Kyrgyzstan, Djangart new routes by Danish expedition
Danish alpinist Kristoffer Szilas reports about his expedition to the Djangart Region in Kyrgyzstan which resulted in four new routes.
"We were a group of six Danes and one Brit who explored the area from July 17th to August 3rd 2011. The team consisted of the following members: Carsten Cooper-Jensen (45), Jim Broomhead (32), Anders Hedeager Pedersen (30), Kristoffer Szilas (29), Sune Buur (29), Jakob Fisker (29) and Simon Lund Jensen (26).
This region has been visited by climbing expeditions in 2004, 2008 and 2010 but no one had previously climbed in the eastern part which we visited. We were inspired to visit this region after having read the trip report of the group that went to the western part last year.
We were flown in to our base camp by an old Russian helicopter to save time and to get to the more remote eastern part of the region. However, on the first day of the expedition it looked as if were not going anywhere, because the gas canisters we'd planned on using to melt snow weren't on the helicopter and our sat phone was not working either! To our extreme luck a family from Moscow trekked through our base camp the very next day and they had a sat phone we used to call for the helicopter to deliver the missing gas. The area has only had a handful of visits in the past and then we happened to be there on the very same day as the Russian family. They really saved our expedition..
During the next days we split into three separate teams and explored the mountains via four different glaciers. My climbing partner, Jim, and I managed to do the first ascent of a 5290m high mountain with one bivy at around 5000m. We named the mountain Peak Alexandra after his wife. Then we hiked 15km into the neighbouring valley and established camp up on the glacier to have a look at the highest peak in the area which is 5318m. However, this was too hard for us to attempt with the gear we had with us and because conditions were quite warm. This mountain remains unclimbed after being the objective of four expeditions!
We then decided to hike back to base camp and up to a 4950m mountain we had seen from there. We managed to climb this mountain despite white-out and some tricky Scottish-type verglas climbing, but on the way down the sun came out a warmed up the snow from the previous days of bad weather and soon we found ourselves down-climbing in a dangerous avalanche trap and were hit several times. Luckily we down-climbed steep ice fields where we could place good ice screws, so we were not swept off the mountain. We returned safely to base camp and decided to call the mountain Peak Lea after my girlfriend.
We met the other expedition members back in base camp who had also had a successful trip by climbing a 5190m mountain they named Peak Pernille and a 4885m mountain they named Peak Kathryn. They also made unsuccessful attempts on Pt. 5112 and 5025.
In short, we carried out some first ascents of several mountains in a remote region of the world and had a real adventure. What more could you ask for?"
The routes climbed:
Peak Alexandra (5290m) "Bivouac - French for Mistake" (D: 5.4, 70,700m) Jim Broomhead and Kristoffer Szilas
Peak Pernille (5190m) "Waiting for the Tide" (AD: 55, 700m) Sune Buur, Jakob Fisker and Anders Hedeager Pedersen
Peak Lea (4950m) "Mermaid" (D: M4, 70, 500m) Jim Broomhead and Kristoffer Szilas
Peak Kathryn (4885m) "Russian Roulette" (AD: 60, 700m) Carsten Cooper-Jensen and Simon Lund Jensen
Kristoffer Szilas, Denmark