The two phase trip firstly focused on exploring new areas of the Tien Shan mountains and climbing unclimbed and unrecorded peaks up to about 4700m. We managed about 7 significant peaks, a number of new routes up to about Scottish V/5, and a number of ascents of previously climbed peaks also. The area offered great Scottish style mountaineering at a altitude similar to the European Alps. Access to the area is by six wheel drive trucks and the sense of remoteness quickly builds. As well as great mountains, the area is also steeped in history and an ancient nomadic culture.
Base Camp Mess Tent
First ascent of the obvious line up the toothed ridge
En route for an unclimbed summit
A new route on a previously climbed peak
Using this stage to acclimatise we then moved on to the 7010m peak, Khan Tengri. Some days over land and a chopper flight dropped us into Base Camp on the glacier. This area of the Tien Shan is on a much larger scale, the peaks are higher and Base is already above 4000m.
We spent about 10 days on the mountain and despite slow progress initially due to heavy snow fall, 3 of our group of 5 summitted on the 14th on a perfect summit day, also the first really good day we had so far on this phase of the expedition. Khan Tengri gives a challange in that its summit day is 1200m, its also the steepest part of the route, it would compare with the Hornli ridge on the Matterhorn only at 7000m and having already spent 8 days climbing to camp 3, where the summit day begins.
Khan Tengri 7010m
Heli drop to Base Camp
Camp 1 before the snow came
|Other groups ascending the shoulder on summit day|
Arriving at 6200m