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Ak-Su peak, 5355m

The author: Pavel Shabalin
Pavel Shabalin, Alexandre Ruchkin, Viktor Ostanin


Ak-Su - the White River

Peak Ak-Su Northern is situated in Pamiro-Alai mountain range in northern spurs of the Turkestan ridge near to a place of merge of gorges Kara-Su and Ak-Su. Its northern slopes look at the above-mentioned gorges. The maximum point of the area - peak Ak-Su Main, 5500m closes Ak-Su gorge and determines a microclimate in the gorge . Its strong congelation supplies the having glacier Ak-Su.

There is located the whole system of tops in this area with the altitudes from 4000 up to 5300m, which till the end 80th years were not climbed. In the second half of 80 years the teams of climbers from Odessa, Rostov, Saint Petersburg paved the first routes graded the maximum categories of complexity on tops Ak-Su, Petrogradets, Iskander, Alexander Block peak and others.

Ak-Su in wimter

In the end of the 80th years the area became one of the most popular in climbing in many respects due to the unique geological structure: the presence of the tops with vertical monolithic walls extended from 500 up to 1000 m and more.

The internal Championships of the USSR in rocky and technical classes were repeatedly organized here and many prize-winning places of the correspondence Championships were received for the ascents via a number of routes there. Some routes of 6-category go on Northern face of Ak-Su and climbed by teams leaded by Troschinenko, Popov, Chaplinsky, Moshnikov etc. there is one from not done problem sites still left unclimbed there: a corridor about 100 in width located between the routes of Moshnikov and Chaplinsky.

The gangway to the place of spending night under Northern wall of Ak-Su from the base camp at the river Ak-Su takes approximately 2 hours.

The main tops of the area
Ak-Su peak, 5355m, first ascent in1982
Alexander Block peak, 5239m
Iskander, 5120m
Petrogradets, 5163m

Ak-Su, North Face. The top part of Pershin's bastion

Ak-Su, Chaplinsky's route. At a level of "Nose".

Ak-Su, Moshnikov's route. The beginning of Moshnikov's split.

Ak-Su, Ruchkin is climbing on Moshnikov's split

Ak-Su, Higher than "cross"

Alexander Block peak, 5239m.Western face.


Ak-Su. The most known routes

By courtesy of Mr. Shabalin

1 - Left pillar, North face, 6A, V. Kavunenko, 84

It is considered the most dangerous route on the wall. Whole bottom and middle sites of the route up till to the output on the roof of the pillar is stone bombed. Fallings of snow cornices, ice and huge stone-blocks are probably equal, therefore it is impossible to predict a time of coming falling. According to the present information, in 3 groups from 6 climbed the route there were wounded the participants, one of accident had the fatal outcome. Probably, it is the most suitable variant for climbing on Ak-Su in winter. According observations in February 1996 at this time the danger does not exceed the average one on the other sites of the wall. The crux of the route the middle site of the pillar up to the ice tie.

2 - Centre of North face 6B, V. Popov, 86.

The team of 11 climbers did this super for 11 days under unfavourable weather conditions. The bottom part of the wall (up to a snow spot) has the main crux: it is possible to work on it only till 2-3 p.m. Later whole this huge chimney filled by a falling water. The main difficulties start higher a "cross" a white quartz line, as four cords, crosses the whole wall above the snow spot. The second ascent was made by a two men team (!) Babanov- Ruchkin in 1983 for 13 days in bad weather conditions. This ascent corresponds to the tendencies of modern world mountaineering. Under the optimum condition of the route and the ideal weather this ascent will take 8 days. There are not any suitable places for camps on whole route. The climbers have to use a rigid portaledge with the waterproof top.

3 - Centre of N. wall through "Nose", P. Shabalin, 94, 6, (Diretissima, the bottom site (2/3 of the route) coincides with Popov's route "Nose", in the top part goes on a light brown line - 14 ropes (4 - bolts, holes; 4 - difficult aid-climbing, further mixed site, 5-category-graded and the output direct to a down loop)). First climbing up to Nose is 6 days, "Nose" - 6 days. Today you can climb via the already bolted wall for 8-9 days. You should have got removable bolts 8 and 10 mm.

4 (grey line) North face, first ascent, Ruchkin-Odintsov, 96, 6B, The bottom site coincides with Moshnikov's route.

The route was climbed for 9 days. It is an excellent route with a minimum bolt work. After it going on the ridge it leaves to made 2 pitches up to the top.

5 (black line) Centre, North face, I. Chaplinsky, 88, 6B,
It's the most beautiful and logical route via the centre of the wall. Up to the "cross" it coincides with the Popov and Shabalins routes, further it goes to right upwards small ice rivers and streams. It is a perfect mix of 5-6-cetegories graded and it has more free climbing in comparison with other routes. It was climbed for the first time by Ukraine team for 11 days, the second ascent was done by a two men team Ruchkin - Pjanzin in 1995 for 7 days, the third- by Antonov- Shabalin in 1995 for 6 days.

6 (white line) via Couloir, North face, Moshnikov, 84, 6,
There is a usual opinion about this route as the most dangerous route. But with the right tactics and maintenance of the right temporary schedule (start at night, passage "ice snot" till 2-3 p.m.) it becomes not more dangerous, than other routes. A middle site is very abrupt, snowy and icy rocks, and climbers have problem with point of belaying. It consists of aid-climbing and difficult climbing in crampons. Moshnikov's split the most interesting part of the route. Huge blocks, extended cracks, chimneys, cornices, ice rivers make the route more spirited. First ascent was made for 7 days by team from St.Petersburg in 1984, the second ascent was in 1993 and took 8 days in bad weather conditions. Two men team Ruchkin -Piyanzin did the third ascent for 5 days in 1995. It hardly can be done faster.

7 (black) North face, L. Troschinenko, 82, 6,

Probably it is the most beautiful and pleasant route via the northern wall of Ak-Su. It has already climbed more than 10 times, but it has not become easier from that fact. It consists of excellent rocks, available places for bivy, good possibilities for belaying and a lot of different technical obstacles. The best time of its ascent is 5 days with optimal weather conditions. From a place of a output on the ridge up to the top is a day of good work.

8 (white) - Right pillar, North face, 6, V. Vasiliev, 84,

It is a difficult route, though less extended in comparison with other routes (wall site). Though the ridge of Ak-Su is not a present, however, on all points of views, it concedes the routes of 6-category described earlier. It was climbed twice, the second time in 1991 by a command from Almaaty.


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