GORE-TEX Experience Tour – Turned back on Mount Kyzyl Asker (Kirgistan)
Turned back on Mount Kyzyl Asker (Kirgistan) – only 200 Meter below the summit. Just a few hours too late:
Ines Papert, Thomas Senf and Wolfgang Russegger journeyed to the southeastern region of Krygistan on September 21, 2010; to attempt a first-ascent in alpine-style on the South-East face of Mount Kyzyl Asker, which tops out at 5,842 meters.
Due to extremely nasty weather conditions, they made two attempts on the wall, only to be stopped just 200 meters below the summit. But for these climbers, one thing is certain: We’ll be back!
Improvisational abilities and spontaneity were well-tested on the first day of the journey. The original plan, to travel from the capital city of Bishek to the Kookshai Too Mountains with a truck, had to be abandoned.
The onset of winter came too early this year. Not only the budget, but also the time-schedule would be compromised, and it left them with the only possible alternative: to backtrack 350 kilometers on the street, to Naryn.
From Naryn, a helicopter transported the expedition to basecamp at 3,850m. From here, the Team spent a long day, transporting material up the impractical and pathless terrain, stretched out along fifteen kilometers, burning up valuable energy on the Kamovara Glacier. Finally, they set up an alternative base-camp at 4,600m (about 15,000 feet above sea level), now only a half-hour walk from the base of the SE Wall of Mt. Kyzyl.
Often, things occur much differently than expected.
When the weather was perfect, both Ines and Wolfgang caught nasty colds, and were forced to take a multi-day pause. And once both of them got well again, the weather got much worse. After the first attempt on the Wall and a seemingly endless bivy, the heavy snowfall, strong winds and rapidly sinking temperatures forced the climbers to retreat.
What followed was a ten-day waiting martyrdom in base camp and advanced camp. Finally, Charly Gabl from the Weather Office in Innsbruck sent some hope, as his news of an approaching nice weather-window boosted the motivation and enthusiasm of the entire Team. So, it’s now or never, even though there is two meters of fresh snow at the base of the Wall. Well-acclimatized, but at the same time battling against time restraints; on October 19th, Ines Papert, Thomas Senf and Wolfgang Russeger battled upward in a 17-hour push to the height of 5,668m.
The strenuous Ice- and Mixed-Climbing challenged the three alpinists enormously, nevertheless, they were able to climb over 1000 vertical meters on this day. On the steep upper section of the Wall, only 200 meters from the summit, they were forced to endure the hardest bivouac of their lives, as the forecasted foul-weather-front came one day too early.
Thick snowfall, piercing winds with temperatures around -30°C, avalanches cascading past, and the cook-stove finally losing it’s flame – a disillusioning situation, and the Team agreed and decided to abort the expedition. But not without stashing our gear and sixty rations of food in a safe spot.
The disappointment of not succeeding on the mountain was extremely bitter. But the fascination of this region, the mountain and the line of the route they found make up for the loss. 2011 will be the year when they return with their collected experience to see Mount Kyzyl Asker again.
Special Thanks To:
Our Expedition Sponsors: GORE-TEX Products, Arc‘teryx, Black Diamond, Julbo, Lowa, Exped, Red Fox, Suunto, Brandspot
The good spirits between Base camp and the base of the Wall: Franz Walter (Photo, Video, and technical support), Christian Materna (BR, Bavarian Broadcasting) and Sabine Bruckmeier (Winner of the GORE-TEX Experience Tour).
The German Embassy in Bishkek, who through considerable difficulties made a safe return trip to Germany possible.
Sasha Steiner and Robert Steiner and the AkSai Agency.