author: Michael Mihajlov, Bishkek
"6613". A virgin summit
on Kurumdy peak
is situated to the east of Lenin peak and to the west of
check point Erkishtam. Three States borders (China,
Tadjikistan and Kyrghyzstan) converge on the next peak Zarya
Vostoka (Dawn of the East)(6349), traverse ascended for
the first time by a group of tourists (leader- Alexander
Novik, Moscow) in the summer of 2000. There were some unsuccessful
attempts to climb Kurumdy peak earlier, however all of them
For last three years
a popularity of this area increased especially among Englishmen.
In 90 year English expedition during 40 days tried to subdue
the peak but unsuccessfully, the last year the Russian and
Uzbek expeditions ended with the same result. And in the
Soviet years, I think, this area was much less popular by
comparison with such adjoining areas as Lenina Peak and
Communism Peak. There are a lot of rumours that this area
is very dangerous. But we personally did not meet any obstacles
on the side of frontier guards. There were a lot of expeditions
and trekking tours in those areas (Lenin, Kurumdy) all the
summer long. Any there were not any menacing situations
Map of the area
Kurumdy Peak (6613 m), Pamiro-Alai
range, Chon-Alaisky ridge. For a long time it drew attention of
many climbers, towering above a valley a huge white massif. But
all of the expeditions working in this area did not manage to
summit the top. But after 2000 the mountain was really attacked.
Two English, Polish and Czech teams couldn't catch a good fortune.
The autumn in Bishkek is time when all our command gathers in
city after a rough summer season. Alexander just arrived from
"south" and brought news about failure of the last expedition
on Kurumdy peak. They managed to ascend only up to the altitude
of 6300 m. and he suggested to organize new expedition. Having
a little conferred, we came to a conclusion, that the autumn is
the most successful season because the previous expeditions complained
of a plenty of a snow and strongly destroyed rocky breed on a
summit ridge on which the most logical way to top passed. It is
much less snow in the autumn and a rock is frozen. The one minus
is low temperatures. Having prepared for two weeks we moved forward.
The ancient city of Osh met
us with hospitality and abundance of fruit. As against in summer,
the crowd on a market did not dazzle people with backpacks any
more: the season on Pamir was finished. Without any adventures
we got in the Base camp (3600 m) and settled a small, but cosy
camp which included inhabited tents, kitchen, a dining room and,
certainly a broadcasting center, whence we could to transfer and
receive greetings from house.
Next day in two groups we went
for investigation to define where the most logical route to the
advanced base camp, which we planned to set directly under the
Day appeared successful, we
found a place for the camp, and moreover we climbed a mountain
(4730). From here I took on video an excellent panorama of all
Kurumdy massif and peak Zarya Vostoka. In the first climbing we
settled ABC camp (3900 m). A snow -ice "knife" we climbed for
a day and settled the Camp I (4900 m) at the basis of the destroyed
rocky ridge. Next day we started to fixed the ropes on the basic,
most complex part of the route. Rocky sites (4A - 4B) are strongly
destroyed, sites of ice came across.
We meet traces of previous
climbers (rope loops, bolts and other things). This day we fixed
300 m of the rope. Then we had a day of rest, the auxiliary group
brought ropes. Next day we fixed 350 m of the rope more and settled
the Camp II (5400 m). After a dinner the weather sharply worsened.
All the night long it was snowing. It was windy in the morning,
but the sky was clear.
We decided not to fix the rope
further and to climb the ice-snow ridge with seldom rocks straight
off without preliminary processing. We descended to the BC to
have a rest. The route was fixed; condition of the participants
was normal. There was only one open question: could the young
climbers independently climb above camp 2 in winter conditions.
We solved that the experience of high-altitude ascents was better
to get in the summer and on more simple routes. Therefore the
final push we were going to make four together, the other group
leaded by Popov F.E. would leave together with an assault group
in the Camp II for support.
On October 10 we left
the Camp 2 (5400 m) in two two-men teams: Alexander - Oleg and
Vitalik and I. The weather did not please to us. All the night
it was snowing. And in the morning the situation did not change:
visibility was no more 50m.
We removed one tent and took
it for summit push and left the second for descent. The condition
of snow was excellent - firn, but on abrupt sites it crumbled
and opened ice. In places we met short hard-destroyed sites of
rocks. The ridge practically everywhere breaks snow cornices on
the East side. By five o'clock our altimeter showed the altitude
of 6080 m.
A visibility hardly improved,
and it became clear, that we climbed on the basic ridge leading
to the top, there still left about 600 more meters on height,
and it was not known, how many meters on distance left (from the
base it was looked very far). We built a platform and we settled
a tent. The amplified gusts of a wind cleaned the sky, and opened
stars. We went to night with hope for good weather and a tomorrow's
All the night long a wind stormed,
driving fresh snow on slopes. Snow powder could percolate a fabric
of our tent. And the effect was amazing - the tent inside did
not strongly differ from the street. We made an attempt to leave
on the final push, but the wind forced down a snow, and we couldn't
see anything through a drifting snow. We crept back in the tent,
we directed it in "order" and we waited, when the wind would calm
down a little. Periodically we crept out to dig out the tent.
So we stayed there all the day but in any way we still had one
chance. If weather did not improve, we had to wait a day more.
And in that case we would run of food and gas. We went to bed
under a crash and slapping of the tent.
On October, 12 the Morning
met us with all the same wind, but without gusts. It was a few
drifting snow, but all the snow was blown off for the previous
day. It gave us any hope. We quickly had breakfast, packed and
left our "kennel". The wind was still strong but we could to move….
"…After some more meters
and in some minutes and we were going to reach the top … We needed
to take breath, evading from strong gusts of a wind. But no, there
was not the top. We were mistaken. The ridge turned round sharply
on the West, smoothly, with ascent. As the wind blew directly
to face with sharp impulses it drove crusted snow. My heart was
beating whether of sensation of the high altitude or of presentiment
of affinity of a victory.
The summit ridge appeared
rather short. And in 10 minutes at 1.43 I and Vitaliy Akimov summited
the top. After a two-daily roar a silence suddenly came in ears.
There was the blue-black sky without any cloud above and a tremendous
panorama was around: Lenina peak, Communism peak -to the West
and Korzheneva peak - to the southwest. On the east, right before
us there towers peak Zarya Vostoka (Dawn of the East), and to
the south - two Chinese giants Kongur-Tag and Mustag-Ata grew
directly from fulvous desert. We took a photo and went in quest
of the cairn (Had anybody been here before?). Our searches were
unsuccessful. We built the cairn of rocky bars in twenty meters
to the south and began descending quickly. Hardly below we met
Alexander Gubarev and Oleg Turaev climbing upwards. Having taken
a photo we wished them of good luck and we continued to descend
up to the camp II (5400 m). After spending two nights at 6100
at a gale-force wind and in the ice covered tent we felt ourselves
like in a resort here. We drank tea without any sweet left putting
by our last package of soup for a tomorrow breakfast. It was going
to be a heavy day of descent. And in the morning, having waited
Alexander and Oleg, who spent the night at 6100, together with
group of support we took off the ropes and descended to the ABC