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Asia, Commonwealth of Independent States, Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzsky Alatau, Ala Archa National Park, Box Peak, New Route

Box Peak, New Route. In July, Misha Michailava, Andrei Molatov, Dmitry Jumakov, Valerie Fedem and Alexandar Chernov ascended a new route (5B) on the west face of Box Peak in the Ak Sai region. At 11 rope lengths, it is not the longest route in the area, but one of many possible new routes. Most climbers have chosen to climb only the traditional routes in the area, or if determined to put up a new route, choose the longer lines. This climb is an example of the many shorter unclimbed routes still to be done.

The entire climb took a total of four days. The first day was spent ascending two pitches to a cornice, which was overcome by drilling a small hole in the face, then standing on a sky hook (the crux of the climb). On the second day four more pitches were climbed, including another aid pitch to overcome a small cornice; a 30-meter slightly overhanging section was also aided cleanly. Four more pitches were climbed on the third day. The final day involved two more difficult pitches, followed by a few rope lengths of low angle dirt and ice. The descent was completed on the same day. There were comfortable belay and bivy ledges for the entire route. Many other routes remain unclimbed in the Ak Sai Valley. For 1998 the same climbers hope to ascend Peak Free Korea, which still has unclimbed routes of up to 20 rope lengths left.

Garth Willis, The Bishkek Bohemians