Steve and Scott—

My name’s Nikita. I’m a climber from Ukraine.

I decided to write you this letter just to thank you for the work you’ve done with Scott in writing your Training for the New Alpinism.

I’m 26 years old. When I was 18 I definitely decided that alpine climbing is the main thing in my life. Since then I’ve been climbing in different mountains. At first in our former USSR regions (Tien-Shan, Caucasus, Altai, etc.) and there I made lots of seldom-ascended lines and some first ascents. Of course training is important part of my life. I’ve been using lots of works of our Soviet training programs, at the same time Mark Twight’s works, and triathlon training programs.

In 2014 me and two of my good friends went for the first time to Himalaya. There we made FA on Langshisa Ri in Langtang  ( With this climb we even got in the Piolet d’Or long list but we knew that it was not at our limits. Then we understood that we can try some bigger objects and kept on training.

This winter I was in Munich at the ISPO winter exhibition for business and after in an outdoor shop I saw your book :-). I wanted to download it a few times before but when I saw it in paper I decided to buy it. Maybe it will help in training, I thought. If I knew beforehand how it would help me, I’d get it the first day it was published!

It’s so easy written, has so much good advice and really needed training info without lots of bla-bla. That’s the most important for me in training materials.

In the book you’ve written that if you do everything right you’ll be stronger than you’ve ever been before. I totally agree with that statement. I bought your book and add many things from it to my plan and to the plan of my partner during the training for this year’s expedition. And really I was going to Nepal stronger than I’ve ever been before.

Yesterday I returned from Nepal. There me and my friend Mikhail Fomin made a new line on Talung peak (7,349 meters) in Kanchenjunga region. I looked at NW rib on Talung for a few years. We managed to make a route on it (1,700m vertical gain, M6, AI6, A3) in six days in alpine style. I’m attaching photos with the line.

A new line on Talung peak


It was one of the most powerful experiences I had ever had—such a big and beautiful mountain (it was my first 7,000er) and such a hard mixed like in the Alps. And I owe you and Scott for this success. So I wanted to say thank you for your really hard work preparing so great of a “secret weapon” for so lazy young guys like me:-)

Thank you!

Nikita [Balabanov]

Editor’s note:

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