American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Commonwealth of Independent States, Kyrgyzstan, Pamir-Alai, Lailak Region, Rocky Ak-Su, North Face, Various Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Rocky Ak-Su, North Face, Various Ascents. Out of the six teams that entered the Technical Class of the Russian Mountaineering Championships, four decided to climb the north face of Rocky Ak-Su (5217m) in the Lailak region of the Pamir Alai. The champion team was the Cverdlov Sports Club (A. Klenov, leader, A. Vedenchuk, M. Dzvi, I. Nefedov, V. Starov, S. Tarasov). They climbed the route in ten days from Aug. 5-14; the ascent involved 104 hours of climbing. They attempted to move as close to the central wall as possible and to improve on the achievement of previous climbers. They used natural pro on their ascent of the Nose near the north cornice and the overhanging section, which they free climbed, using as little aid as possible. To climb the smooth “mirrors” in the middle of the ascent, the team used skyhooks. After all the cracks filled with ice, it was necessary for them to clear for anchors constantly. The route was constantly in shadow and this played on the psyche; only the Nose became bright late in the evening. Because of this, on the icy sections of the descent, it was very difficult for the climbers.

The Competition prize went to Perm’s Sports team (A. Shabpovich, leader, U. Zhizhin, A. Mochalov, V. Puchnin, S. Smirnov, N. Rilov), which climbed the Shabalin route by way of the Nose from August 7-16 in 93 hours. It was the second ascent of the route’s upper section. Before the ascent, the team waited three days for the snow to stop. All the nights out were organized under cornices or on overhanging walls on portaledges. A safety loop went through the inside of the tent and their helmets were not removed. They worked on the route from daybreak (7 a.m.) to sunset (9 p.m.).

The Bronze medal was given to the Kirov team (A. Antonov, leader, I. Tukhvatylin, P. Shabalin), which climbed a new variant on the upper part of the ascent that they called the Cold Comer (6A). They made their ascent from July 29-August 5 in 65 hours. Not once during the time of the ascent did the sun illuminate the route. This was the character of the Cold Corner and created problems as far as movement and the setting up of anchors.

The 5th place team from Krasnayarsk (N. Kuzhetsov, leader, V. Alexandrov, N. Zakharov, A. Savinich, U. Stepanov, S. Surobegni) climbed the L. Troshinenko route from August 19-22 in 39 hours to the summit of Rocky Ak-Su.

Vladimir Shataev, Russian Mountaineering Federation

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