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Koshtan (5151m), North ridge, 4B, Caucasus, Russia
Pushkin peak North Face. Technical data of ascent

Author: Tsibanov Andrey, Moscow



Western Mizhirgi (5025m, Caucasus, Russia),
Southern ridge (5) ascent

Dykh-Tau (5204m) - Mizhirgi from the South

In August 2004 climbers from Moscow: Tsibanov Alexander, Tsibanov Andrey and Sadekov Zinur summited Western Mizhirgi, southern ridge 5-graded route.

The team aims to get a counter Silver stars of Bezengi, and have already climbed Dzhangi (5085m) and Koshtan (5151m) and have to climb two 5A-routes and two 5B-routes.

Generally speaking there is more interesting traverse via Borovikov's peak and further via Kletsko route, 5B, North face. But this climbing season we decided to climb Western Mizhirgi South face as we got insufficient acclimatization (only Selly pass 4300m).

On the ridge

On August, 8 we got under the saddle of Selly pass (4250m) and comfortably spent the night in a bergschrund. Next day we left at 9.00 in the morning having taken only two backpacks and one pair of crampons for three climbers, 13 friends, a pair of bolts and chocks and certainly a lot of loops that subsequently we used more often.


A view from the ridge of Mizhirgi

We moved roped up. Southern slopes appeared not dry as we thought. Already on one of the first pitches in a chimney, filled with an icicle and completely covered in snow and water ice, we finished free- and began aid climbing. And we were not first in that: we found that the route was bolted a lot.

It became absolutely warm, the route from did not turn off from the ridge, snow on stones started to thaw, our speed increased.

Having bypassed a buttress - rocky gendarme "Palets (Finger)", we led a pitch rappelling 60 m down couloirs, then 150 traverse-ascent couloirs, then rested against a wall of 10 meters. In one hour after aid-climbing the wall we were going to spend the night on a nice very comfortable ledge of 140 cm width under a hanging rock.

Spending the night

Ailama (4547m) from camp site on Mizhirgi

Having got up early at 4.00 we took a lot of photographs of dawn from the all sides, had breakfast and left only at 7.00. In addition we did not understand the route description and, bypassing rocky raise-slope from the left instead of from the right, we lost even an hour and half. This notorious rocky rise we accepted as for the third gendarme and tried to get out it head-on and found behind it a platform on two tents, but there is a constant wind there.

Dykh-Tau (5204m), a view from Mizhirgi

Stankevich's wall (in the description called The Third Gendarme) is the last serious crux on the route. (It was named probably so after in 1965 Valery Stankevich had been lost at descent there). But we thought that we had already passed this third gendarme, and, looking at it, we read under the description the passage of the following gendarme "Camel": The gendarme Camel to bypass on the rocks from the left . We looked at these monolithic rocks at the left, breaking in the left part by 200 meters faults and we started to be nervous: either we came not there, or they made mistakes in the description, or we just were too young to climb such routes if we could not just climb rocks from the left.

We set under the gendarme a little not knowing what to do. And decided to climb directly upwards. My brother started climbing a chimney first as a brave true rock-climber. I followed after him. Zinur was not so brave and wanted to sit there and wait when we summited and descended because he jugged slowly, his fingers hurt and he was exhausted.

My brother and I told him that we could hard descend his dead body together. Having heard such words, there and then Zinur free climbed off the third gendarme like a shot.

At the top

In one and half an hour, at 15.00, all of us were at the summit. Ascent on the tower appeared absolutely simple though it was covered in water ice.

We did not take off crampons as well as two liters of water, a heap of food and photo cameras. We just did not have time.

And descent appeared long, at a terrible wind - there was a thunder-storm near. When we were descending a gendarme, we were carried away on the East from the ridge on about ten meters.

We reached a spending the night place in twilight at absolutely bad weather and were exhausted very much.

Having had a good night, we left about 9.00 in the morning and started to rappel and by 14.00 were in Dzhangi-Kosh.

Below we had no ardour to climb Shkhara via Tomashek's route, 5B, as we had planned before. The route that we summited appeared not simple as it had seemed.

It seems to be true there are not easy 5-graded routes in Bezengi area.

Thunder-storm on Gestola at night

Gestola, a view from Mizhirgi, Southern ridge


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