Seven world-firsts for intrepid climbing team

Sep 17, 2013
Seven world-firsts for intrepid climbing team
Clay, George, Ross and Harry on the summit of Pik Kasparov.

A team of climbers from the University of Bristol have successfully achieved seven world-firsts, summiting seven previously unclimbed peaks in the remote and unknown mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

The steep challenge lasted for 18 days in the Djangart mountain range – on the border between Kyrgyzstan and China – with a range of challenging and unknown terrain.

The six climbers comprised 4th year students Harry Kingston, Harry Bloxham and Alistair Docherty, plus graduates Ross Davidson, Clay Conlon and George Cave.

They all met at Bristol University and had little previous experience of climbing until they joined the University of Bristol Expeditions Society (UBES) and the University of Bristol Mountaineering Club (UBMC).

With many European alpine trips and remote exploratory mountaineering in the Russian Altai under their belts, they wanted a major challenge and began planning the trip last October.

There are a lot of unclimbed mountains in the former soviet states and the Djangart mountains were selected because they're not high enough to require oxygen but are more of a challenge than the Alps or other well-known places.

The main goal had been to climb Pik 5318m, which had never been conquered before, but they learnt that a group of American climbers managed to climb it just two weeks previously.

Seven world-firsts for intrepid climbing team
Ross tackles the final ridge towards the summit of Pik Currahee (5025m).

Instead, they set their sights on climbing as many peaks as possible during their time in Kyrgyzstan and managed to achieve seven first ascents, including Pik Currahee (5,025m) which took 16 hours to climb and a total of 29 hours on the mountain.

George said: "Despite the initial setback, the expedition was a great success and we were lucky enough to experience some of the best alpine ice the team had every encountered. To achieve seven first ascents was brilliant.

"We celebrated with bread, chess and vodka before being collected from basecamp by a Kyrgyz military helicopter after 18 days in the valley. With a total of seven new routes on previously unclimbed and no serious injuries or mishaps, we're delighted with the great success of the whole trip."

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