American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Mindzhar Valley, Peak 5,860m, Northeast Ridge; Peak 5,914m, Attempt

Kyrgyzstan, Pamir

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Oleg Silin
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

In AAJ 2017 I reported on first ascents near the Mindzhar Pass, around 30km west of Pik Lenin. We had hoped to continue further along the ridge in 2016, but poor weather prevented us, so I returned in August 2017, this time with Eduard Skukis.

After summiting Pik Yuhin (5,112m) near Lenin base camp, we drove to the Mindzhar Valley and then climbed east to Mindzhar Pass (ca 5,050m). It was much less snowy than in the previous year, enabling us to reach the pass in just two days from Lenin base camp. The weather was good, so next day we headed south across Pik 5,390m, continued southwest over Pik 5,414m, and descended the far side to MAI 50th Anniversary Pass. To this point we were retracing our 2016 journey. We continued for one hour generally southwest along the ridge toward unclimbed Pik 5,860m before camping for the night. Next day, over technically easy ground with many crevasses, we reached the top of 5,860m at 1 p.m. (39°21'5.20"N, 72°33'58.66"E). The next peak along the ridge to the southeast is 5,914m (39°19'57.69"N, 72°35'1.12"E). However, we decided to return to our previous tent and try the next day.

Next morning we headed directly from our campsite toward the summit of 5,914m, which involved crossing the upper icefall of the Kuzgun Glacier. Once through this obstacle, Eduard developed a headache and slight temperature. We stopped, made some tea, and subsequently decided to return; it was a shame, but there was no one else in the region to assist us if a problem developed. We had a great view across the glacier to unclimbed Pik 5,922m (39°20'35.66"N, 72°36'47.60"E), another good objective for future parties. Fortunately, by the time we had returned to the green fields of the Mindzhar Valley, Eduard had fully recovered.

Oleg Silin, Latvia

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