American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, CIS—Kirgizia, Khan Tengri, Tien Shan, First Winter Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1993

Khan Tengri, Tien Shan, First Winter Ascent. The most notable event of the 1991-2 winter season in the high Asian mountains was the first winter ascent of the marble pyramid Khan Tengri (6995 or 7010 meters, 22,950 or 22,999 feet). One of the world’s most beautiful mountains, it is the most northerly 7000er. A strong Kazakh party led by Valeri Khrishchaty was further composed of Viktor Dedi, Yuri Moiseyev, Valdimir Suviga, Aleksandr Savin, Igor Putintsev and Malik Ismetov. After leaving Alma Ata on January 25, they acclimatized by climbing to the col between Khan Tengri and Pik Chapayeva, where at 5800 meters they made snow caves for a bivouac. Khrishchaty said that of the five CIS highest summits, Khan Tengri is the most difficult in winter because its rocky pyramid is completely exposed to stormy winds. The final attack began on February 7 with low temperatures and fierce winds. After spending the night in the snow caves, they continued along the ridge, which had been swept by the wind down to bare ice. Here and there, old fixed ropes could be used. Near the top, they found the body of a climber who had died in the summer season. It took some time to extract him from the ice and bury him. Above 6300 meters, the storm could hardly be borne. At two P.M., all seven climbers reached the summit. On February 9, all were back at Base Camp. Khan Tengri is now considered a 7000-meter peak because of a new survey. Khrishchaty has now climbed all five of the CIS 7000ers in winter.

Józef Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland

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