to find out what mountains are and how to climb them.
Is there any special psychological or physical training? For example, how many kilometers should you be able to run or how many chin-ups should you be able to do to go on an expedition like this?
You really need to want to do it. You must be able to endure cold, hunger, physical exertion, pain. The acclimatization process is often not easy for people going to the mountains for the first time and can cause severe headaches, loss of appetite, weakness. You must be able to overcome this, to pull yourself together and keep going on in spite of it all.
There are no exact figures. You just have to be in good physical shape. But … it depends on the result you’re aiming for. If you just want to climb with a guide, visiting the gym from time to time is enough. If you want to climb and enjoy it, you have to exercise regularly – go running and swimming two or three times a week.
As for me, in periods of regular training I go running two or three times a week (8-15 km, or if I have time and I’m in the mood, I can even run 20 km) and swim 1-1.5 km two or three times a week as well.
Doing chin-ups is not necessary. It may be necessary to train for technical ascents when the mountaineers climb a wall. You get up these volcanos on foot. There are only small parts of the route where you have to climb. I can do chin-ups . I can do about three, but used to be able to do 15.
Mountains are fascinating, but they are not meant for human life. Therefore, you have to be able to survive there. And enjoy it.
Why do you think Kaspersky Lab decided to support you? In what ways are you similar?
I think our most important similarity is the ability to set goals and achieve them expanding the limits of your capabilities, even if it’s not that easy. There’s also self-sufficiency and an openness to everything new and exciting – new people, new ideas.
P.S. The Kaspersky 7 Volcanoes Expedition is not Kaspersky Lab’s first experience in collaboration with the world’s highly recognized explorers. In 2009 the company sponsored a group of women who skied more than 900 km from the coast ofAntarcticato the South Pole. In 2012 with the support of Kaspersky Lab, British explorer Felicity Aston became the first woman in history to ski cross Antarctica alone, having set a new world record.