American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.), Kyrgyzstan, Karavshin Region, Various Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Karavshin Region, Various Ascents. We (Robert Lange, Bettina Boehmer, Mathias Engelien from Germany and Will Stites from the U.S.) hiked in from Bapyx to Base Camp in the Karavshin Ak-Su Valley on August 19. On August 23, I hooked up with the Canadian Guy Edwards (see below) to climb the Northeast Pillar (F6a, 1100m) of Pik 1,000 Years of Russian Christianity (4507m), simulclimbing the route on-sight in about nine hours. We took 22 hours in total for the route, including approach and descent. Mathias and Will started on the route the same day, climbing it in the “usual” way, and reaching the bivy after the 25th pitch on the first day. On the second day, Will reached the top of the climb and dislodged a big rock while flipping the rope that hit Mathias on the back. He could neither stand nor walk, but he was able to rappel. They rappelled down to the bivy on the second day and on the third reached the base of the climb.

On August 25, Robert and Bettina climbed the first four pitches of a new route on the 300- meter lower walls of the Central Pyramid. On the 26th, we rescued Mathias from the base of the Northeast Pillar and brought him down to Base Camp. He was flown to Tashkent the next day by helicopter. On August 28, Robert and Bettina made the first ascent of the seven-pitch route Für Mathias (5.10d, 300m) on the lower wall of the Central Pyramid. One bolt was placed at the fourth belay. On August 29, Robert and Will made the second ascent and first red- point of the German Route (5.12a) on Pik du Pamir. The route had been put up by Rainer Pickel, Michaela and Dirk Groeger the week before. On September 1, Robert and Will climbed the Voie Francaise (5.12a, 700m) on the Central Pyramid (3895m) via the Yellow Moon variation in a day. The route has 19 pitches, with its greatest difficulties in the middle. We bivied near the summit, because the rappel was hard to find in the dark. Robert managed to on-sight the route—its first on-sight. We rappelled the route Black Magic, put up by Kennan Harvey and Topher Donahue the year before. On September 4, we prepared the first four pitches of the route Der Kleine Prinz, an eliminate line to Für Mathias. On September 6, Robert and Will made the second ascent of Take It Easy (5.11b) on the lower Central Pyramid.

On the 7th, Robert and Bettina started for Fishtower (ca. 3800m), the formation that stands between Pik 1,000 Years.… and Pik Kotin, with a haulbag and portaledge. We ascended the first three pitches (difficulties up to 5.11d), then bivied after the third pitch. The next day, we continued from the bivy through the right part of the wall. Robert climbed the second pitch on his second try after placing six bolts and estimated the difficulties to be 5.12c. The third pitch involves aid and free climbing up to 5.11b. Then it began to rain, and thunder and lightning started when it got dark, so we decided to finish our route to the top from the bivy by an easier line, which led us through the left and central part of the tower. We called the route Vogelfrei (“.Free Like a Bird5.12c Al).

On September 9, we finished the first ascent of the route Gül (Kyrgyz for “sun,” 5.10d) that we had started on the first day on the 400-meter high east face of Fishtower. The last four 60- meter pitches from the bivy to the top we equipped with one bolt at each belay. Meanwhile, Will repeated Für Mathias rope-solo. He then left on the 11 th to climb the 400-meter south face of Pik 4810 rope-solo, but retreated on the second day after the fifth pitch—the unexpected 13-hour approach took all his food. On the 12th, Robert and Bettina made the first ascent of Der Kleine Prinz (5.11b) on-sight. The route leads straight through the whole face and has six pitches with a bolt at each belay. On the 14th, a foot of snow forced us to leave Base Camp. We hiked down to Bapyx in three nice days.

Robert Lange, Germany

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