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

Korzhenievskovo Valley, Various Ascents. From July 2 to August 22, Rowland Barker, Steven Carter, Hamish Downer, Mark Stevenson and I visited the Korzhenievskovo Valley in southern Kyrgyzstan. We attempted ten peaks and reached the summit of seven. We climbed in lightweight alpine style, generally in pairs. The region is heavily glaciated and the peaks heavily eroded. The rock on the mountains was very broken and all major rock lines on relatively reasonable rock were threatened by serac fall. Snow conditions were generally firm, although deep soft snow was a problem at times.

There were rarely periods of good weather for more than half a week, and the bad weather usually lasted up to three days. There was often a weather pattern of the weather closing in during the late afternoon and rain, hail or snow in the evening. This would often clear by midnight and the morning would present good climbing conditions. However, this pattern could not be relied upon. We used very little protection, partly due to the climbs being less technical than expected and partly due to the lack of protection available. We never saw any rock we would trust to hold nuts or cams. The ice was generally not deep enough and too brittle to hold ice screws.

Most of the mountains have already been climbed and named by Russian climbers. However, we were not able to discover all of the names in our research, so we have simply referred to them by the height of the summit according to our maps. Ascents were as follows. The north face of 4810m, PD, July 20, Barker and Lassetter. The west face of 4931m, AD, July 25, Downer and Lassetter. The north ridge of 5015m, PD, Lassetter and Stevenson, August 19. The south ridge of 5525m, AD, Lassetter, solo, July 25, repeated by Barker and Stevenson the same day. The south summit (5845m) of 19th Party Conference Peak (5945m) via the south ridge, F, Downer and Stevenson, August 10. Pic Korzhenievskovo (6008m), PD/AD, Lassetter and Stevenson, July 28; repeated by Barker and Downer on July 30. Lassetter and Stevenson bivied just above the col (ca. 4600m) and took 17 hours to reach the summit from there and return. Barker and Downer bivied beyond most of the steep steps. The north ridge of Pic 6624, PD/AD, Lassetter and Stevenson, July 31. The east ridge of Pic Lenina (7134m), PD, Barker and Lassetter, August 9-11.

The group recommends the valleys in this area to those wanting solitude and the opportunity to experience exploratory mountaineering on high peaks of easy to moderate difficulty.

James Lassetter, Cambridge University Mountaineering Club