Surmetash Valley, Archakanysh Gorge, Sauk Dzhaylyau Central, Northeast Face

Kyrgyzstan, Pamir Alai
Author: Anna Piunova. Climb Year: 2019. Publication Year: 2020.


Leaving the bivouac on September 7, 2019, at 4,480m on the northeast face of Sauk Dzhaylyau Central. Supplied by Anna Piunova

The development of the Sauk Dzhaylyau Cirque began in 1977 with a visit by climbers from Leningrad. Expeditions then came regularly: in 1978, 1980, 1984, and 1986. In the post-Soviet period, there are known to have been visits in 1992 and 1995, then nothing for many years. Recent history has only two expeditions, both in 2015, and both organized by Alexey Tyulyupo. The first, with the Glazunov brothers, climbed two new routes in the summertime (AAJ 2016). The second, in mid-September of that year, and comprising just Tyulyupo and Anton Kashevnik, attempted the northeast face of Sauk Dzhaylyau Central (5,227m) but was unsuccessful.

Kashevnik and Tyulyupo returned in September 2019 for the same objective. The idea was to complete the obvious ice line through the headwall between two large rock buttresses with existing routes. They also wanted to climb as clean as possible, in alpine style, with no aid, and with both members free climbing each pitch.

The two left camp at 7 a.m. on September 6 and ascended the lower glaciated slopes (850m, average 55°), negotiating several steep ice walls, to a bivouac in a bergschrund at 4,480m. Next day they surmounted the short, overhanging bergschrund wall and climbed ice slopes up to 75° to reach the mixed entry to the steep ice ramp splitting the headwall. This is the crux and there was no possibility to bivouac properly until they reached a traverse out left to a terrace in rocky terrain at around 4,965m.

On the 8th they climbed more steep ice and a little mixed to reach the summit at 4:30 p.m. They descended to their bivouac at 4,480m and the following day reached the glacier, and their camp, around midday. The vertical height of the climb was measured as 1,377m, but the total amount of climbing 1,750m. The route was graded 6A/ED, WI5 M5.

– Anna Piunova,, Russia

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