Sep 6, 2012

Aksu, an adventure from start to the very end

Part II (IIII), 4810*, Getting there, Perestroika Crack, le d' Tour le Aksu!

Getting there, the Aksu part II

It was a long time ago since I saw the first pictures from the Aksu and Karavsu area. The mountains looked hostile and the climbing just grim. Big blank wall in a sea of granite, just to be climbed by Russian super climbers with no fear.

Then this articles came 2001 with Beth Rodden and company being taken as hostages by the guerilla in this area. Ok so no trip there for while. The thing is that it wasn't just them being taken, it was a team of Japanese geologist in 1999 as well as Germans and Ukrainians 2000. During the attempt to free them 22 of the Kirgis troops lost their life's. All hostages were released or escaped unharmed though.

More to read about this via this link

Time for holiday 2012

But, when we started to talk about summer holidays I was quick to suggest a trip during August to be sure to be away from any mt Blanc work. And, August is a perfect time for Kyrgiztan and maybe time to go? And well Anna wasnt hard to convince. Next week we had reservated flight tickets and in a couple of weeks I had arranged the trip, permits and everything.

Turkish Airlines has good connections to Bishkek and now also direct to Osh from Istanbul. Not to expensive either.

So on the 8th of August we arrived Bishkek and got on a domestic flight to Osh and from there an as always in this areas interesting and dusty car trip that took us to Batken. A five hour dust trip passing Uzbekistan on the way. Be prepared for surprises when traveling in these areas, beweare!

After a short stop on the local Bazar in Batken we continued the trip towards Uzgarish, after a simple border control, but we would learn to know better!

Big! serious shopping! Food for 3 weeks, we ain't gonna be fat partner!
A night at the apricots grove
Arriving at the road end we had a nice evening at a place with a mr Nuriddin, local hero. Packed up our tent and finally got a good night sleep after many hours of traveling. Next day we had a quiet breakfast, a bit to quiet because our horse transport took a bit longer to show up then told, and no one really spoke any else then Kyrgis or Russian, not any of my best languages...

But, a couple of hours later mr Muchtaar showes up with horse and everything. We load the horse and of we go, for a 43km hike in the sun!

The walk in is not pleasant for the first 10-15 km, just dusty and hot. The only up cheering moment was a snake that took my focus for a while. And since we couldn't really speak to our local horseman it was hard to know how far it would be. But we kept on just walking. But, the farther we went the more interesting the landscape began to be, more mountains and more shades! And, mountain streams of water!

And we also pass the most greatest place with as much apricots as one would like to pick, so wew are not late to fill up a couple of kilos. A real oas!
But after about 11 h walking we throw le serviette in and put up the tent for the night. Meanwhile our horse and driver continued to the BC too be meet up next day.

Arriving BC
The last bit up to our home for the next 3 weeks took about an other 3 hours walk, passing a military post on the way, who was very interested to know if we wasn't Russians after all!? Very friendly though and eager to show us the right and best way. Which wasn't to obvious if you as we never been here before. So in the end I found my self tracking our horse from the day before up the tracks and finally I saw our bags and Muchtaar sitting under a big rock, made it!

To start with we got a most stunning lunch, a local meal called "Tamac", different variations of Pasta or nudles with sometimes meat and potatos with vegetables in a lot of oil, very good! A meal we came to look forward to many times.

Our best neighbors at "Rocky inn", Nassir, the boy to the very right, made the best Tamac ever. He stayed for 3 months looking after the sheeps for the man to the left, Hamid, with a big boulder cave as his home

Then spending some hours to rise BC, putting up or gigantic BC Hilleberg tent and covering a relax area with a tarp. Then off for some bouldering. Yes, great to put the fingers on the Aksu granite!

Russian Tower in the background, local heros in the foreone

Next day wasn't any to loose so we headed off for a climb on Petit Tour Rousse, turned out to be a variation of an old Russian aid climb, that we freed up to 7a over seven pitches. With some great off width runouts!

Petit Slesov/Tour Rousse
The climbing is just as good as I suspected, rock solid granite with the most stunning cracks in every size. And it's just pure happiness to get the hands on this jewels, thanks!
After spending some time on the summit looking for the rappel anchours we skipped it and rappeled the face instead, don't bother to do any else. It's just complicated.

The next days just showes stable sunny weather, perfect climbing temperature around 15 degrees Celsius, a bit warmer in the sun. But with a warm breeze it never feels to hot. But a tarp to cool of under is a good thing

So we decide to try out a new route on Slesov, the lower area under Perestroika crack. And finds almost beautiful line that finally takes us to the very base of perestroika.

16 pitches up to 6b, which we name "Lazy Lizzard"

Lazy Lizzard, 6b 16 pitches

Here we gets a good vuiew over our main goal, Russian Tower and the maybe best crack to be find.

-Seen any hand cracks around...?

Back "home" and the afternoon Coffey and a whiskey under the vest I can't wait any longer so we decide to head for perestroika the next day all ready. I mean why wait?!

to be continued...



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