Italian mountaineers Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger made the first winter ascent of Pik Pobeda, also known as Gora Pobeda (3003m), Siberia's highest mountain located in the Chersky range within the Arctic Circle. The area is one of the coldest regions on the planet, with temperatures at Base Camp during their climb reaching -40 degrees Celsius.
On 22nd January the team left Italy for Siberia and reached Base Camp with the assistance of reindeer to haul equipment on sledges. With a good forecast in hand, the pair waited for the best conditions and ascended in alpine style over 7 hours, before returning to Base Camp 11 hours after setting off on 11th February.
Commenting by sat phone, Simone described the conditions: "It snowed all day long, but there was good visibility. It was extremely cold! How cold we do not know yet, we'll check and tell you. We are very grateful to the herdsmen who really supported us."
Simone adds this latest ascent to his growing list of winter summits. He remains the only mountaineer to have made the first winter ascent of four of the eight-thousanders: Shishapangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011 and Nanga Parbat in 2016. Despite her origins as a ski-mountaineer, in recent years Tamara has focused on high-altitude winter ascents alongside Simone. During the 2015-2016 winter season, in her attempt to make the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat with Simone, she turned back just 70 metres below the top due to altitude sickness - narrowly missing out on becoming the first woman to make a first winter ascent of an 8,000-metre peak.