June 17, 2010

Khan Tengri 2004

On the road from Almaty to Khan Tengri Base Camp in 2004.

Since it's been pissing rain in the Rockies for the past three weeks, I haven't been taking too many fresh pictures - which is too bad cause the light and clouds have been pretty cool. Managed to get out to the Back of the Lake for two good days of climbing over the weekend, but apart from that, the local weather has been rugged. On Sunday, strongman Gery U, aka The Hampster Hunter (ask him abut this the next time you see him), and I pumped out 10 pitches between 5.11 a and 12b. Of course, I uttered the T-Word on most of these climbs.

But even if the rain doesn't do much for the climbing, it can do wonders for a man's nostalgia. Since I haven't been taking too many photos, I decided to pillage the old external drives to see what I might find. What I came up with were a few shots from a 2004 trip to guide Kazakhstan's 7000 meter Khan Tengri. I went there with my good friend and client Dave C. Dave is one of those tough Aussies who is unaffected by both altitude and alcohol, and these attributes served him well both on the mountain and in Almaty's various watering holes.

We tried to climb the mountain from the South Inylchek Base Camp. This route is steeper than from the mountain's North Inylchek Base Camp, but is also much safer. Infact, while we were there, eleven people were killed on the other route when a serac collapsed above them.

Unfortunately, we didn't summit the Peak on that trip. We ended up spending four nights in a snow cave at High Camp, but we never got the weather window. We did summit 20,000 ft Chapayev however which made us feel less worthless.

It is still a goal of mine to return to the Tien Shan Mountain Range. Of course, this has nothing to do with the climbing and everything to do with Almaty.

Getting ready to fly to Base Camp.

Camp 2 at around 18,000 feet.

Climbing above Camp 2.

Dave getting throttled at 20,000 ft on the summit of Chapayev. We climbed up and over this peak to reach High Camp on Khan Tengri.

In the snow cave at High Camp.

A snowy Camp 2.

Looking down at Camp 2.

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