Asia, Russia, Siberia, Altai, South Kurai, Various Ascents

Publication Year: 2010.

South Kurai, various ascents. In May Marc Bullock, Matthew Freear, Tim Moss, Nancy Pickup, Michael “Spike” Reid, and David Tett traveled to the South Kurai, becoming almost certainly the first non-Soviet mountaineers to visit this area of the Siberian Altai. The Kurai is a range of relatively low mountains north of the Taban Bogdo and northeast of Bielukha. Immediately south of the Kurai rise the more extensive North and South Chuisky.

After a long day’s drive from Barnaul, followed by a two-day approach with horsemen, the team established base camp. Over the next eight days they placed two advanced camps and made five ascents. Their liaison officer, Igor Fediaev, from the Russian agency K2 Adventures, had visited the area but not ascended any mountains. He believed no one had climbed there, but the British found cairns and a hammer-and-sickle sign on a walk-up summit above base camp. On the four other summits climbed, Peak 3,071m (N 50°22.336', E 87° 45.829', PD, May 30), Peak 3,259m (N 50°21.925', E 87°45.842', PD, May 31), Peak 3,089m (N 50°22.414', E87°47.014', PD, June 2), and Peak 3,167m (N 50°23.938', E 87°45.045', F, largely walking, June 3), they discovered no sign of previous activity and feel these may have been first ascents. Climbs were on snow and rock, with no need for a belay.

At the end of the expedition Freear and Moss walked south into the fringes of the North Chuisky and on June 7 completed the locally well-known Teacher Horseshoe (F), which reaches an altitude of 3,179m at N 50°5.305', E 87°45.174'. Throughout the expedition the weather was perfect and surprisingly hot, meaning that snow conditions were generally poor, as indeed is the rock in this area.

Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, Tim Moss, U.K.

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