Red Bull 7 Giants was a series of unique, first-ever climbs and Stefan Glowacz did it the hard way.
German climber Stefan Glowacz's journey began in the town of Ivdel - in deepest, darkest Russia - a place in the outer reaches of Siberia where once upon a time if you happened to fall foul of a Tsar you might have been sent out into exile. A place from which there was no return...
Stefan's mission was to reach the frozen expanses of the remote Man-Pupu-Ner Plateau in the Komi Republic and become the first person ever to climb on the mysterious Seven Giants rock formation.
Having been forced to abandon a first attempt in November 2012 due to bad weather and an injury to a member of the party, the weather gods weren’t exactly smiling on Glowacz as he set out for the second time in February 2013.
“We started from the remote town of Ivdel. The journey was extremely challenging, mostly because of the weather – on some days the temperature dropped to -45 Celsius with strong winds."
Not for him a ride in a plane or helicopter! Staying true to his philosophy of pure mountaineering, Glowacz, the former vice world champion in rock climbing, insisted on launching a full expedition to the plateau instead of taking the easy option.
“A helicopter can take you to any place in just a few hours, but it completely destroys the whole idea of what I'm trying to reach. I deliberately refuse technical assistance – flying to the point never brings the same enjoyment as reaching the remote location by your own."
"It took us almost seven days of skiing to reach the plateau and two more days to climb on the ‘Elder Brother’, the biggest of the Giants. Man-Pupu-Ner is a unique place, and it's incredible that I was able to visit it.”
Bavarian Stefan Glowacz, who, at the age of 48, is still staying true to his philosophy of pure mountaineering, remains one of the world’s most progressive climbers.
Towering 30 metres above the Man-Pupu-Ner Plateau, the Seven Giants are a mystical rock formation in a remote part of the Urals.
Legend has it that the huge pillars were once a family of seven giants who terrorised the region and were turned into stone by a powerful wizard.
“I have never seen anything like Giants before,” explains Glowacz. “I couldn’t stop thinking about reaching those mysterious rocks, during winter when the harsh northern nature is especially beautiful. That’s how the Red Bull 7 Giants project was born.”
Dealing with temperatures that dropped as low as -45 degrees Celsius, it was a true test of endurance and desire.
Camping out during a Russian winter is not advised unless absolutely necessary!
A film about the Red Bull 7 Giants project will be released in autumn 2013.