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