American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Teke-Tor (4,441m), northeast face, Korean Light Way

Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz Ala-Too, Ala-Archa Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Supplied by Peter Jensen-Choi
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

The Corean Alpine Club sponsored a four-man team to climb the northeast face of Teke-Tor in the Aksai Range. Ahn Chi- young, Kim Kyoung-rae, and Lee Ki-geun completed their new route, Korean Light Way, on July 9.

The first seven pitches consisted of easy snow and ice (45-60°) to the main headwall. Rockfall was a constant concern. From the eighth pitch onward, the real climbing began. By afternoon, the climbing became vertical, and as the leader dry-tooled up steep rock he had to take care to avoid pitching rock onto the climbers below. The rock was so poor and cracks so flaring that solid protection placements often could not be found. At 4 p.m. lightning and hail showers began, and fog inundated them completely. The climbers waited out the storm for 30 minutes and then climbed with haste for fear conditions would worsen. After 16 pitches they reached the left shoulder of Teke- Tor and climbed easier terrain to reach the top just past 9 p.m.

The team descended via the north ridge until they were halted by darkness and rested until 4 a.m. They continued down a snow and scree gully and reached base camp 36 hours after leaving.

Supplied and translated by Peter Jensen-Choi

Editor’s note: Teke-Tor’s climbing history is not well documented, but at least two other ascents of this face appear to have been completed. Florian Hill (Germany) and Mariew Vasily (Russia) climbed the “east face” by a route they called Djamila (880m, V+ M4+). And in 2009 a Latvian team climbed the buttress on the left side of the northeast face (Russian 3B/4A UIAA IV+), left of the Korean route, descending by the north ridge and gully. It’s likely that many ascents from the Soviet era also were completed on this peak.

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