Sep 7, 2012

Perestroika Crack, the ultimate crack climb

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

Perestroika Crack, told to be the no.1 granite crack climb!

I must say, after quite many great routes like Moonlight Buttress, Primrose Dihedrals, Castleton Tower, Vestpillaren on Presten Lofoten, Sydpillaren on Mongjura Romsdal or a great climb like Open Books in Yosemite and the Red Rock classic Cloud Tower. This is hard to beat!

After the initial warm up days in the Aksu valley we had a long relaxing day, none of us talking about it really. The day before we had put up e new route on Slesov or "magic mountain"

Hanging out with the locals, celebrating our new route

But we both knew that it was spoken, even though, unsaid. A strange but after a long time together not neccecery always to speak out load, it's just there. And we were both eager to get going. Nothing in the weather showed us any change from the pattern, warm an nice during the day, a bit of clouds in the late afternoon and with some rain over Karavsu valley. clearing in the evening.

Finally, over the second cup of espresso, we just started racking and packing the gear. Suddenly very intense with very focused minds. Quickly realizing that the bags would be heavy enough anyhow. Our plan was to walk up to the base of Slesov, climb the first four pitches and bivvy at the start of the fifth. With a big bivvy ledge more like a small football field, at least in this game!

The walk up is not to bad, 1 1/2h in a slow phase. No hurry, just to get up before dark. But the last bit over the massive stone fields are maybe not something one want to do to often though...

Arriving at the upper slopes there is a slab traverse out to the right and up to a ridge, avoiding the loose kind of looking, and it is loose believe me, steep walls above and where the rappels comes down.

On the ridge there is a nice view over our BC and the valley floor. And still enough time before sunset, about 2 hours before getting dark. The climbing takes off direct, first pitch is just great amusement, not hard and easy to protect. And the second the same as well as the last two. No surprises just follow the most obvious line. And here and there a piton and slings for belay.

At the bivvy

As planned we got up with the sun going down and have some time to get one more look on next day's journey. The sporting jam gloves will come to use!

Time for dinner, a Blå Band a la carte, on cold water though since the stove is happy sleeping a bit further down in the tent.

Next morning the alarm is set on 5:20 but looking up from my bag I can only see darkness so I quickly decide that we can afford an other 1/2h sleep. Being waked up by Anna who is happy to tell that it is quite light outside at the moment, yes indeed! At 6:30 it is for sure. What a day to over sleep, well we might be relaxed at least:)

A quick breakfast with some serious Swedish rice pudding, really good work on this!

And then I make the cleaver decision to haul my bag on the first pitch, a 6b but it sure looks hard enough at 7:30 a.m

This would maybe be the only part on the whole climb that don't keep the 5* grading. A bit awkward pitch but just need to do it to get to the crack. First I climb up a bit to high so need to reverse, replace the pro and then out on a slabby traverse passing a drilled bolt. And then just up to the base of the next couple of pitches crack system.

The journey!

And what a journey! Don't remember when I had so much fun. Up to pitch 10 and it's just small and big hands and a bit of fists. Passing a small roof up to the base of a most excellent looking corner that brings us up to the next bivvy ledge. What a great life to live...!

Here there is, as it should be on big routes, a chimney system. No reason to make it harder than it is, time to hang the bag off again and do some hauling. As always in a big chimney, not possible to protect, but not possible to fall off either really. Just make the belly big and breath your self upwards...Jeess.

Big, but getting bigger...This ain't nothing!

Time to crux

After many pitches we finally arrive at the crux section, the sevens. Once again. Off with the pack and haul it up. But really, this ain't even close to a 7b. More like a 6b...well that's exactly what it was. I had read the topo wrong, again. Next pitch 7b and it looks more like it. A most perfect finger crack, steep that gets steeper, ending up in a most delicate and technical corner and up to a nice fixed belay.

Now, a 7a pitch. A bit overheated from the last one going so easy Im thinking of climbing it with the pack on but...-ok I do the crux and then haul it up. Lucky me! This one is a wake up if not before. The crack getting thinner and on a no. 1 walnut to far below the crack folds together and there is a couple of friction moves out right on some bad feets...after a couple of different variations climbing up and down I finally find my balance, make the reach out to a bad pinch and am able to demi reach for a small hold which should be was!

After this the terrain again gets easier, and goes on between 5b to 6c, always following the most obvious line. There is some odd variations but then you really want to go wrong way.

Pow pow

And so the weather comes in. What has been thunder and rain showers in the neighbor valley now has decided to move in to Aksu and suddenly I am climbing in snow, with big white flakes of light powder falling down on us. And on the next belay Anna looks even happier! But, we are so close to the summit so it won't make any differens, just keep up the speed and it's actually better than rain. Less wet.

So I find my self speeding out the rope on its fully 50m, time after time. Sometimes there is an anchor but often not. Turns out that it's useful with a 60m on the top pitches to reach the belays. But, since our plan is to walk down, it doesn't matter.

And then all in a sudden, I'm a the top. Just entering over a small kind of roof and here I am. At the top of since long time, the climb of my dreams! And you know how it's with dreams fulfilled...

le Summet

Bringing Anna up and we still have an hour before sunset, makes it two before getting dark!

But, with a lot of pictures to take and just enjoing the moment we decide to bivvy on the summit. And take the first bin down tomorrow morning...

Yeah sure!

The sunset, as always in the mountains, is stunning. The weather has cleared and there is almost no clouds around. Two people a long way from home on a single summit with a double room view!

This night, I must admit, I slept more then good, on my twinn rope mattress in my blue bag!

le descent

Next morning, as always hard to get up...a long breakfast on a bar and...a couple of centiliters of water. Time to head down. Coffey and eggs waiting at BC

We have an ok looking description for finding our way down and finds the first rappel direct. Then just takes of walking downwards to where the next point should be. But, 2 hours later and no rappels we give up. And realize its just to walk back up and rappel the route. This could take time. Only luck is that we find water to fuel us up with and at 3:00 p.m and 26 rappels later we are safe down on the boulder field!

Perestroika crack, thanks and good bye. Wouldn't mind to see you again!

Next day is a an obligatorium, relax and think it over day

But quite soon it feels strange to have all this mountains around not climbing on them. So it a natural choice to find some new unclimbed lines.

In the next days we put up Leaning Flower Tower, 5 pitches 7b, and then the Magic Line with Black Magic Corner, 7 pitches 7b+. On Peak 3850 and Central Pillar

And then the final, with a solo ascent of Peak 4810

le d' tour Aksu

As always, every story has an end and it's time to leave. Both on good and bad feelings. Still so much to do but not to bad to get going either after 3 full weeks and 74 pitches plus 350 free solo meters

Since our horse randevouz is told not to show up, we decide to leave one day earlier. To carry all our gear out will take a bit of effort! And we don't want to miss our pick up on the 29th and the flight Batken-Bishkek on the 30th for a couple of jour d' fête in Bishkek before leaving for home

Ohh, just a bit carried away...

Said and done, packing up and off we be continued


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