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From left to right: Lisi Steurer, Alex Blümel, Manuel Steiger, Max Reiss, Michael Zwölfer, Roman Weilguny (kneeling)
Photo by Japs
Michael Zwölfer climbing Pik Zuckermann (5045m)
Photo by Japs
Durig the first ascent of the new route up the East Face of Peak Gronky, Kyrgyzstan
Photo by Japs
Pik Gronky (5080m) Kookshal Too, Kyrgyzstan
Photo by Japs
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Mountaineering: new Austrian climbs in Kyrgyzstan

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Last summer an Austrian expedition comprised of Alex Blümel, Max Reiss, Manuel Steiger, Lisi Steurer, Roman Weilguny and Michael Zwölfer made the first ascent of three new climbs in Kyrgyzstan.

In August and September 2016 a Austrian expedition comprised of the young alpinists Roman Weilguny (leader), Maximilian Reiss, Manuel Steiger and Michael Zwölfer and the two mountain guides Alex Blümel and Lisi Steurer successfully established three new climbs in the Kookshal Too massif in Kyrgyzstan, on the border with China.

The Austrians reached Komorova valley, east of more famous Kyzyl Asker valley, towards the end of August. After two days in base camp at 3800m they acclimatized by ascending Pik Beggar (4720m), Pik Lyev (4710m) and Unnamed Peak (4.963m) and then established an Advanced Basecamp on Pik Gronky (5080m).

On 4 September Manuel Steiger, Alex Blümel and Lisi Steurer climbed a line up Pik Gronky's East Buttress (800m, IV+, M5, 75°), while Reiss, Weilguny and Zwölfer attempted an ice couloir on the mountain’s east face. Due to hollow ice they retreated after two pitches but during their descent they noticed a feasible rock climb through the righthand side of the face and ascended 150m, before descending to ABC in the dark.

On 5 September two teams set off in two different directions once again: Weilguny and Zwölfer made their way up the steep north face of Pik Zuckerman (5.045m) to make the first ascent of Pizzeria Komorovan (600m, M4, 90°) in a 14-hour push, while Reiss and Alex Blümel completed the line up the East Face of Pik Gronky attempted the previous day. A Bang for a Buck ascends 350m of excellent granite past difficulties up to 6b+, WI5, M6 and was climbed, like the previous two routes, without adding any bolts. On 6 September the alpinists returned to Base Camp and started the long journey back home.

The expedition was the culmination of a two-year project launched in 2014 by the Austrian Mountaineering Club for budding alpinists aged between 18 and 24, mentored by mountain guides and experienced alpinists such as Hansjörg Auer, Much Mayr, Hannes Leitner, and as in this case, Alex Blümel and Lisi Steurer.

THE CLIMBS
Pik Gronky, East Buttress (5080m), 800m, IV+, M5, 75° Manuel Steiger, Alexander Blümel, Lisi Steurer, 04/09/2016
Pik Gronky East Face, 'A Bang for a Buck' (6b+, WI5, M6, 350m Maximilian Reiss, Alexander Blümel, 05/09/2016
Pik Zuckerman (5045m) North Face, 'Pizzeria Komorova', Nordwand 600m, M4, 90° Roman Weilguny, Michael Zwölfer, 05/09/2016

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