Exploratory Alpinism in Kyrgyzstan

Posted on: October 5, 2010

Kyrgyzstan was busy this summer with climbers exploring new terrain. Among other ascents in July, British climbers Daniel Clark, Matthew Traver and American Michael Royer climbed this line, Horseman's Horror (D+, 700m), on Peak Howard-Bury (4766m) during an exploratory alpine-climbing trip to the Djangart Range of Kyrgyzstan. [Photo] Michael Royer

This summer, climbing parties established new routes in the scarcely visited Djangart Valley and Torugart-Too mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

In July, despite unsettled weather, an Anglo-American team made three first ascents in the Djangart Range. The team set up their base camp in the Djangart Valley, which lies west of the Inylchek region of the Tien Shan, from which they accessed all three peaks.


First, Brits Daniel Clark and Matthew Traver and American Michael Royer climbed Horseman's Horror (D+, 700m), a line up an ice and snow couloir on the northwest face of Peak Howard-Bury (4766m), which they named after the early British explorer. They gave the route the name after discovering nomads had cut 20m off one of their ropes.

Next, Royer and Traver climbed the east face of another unclimbed peak, which they called Sutherland (5080m), by means of the aptly named route Will Your Anchor Hold? (TD-, 700m). Meanwhile, while venturing up a different glacier basin with American climber Christopher Parenteau, Clark suddenly collapsed and suffered a concussion, possibly due to a heart arrhythmia, and was evacuated to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

The remaining climbers then headed to the Djangartynbashi Glacier. With Parenteau sitting out due to drenched boots, Royer and Traver climbed Postcard for the Chief (AD+, 650m) up the north ridge and northeast face of Peak of Illumination (5048m).

Matthew Traver and Daniel Clark climb above the Djangartynbashi Glacier on the northwest face of Peak Howard-Bury (4766m). [Photo] Michael Royer

Scottish climbers John Proctor, Adam Russell and Robert Taylor made three new ascents in the Torugart-Too Mountains on the border between Kyrgyzstan and China at the end of July and early August.

While Russell guarded their base camp, from which they accessed all three peaks, Proctor and Taylor made the first ascent of Mur Samir (ca. 5008m) at AD. Taylor and Russell then climbed Peak Karyshkyr (4836m) via a snow couloir on the peak's eastern side and a snow and ice covered ridge. That route went at PD+. Lastly, Proctor and Russell attempted an ice climb to a peak above the Teke-Lutor Glacier (4850m). After some AD/D climbing, they reached the summit to discover that they were on a subsidiary peak. Without gear or time, the climbers did not continue upward.

Also in the Torugart-Too Mountains, British mountaineers James Monypenny, Sam Leach and Tom Nichols embarked on an expedition in August and September to explore new areas. According to their blog, they successfully climbed three previously unclimbed peaks, Toroloc (4870m), via its 600m D north face, Free Tibet (4700m) at PD, and Peak Abu (4495m) at F. The team also made the second ascent of Mur Samir by a new route, Diligent Epiphany (TD, 900m), via a couloir on the north face.

Sources: John Proctor, Robert Taylor, Adam Russell, torugarttoo2010.blogspot.com, thebmc.co.uk, kyrgyzstanexpedition2010.blogspot.com

Matt Traver climbing the north ridge of Peak of Illumination (5048m) just after sunrise. The Anglo-American team established the first ascent via Postcard for the Chief (AD+, 650m), a route up the north ridge and northeast face of the peak. [Photo] Michael Royer

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What's the current state of political affairs there? I know there have been problems in the past and a recent coup. Is it safe to climb in Kyrgystan these days?

2010-10-06 11:57:19

Howdy all,

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2010-10-06 02:51:23

Hey there,

thanks for this! Please let me suggest that there is another expedition aiming a first ascent in Kyrgystan at the moment. Ines Papert, Ice Climbing World Champion, is now in the advanced base camp near Mount Kyzyl Asker, ready for a first ascent on the south-face. If you are interested you can follow her via facebook (www.facebook.com//GORETEX.OutdoorProducts) or take a look at her expedition blog (kyzylexpedition.com)

Thanks a lot for your support!

2010-10-05 16:06:45
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