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Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Pamir Alai – Karavshin, Liayliak Valley, Pik 4,600m, North Face

Liayliak Valley, Pik 4,600m, north face. During the summer Taras Cushko, Sasha Homenko, and I (Lavrinenko) from Odessa put up a new route on the north face of Pik 4,600m. There was only one line on this face, the Bashkirov Route, which diagonals up the left side of the wall. A direct line up the center of the face beckoned. We spent two days carrying equipment from our base camp to the foot of the wall, using this period to study the line, which in the lower section seemed to be threatened by stonefall. As there are only three ledges on the wall, all of them sloping and covered with rocks and ice, we took a portaledge. The rock on the route was disappointingly poor throughout, as was the weather. Homenko led the first day, climbing a series of icy corners with loose rock. Two of our 60m ropes were cut, and we lost 15m from both. Next day I led. Spindrift rendered free climbing out of the question, but I was able to place many stoppers and Camalots in shattered rock that seemed well-frozen in place. Higher we had to climb through a large roof, below which we made our third portaledge camp. On the last day Cushko took the lead. The climbing above the roof was still hard, with overhanging corners and snow-filled cracks reminding me of Trango. However, the west ridge was not far off, and once on the crest we enjoyed sunshine as we climbed to the summit. During the descent we were hit by another big storm, and it took a day and a half to reverse our route to the glacier, fortunately without real adventures. Our new direct route is 700m high (850m of climbing) with difficulties of F6a A3 55°.

Alexander Lavrinenko, Ukraine and Anna Piunova, www.mountain.ru