American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Pamir Alai, Karavshin, Ak-su valley, Pamir Pyramid, West Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007

Ak-su valley, Pamir Pyramid, west face. The Anglo-German team of Daniel Danzer, Jens and Michael Richter, Markus Stofer, and Sarah and Tony Whitehouse climbed a new route on Pik 3,700m, the pyramid that stands immediately west of the Russian Tower. This summit has become know as the Pamir Pyramid, though it is not clear whether the name was originally given to this formation or to the smaller pointed summit below the northwest face of the Russian Tower.

The team arrived early, reaching base camp in the Ak-su valley at the start of July, and had mixed weather throughout their stay. Their new route, Russendisko, lies well left of center and left of all known lines on the triangular, slabby, west face. It has 10 pitches at 7a, 6c obl. The crux eighth pitch comes just below the second overlap high on the face. From the top a few easier pitches up right lead to the start of Perestroika Crack, or a short rappel down the wall to the left leads to scree slopes and an easy descent.

The original route on this face, Trento Passi nella Meta del Cielo (18 pitches, 6c+/7a), which was climbed in 1996 by Italians Marco Borghetti, Roberto Invernizzi, and Stefano Righetti, took a fairly direct line up the center, right of the prominent rock scar. In 1998 Sonja Brambati, Eraldo Meral- di, and Paolo Vitali added Missing Mountain (580m, 14 pitches, 6b), a route toward the right side of the face, finishing on the last pitch or two of the 1996 route. In 1999 Ian Parnell and Mark Pretty climbed The Reluctant Chief (530m, E3 5c) just to the right of the 1996 route, while Anne and John Arran climbed The Hostage (550m, E5 6a), which starts toward the right side of the face, crosses leftward through Missing Mountain and parallels it until moving right for the final three pitches. The same year Mark Baker and Chris Forrest climbed a series of corners around to the right, to give Mr. Chippendale (550m, E2). In 2005 Niall Grimes and Donie O’Sullivan thought they were on an unclimbed line left of The Reluctant Chief but met bolt belays and probably made a variant start to the 1996 Italian route.

The main objective of our Anglo- German expedition was a free ascent of the brilliant Peristroika Crack (7a A2, Faivre-Gentet-Givet-Roche, 1991; 7a+/7b, with one pitch of aid, by Francois Pallandre in 1993; all free at 7b/5.12 by Greg Child and Lynn Hill, 1995) on the west face of the Russian Tower (a.k.a. Pik Slesov, 4,240m). We fixed ropes, and most members of the party eventually completed the ascent, the best effort being a continuous 9:40 ascent by the Richter brothers. We climbed the route in 18 pitches, with the crux on the 12th pitch.

Sarah and Tony Whitehouse, U.K.

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