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Climbing on peak of Khan-Tengri.

Group inclusive tour Kyrgyzstan.

"The grandiose Tien-Shan mountain system extends from the ends of the horizon with its glaciers and snowfields. This entire region is illumined by the gold, orange and red of dusk, while Mt. Khan-Tengri towers from on high, like a gigantic faceted ruby stone mounted on a dark turquoise sky"

M. Pogrebetskiy. 1931.

Leisure package tour in Kyrgystan.

The two branches of the Engilchek (Little Prince) glacier, the longest in Tien-Shan (65 km), are separated for forty kilometres by the Tengri-Tag mountain range. Here, between Severni (Northern) Engilchek and Juzhniy (Southern) Enghilchek are Pobeda Peak and one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, Khan-Tengri.
The starting point to reach this area is the International Mountaineering Camp of Karakara, which lies in an enchanting valley surrounded by verdant mountains and covered with woods and flowery meadows where horses roam freely. At 2,000 meters altitude, this camp has tents, a canteen, a cafe and a sauna.
It can be reached from Alma-Ata in eight hours by car or a half hour by helicopter, Khan Tengri (7,010 m). One thousand two hundred years ago Khan Tengri (Lord of the Spirits) was first mentioned in Chinese chronicles.
Many famous explorers and mountaineers such as Semionov and Merzbacher tried to reach it. The Ukranian alpinist M. Pogrebetskiy was the first person who succeeded in climbing it (1931). Passing from the south, he managed to solve the difficult problem of getting enough provisions for his long-term expedition in such a wild area by taking a caravan of horses to the foot of the mountain.
He then found the most logical way up to the top, which is now considered the classical route. In 1964 B. Romanov and K. Kuzmin opened the northern rib on the side of Northern Engilchek, on what is called the Marble Rib, along a series of marble chimneys from 6,000 to 7,000 meters altitude.
The eastern face was first climbed only in 1988. The most difficult routes from a technical standpoint are on the northern face, which rises up for 2,000 meters. They were opened in 1974 by E. Mislovskiy and B. Studetin.
The climb up Khan-Tengri is difficult indeed because of the extreme conditions: the frequent bad weather, the hurricane-like winds and the extremely low temperature. On an average the ascent up the normal route takes twelve days.
The record for the base camp-summit-base camp course is fourteen and-a-half hours, set by Gleb Sokolov, who won the contest held at Khan Tengri in August 1992. The starting point for the ascent of this mountain is the comfortable International Mountaineering Camp.
It is advisable to move to the base camp from here, and not directly from the capital of Kazakhstan; both camps belong to the same organisation. Nowadays this trip is made by helicopter. There are mountain climbers who recall having gone to the base camp on foot, accompanied by fifteen horses that transported their gear; in order to enable the horses to get over the glacier, they had to cut steps for part of the way. What today takes forty minutes by helicopter, was a three-day trip at that time.
The base camp has a permanent kitchen, a sauna and comfortable tents; it lies at the junction between the Southern Enghilchek glacier and the Zviozdochka (Little Star) glacier, at 4,000 meters altitude. After a few days of acclimatisation, climbers usually leave in the early afternoon to reach Camp I in 2-4 hours over the moraine and then over the snow.
The camp (4,100m) is situated at the foot of the long gully that is the first part of the route up Khan-Tengri. The view of the upper part of Mt. Voennikh Topografov (Military Topographer) (6,873 m) and Mt. Pogrebtskogo (6,527 m) is splendid: a vast expanse of blinding white enclosed in an amphitheatre of very high mountains with impressive glaciers.
Camp 2 (5,200 m) is situated in the middle of the Semenovskogo glacier icefall. You must start off from Camp I very early because in the afternoon avalanches from the top of Mt. Chapaeva (6,371 m) are frequent.
The route then becomes very tiring along the icefalls, where you may find a permanent rope, up to the steep climb up the snow (100 meters) under the col. In this part of the route the temperature usually rises in the afternoon, the sun is quite hot and the air suffocating; but despite the fatigue, in order to avoid the risk of slides it is advisable to continue along this route up to the col, where you can set up Camp 3 (3,900 m) in a tent or, in case of strong winds, in a snow cave.
From here you tackle the western ridge. At first you walk on snow, then the route is interrupted by short climbs over two or three meter-wide couloirs. In the most difficult parts there is a fixed rope that can be climbed with the aid of ascenders and clamps. 
Camp 4 is on the ridge at 6,400 meters. The route goes up a small path on the right and then there is the most difficult part of all, the large 150-meter dihedral, where there is a permanent rope. A snow ridge leads to the top.
 The West Ridge is almost always subject to a dangerous north wind that is sometimes so violent it can make you lose your balance. Here you must have good crampons, an ice axe and telescopic ski poles that are useful for going up the less steep snow slopes.
Along the return route the snow ridge is quite dangerous and you must be very careful, partly because fatigue makes it harder to concentrate; many mountaineers have fallen in this part of the route. The descent takes two days, including a one night stopover at Camp 3.

Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.Environs and sights of peak of Khan-Tengri and the Central Tien-Shan.

Authority:
http://mountains.tos.ru/clmb.htm

Photos by
Alexander Petrov and Vladimir Serbenko.