The preparation stage for the ascent to Mt.
McKinley was started in autumn 2000. From May 17 to June14,
2001 the team of the expedition participated in the training
session in Prielbrusie, the Kabardino-Balkarskaia Republic.
The main tasks of the training session included
formation of a solid team, development of joint techniques
during ascent and descent of disabled participants, working
out a tactical scheme of a future ascent to McKinley and
the skills of organization of high-altitude camps.
The participants lived for a few days at
the mountaineering base "Gara-Bashi", located at 3800 m
above sea level. On the slopes and glaciers of the highest
European Mountain the disabled sportsmen studied the main
principles of mountain climbing, trained to use ski devices,
studied how to move over a glacier covered by snow and to
make ascents and descents. During the training the sportsmen
participated in a difficult ski expedition along the ice
fields of Elbrus at 4200 m elevation.
After completion of the main training program,
the team made an ascent to the altitude 5200 m under most
unfavourable weather conditions. This ascent imitated some
sections of the future ascent to Mt. McKinley.
In March 2002 the team of Matvey Shparo made
an ascent of the Peak of Lenin, 7134 m. Five participants
managed to make an ascent of the Peak of Lenin: Oleg Banar,
Viktor Afanasjev, Maxim Bogatyrev, Alexander Gubaev and
Alexander Agafonov. Disabled participants did not take part
in this ascent.
This was one of a few ascents to this popular
peak, which was actually carried out in winter period. At
this period the climatic conditions of the high altitude
zone closely resemble the Antarctica. Strong eddy winds
are often roaring on the slopes. During the assault the
team spent three nights at 6500 m, the temperatures reached
-30° C with a very strong wind.
The main objectives of the ascent to the
Peak of Lenin included the following: to unite the team,
adaptation of participants to high altitudes and low temperatures.