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Author: Anatoly Dguly, Moscow, Russia.

The Chinese Tien-Shan

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.
Part 4.

Schedule of the ascent:

6/08-7/08 – approach from the Base Came to the edge, carrying cargos

8.08 – processing-passing the “cowstones” (10 ropes), carrying cargos

9.08 – Setting off, passing 26 ropes up to the bivouac. In the evening it started snowing.

10.08 – Carrying cargos, taking the ropes away, processing rocky cowstones ( 150 m ).

11.08 – Passing cowstones, father 300 m of snow-ice ridge with cornices up to bivouac, carrying cargos, taking the ropes away, processing forward along pointed ridge for 150 m . more.

12.08 – Ridge with cornices with short hard rocky strips, all in all up to the bergschrund 600 m . We carried cargos to the last 5 ropes. That day heavy wind was blowing, in the evening it started snowing.

13.08 – Processing. About 4 ropes across the bergschrund and along an easy ridge, further along the ice – under pointed ridge with cornices, further – rocky wall, again steep ice, again a wall, then a very difficult rocky-snow-ice ridge, so, for that day we had fixed 10 ropes.

14.08 – Snowfall, wind, very low visibility. We went on fixing ropes. Traverse along the ice slope 50-55 degrees steep. Then below cornices to a rocky ledge. From the ledge upwards along porous ice (ice screws – into thick icicles) for 25- 30 m , then traverse to the left along rocks covered with snow beside a red wall to a rocky-ice couloir 50-70 degrees steep, along which about 120- 150 m upwards, and further difficult climbing to the left along a rocky wall of 80 degrees for 10 meters to the ridge. Carrying cargos along previous 10 ropes.

15.08 – Snowfall, wind, sometimes something can be seen. Going forward along fixed ropes. We processed 4 more ropes, 1,5 difficult across the hole in the ridge. The bivouac we made on 5788 m . Totally we had passed 20 ropes.

16.08 – Sun shone, heavy wind, then snowfall. All the day long we had been taking the ropes away (there was such a relief that it didn't matter to fix the ropes or to take them away). We made an exploring to the wall.

17.08 – Snowfall, heavy wind, but the visibility wasn't very low. We fixed 6 easy ropes, moved to the wall, to the altitude 6100. And carried all the cargos there.

18.08 – That day the weather was fine and we planned to pass the wall. Up to the bottom of the wall – 5 easy ropes along snow and rocks. The altitude of the beginning of the wall – 6100. Then 100 meters of hard climbing to the right from the rocky tower along chimney-couloir of 70-90 degrees. The tower can be rounded to the right along snow-ice ridge and rocks (100- 120 m ) to the second part of the wall, there 100 more meters of difficult climbing along the wall of 50-90 degrees, in the upper part there was marble. Processing of the strip took us 8 hours. The top point of the wall –about 6400 m .

19.08 – One more setting off. The weather was fine. Gorin had got laryngitis and refused to made the ascent, but was ready to wait for us on the bivouac 6010. We took everything we need for two-day ascent and went away. By the afternoon we reached the upper part of the wall with rucksacks. Then we fixed the ropes along slightly-sloping (up to 30 degrees steep) marble, it was slippery, was impossible to pass the strip with the rucksack, so we had to go with no luggage. For passing the next strip we took 4 ropes from the upper part of the wall. Further we fixed two ropes along the rocks, two – along the snow (it was very deep and crumbly, we were afraid of producing an avalanche), two along the ice. We made a bivouac in inflation between seracs on 40 degrees steep slope. 6471 m . A difficult night, all four-together in one tent.

20.08 – The top. We went away at 7.00 a .m. (according Moscow time). Moving in two-man teams along the ice, in some places covered with solid snow (there everything was blown away by heavy wind) up and to the left for 300- 500 m to the ridge. Further there was rocky ridge, moving in two-man teams along it for 150- 200 m , simultaneously, then marble zone of 40-65 degrees. 2 ropes (about 90 m ) and again moving in two-man teams simultaneously up to snow-ice couloir, further – moving in teams in crampons au to the top. At 12 o'clock we were on the top. We found two places for notes, and, correspondingly, two notes. There was very low visibility, snow was falling, there was nothing to take photos of. We started descending. On the descent – nearly hurricane wind, but on the other hand, the visibility became better, due to that fact it became easier to find a tent. The tent was covered with snow up to the roof and a little bit broken. We passed a very difficult night with continuous disentombing.

21.08 – low visibility, snowfall. We started the descent, finding out our hooks. The upper ones we passed through but found ourselves on the station below marble zone. From that place there were two ropes for descending using descenders down to the fixed ropes, so we couldn't miss then. Some of the ropes (6 items) we run through and took with us. By the afternoon, the dinner we had in the camp 6010, the weather had become better. We took 4 more ropes from the snow near the wall to leave them lower.

22/08 – The descent. We made a decision: to go down along a new route. In future it would be a nice descending variant (it could be too dangerous to make an ascent along it). We run quickly down to 5800, further went to the right, fixing diagonal ropes for descending using descenders to a rocky-ice couloir. Down to the bergschrund there were about 20-22 ropes, the most part of them was fixed on juts and hook, the less one – on ice screws. We took with us 6 ropes, the other left in different places. Further moving in teams, a fault 200 m high and then we came across one huger (300- 400 m ) fault, that we couldn't see from upwards. The bivouac we made to the left, on a slide-rocky crossbar, it was safe. In the first half of the day the weather was fine, by the evening it started snowing.

23.08 – Due to snowfall and low visibility we put the exploring to a morning time. While our breakfast was being cooked we found an easy pass to the left through a counterfort. As a result – 3.5 ropes (130- 150 m ) along rocky plates, with crossing a dangerous (falling stones) couloir down to a hanging wall, further going afoot in crampons along conglomerate-ice-rocky ledge t the left and along idem couloir down to the glacier. It took us 2 hours. Further across the ice fall of the glacier Chonteren to the right side to a screes (2 hours 30 minutes, H=4600 m) and along the screes, open glacier descent to the BC (2-4 hours).

Strips of the route.

R 0 Snow-ice slope of 20-50 degrees steep 0.2-3
R 1 “Cowstones” – rocky slope, average steepness 40 degrees, somewhere up to 60 degrees 0,36 3+-4+
R 2 Rocky slope with ice strips covered with snow, 30-45 degrees, then right counterfort and ice-rocky couloir up to the left counterfort. Steepness up to 55 degrees 0.2 3-4
R 3 Vastly destroyed rocky ridge (counterfort), traverse along the wall across the couloir up to the ridge, steepness 30-70 degrees. 0.24 3+-4
R 4 Narrow rocky ridge with strips up to 80 degrees steep, cowstones, ice cornices. 0.29 4+-5+
R 5 Narrow steep (up to 50 degrees) snow-ice ridge with cornices. Traverse along the ice below cornices. 0.14 5
R 6 Snow-ice-rocky ridge, strips with rocky walls 3- 8 m high, up to 80 degrees steep. 0.4 4-5
R 7 Snow-ice slope up to 40 degrees, 230 m long. 0.23 3-3+
R 8 Bergschrund, snow-ice slope, further ridge with rocky outcrops. 0.2 3-4
R 9 Narrow snow-ice ridge with cornices, traverse along the ice below cornices (up to 50 degrees). 0.1 5
R 10 Snow-ice-rocky ridge with strips up to 70 degrees 0.08 5-5+
R 11 Narrow snow-ice ridge with cornices, traverse along the ice below cornices (up to 55 degrees) 0.14 5-5+
R 12 Rocky-ice couloir, further traverse to the left along the wall along ledges (up to 70 degrees) up to the couloir. 0.06 5-5+
R 13 Rocky-ice couloir of 50-70 degrees steep, at the end – rocky wall of 80 degrees 10 m high. 0.12 5-5+
R 14 Easy snow-ice ridge with cornices 0.07 3-3+
R 15 Hole in the ridge. Moving with descenders for 3 m , rocky-ice ridge 40 m long of 45-60 degrees steep. 0.045
R 16 Easy snow-ice ridge with cornices up to hanging glacier (big cornice), further the same ridge with rocky outcrops, steepness 50 degrees, up to the bottom of the wall. 0.6 3-4+
R 17 Rocky wall of 70-90 degrees steep 0.08 5+-6
R 18 Snow-ice-rocky ridge, slope (of up to 70 degrees) rounding the rocky tower and further up to the bottom of the wall 0.11 4-5
R 19 Rocky wall, of 50-90 degrees. 0.09 5-5+
R 20 Snow-ice-rocky slope of 30-60 degrees 0.08 4-5
R 21 Snow slope with rocky outcrops, avalanche-hazardous, traverse to the right to the ice faults, steepness 30-40 degrees. 0.06 3
R 22 Ice slope, faults, steepness up to 45 degrees, somewhere covered with snow. 0.35 3-4
R 23 Rocky ridge, 40-50 degrees. 0.2 3-4
R 24 Marble zone of the rocky ridge, up to 60 degrees steep. 0.09 5
R 25 Rocky ridge, then snow-ice couloir up to the top, steepness 30-50 degrees.
General extension of the route (approximately) 4.93 ( 4130 m of fixed ropes)

To be continued…

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