Orto-Chashma Gorge, Pik Ostryi

Kyrgyzstan, Pamir Alai, Karavshin
Author: Nadya Oleneva. Climb Year: 2021. Publication Year: 2022.

In the summer of 2021, Maria Dupina, Marina Popova, and I (all from Russia) made the first ascent of Pik Ostryi (“Sharp Peak,” 4,818m), located in the Orto-Chashma Gorge. Our expedition was supported by a Grit & Rock grant.

The Orto-Chashma Gorge is located between the better-known Karavshin and Lyailak gorges. There is a good path to the confluence of the Ak-Tyubek and Dukenek rivers. The latter is the easterly of the rivers flowing into the gorge, and higher along the Dukenek only local shep- herds and their flocks walk; climbers rarely visit. Unnamed Pik 4,818m (39°35’06”N, 70°07’53”E), a beautiful granite needle, had caught our attention in a photo taken by trekkers. The mountain projects from a ridgeline extending to the southeast from Pik Alexander Blok toward Turo Pass, part of the frontier with Tajikistan.

After setting up base camp, we placed an assault camp right under the wall, by the glacier. We spent several days carrying loads to this camp, and after looking at various options, we decided to climb the steep east ridge.

On August 4, we left camp at about 4:30 a.m. and climbed up the shoulder under the ridge. At 6 a.m. we began the technical climbing, at first mostly easy but with short difficult passages (up to 6b), leading toward a huge roof line, which we skirted on the right. The terrain here was quite difficult, and due to bad weather (including falling snow) and wet rock, it was not possible to free climb it—a 50m section was aided. Above this, good cracks led back left and then up again; some additional aid was used in icy cracks here. No bolts were placed. In good weather, the entire route could be climbed free.

On top of the ridge, we leveled a site for a tent and spent the night. The next morning, at 8 a.m., we began to move along the ridge, passing to the left around gendarmes. Before the second gendarme, we rappelled 20m to the left and then climbed back to the ridge. The length of the ridge was 400m (II-III). We were on top by 10 a.m.

Neither on the wall nor on top, nor on the descent, did we find any traces of other people, so we can say with confidence this was the first ascent: Russian 5B UIAA VII+ A3. The vertical gain was 550m, with a total length (including the summit ridge) of 1,020m.

We descended to the west toward Tro-Block Pass, then continued down to the glacier under the walls of Pik Alexander Blok, making eight 50m to 60m rappels in all.

— Nadya Oleneva, Russia

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