American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.), Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgysky Alatau, Ala Archa National Park, Korona, North Face, New Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2000

Korona, North Face, New Route. The north face of Korona (“the Crown”) Peak (4855m) is a 900-meter wall with no routes easier than 5 on the Russian scale. The wall stretches east to west for 1.5 kilometers and has seven routes. On January 22, Alexander Ruchkin, Dmitry Grekov and Andrey Puchinin put up another route, in winter. The 900-meter route was given 5B on the Russian scale (5.10 A1) and has an average steepness of 74 degrees.

We wanted to establish a new climb and make a film. To save weight, but at the risk of making an open bivy in winter, we didn’t take sleeping bags, stoves, portaledges or extra food. We took pitons and a small drill kit just in case. We found ourselves under the wall after a 40-minute walk from the Nauka Hut (3700m) in the Ak-Say Gorge. We started climbing at dawn. Dima and I climbed together, resting only when Andrey, the videographer, climbed up the fixed rope. Sometimes we gave him advice about how and when to make the film. This made him cross, and he would threaten to give us the camera. Mixed climbing together with steep 75- to 95-degree ice in narrow goulottes make the route impressive and interesting. In comparison, this route is more difficult than the 1976 (Henry) Barber route on Free Korea Peak. We climbed the route in a day, then made our descent under the bright full moon. The route was called the Mobile Route (V 5.10 A1, 900m). And we were called the mobile guys, for the risk of spending a winter night on the wall.

Alexander Ruchkin, Russia

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