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Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Pamir Alai – Karavshin, Kara-su Valley, Pik 4,810, First Winter Ascents and Russian Piolet d'Or

Kara-su Valley, Pik 4,810, first winter ascents and Russian Piolet d’Or. Three teams arrived in the Kara-su during the winter, planning to attempt routes on the stupendous 1,200m northwest face of Pik 4,810 (Pik Boston, 4,810m) and hoping to win first prize in the Winter Technical Class of the annual Russian Championships. Completing any route on this vast granite wall under harsh winter conditions would be a major achievement, and the best ascent would automatically win the prize.

From February 2 to 11 Vladimir Gunko (leader), with V. Arhipov, A. Litviniv, A. Mikhalitsin, and V. Tsygankov, all from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, made the third overall but first winter ascent of the Voronov Route (Russian 6B, 1988). From February 22 to March 6 S. Dashkevich, K. Litvinov, and S. Timofeev from Ekaterinburg completed the Kritsuk Route (1,515m of climbing, Russian 6B, much aid, 188). The Sakharov Route (1,200m but 1,620m of climbing, Russian 6B, 1994) was completed on March 14 by a team from St. Petersburg led by Valeri Shamalo, and including G. Chibitok, D. Krasnov, V. Ivanov, and R. Nagaev. With the Sakharov being the hardest route completed, the St. Petersburg team won first prize in the Winter Technical Class. However, in Moscow at the Second Russian Piolet d’Or, the tables turned. The jury (consisting of the nominated teams voting on each other) preferred the style of the Voronov Route ascent and awarded the 2008 Russian Piolet to Gunko’s Krasnoyarst team.

Compiled from notes provided by Anna Piunova, www.mountain.ru