Leader: Stu Peacock
Summit Success for the team! They are on their way back down now and will be at base camp tomorrow so we’ll get more details then.
Stu called in today from Camp 1 where the team are resting for a day due to recent snowfall, but it’s a welcome rest after yesterday’s effort getting there. Tomorrow they will head up to Camp 2.
Today we have been resting, washing, oh and being interviewed for a Tajik promo movie for the 2018 year of tourism… We will expect our Oscar invites on our return home! Troels also kept the team entertained with his impressive guitar playing.
We arrived back at BC yesterday, 2nd Aug, at 5pm. All members happy to be down in the relative comforts that base camp affords. The plan now is to have at least 2 full rest days before heading back up.
To recap the last few days’ adventures:
We headed up to lower camp 1 at 5100m. It’s a long journey to get to camp, firstly you have to cross the glacier near base camp, this is not too challenging as it is dry and reasonably well marked with not too many ups and downs. Once we were across the other side the path rises steeply 100m zig zagging its way up to a small plateau. The route then traverses around and down to a stream. This is where the more adventurous terrain begins. From the stream the path takes you up into a wide gulley with what looks like two impassible rock buttresses, fortunately the route winds its way up and through the rock cliffs with very little scrambling required, but a head for heights is needed. Once at the top of the cliff the path continues to traverse around onto another side of the mountain with several rock steps that need to be negotiated along the way, a couple with a rope in place to assist people if needed. The path then descends to a second stream at the snout of a glacier, by now we were thinking it can’t be much further, but our altimeters said otherwise; we had only gained 300m since leaving base camp. The path works its way up loose scree at times between the glacier and steep rock cliffs, finally after six hours we arrive at a relatively level patch of ground at the side of the glacier home for the next couple of nights. There is no two ways about it everyone found it a hard day, but we were glad to be there. Thankfully the next couple of days were much shorter in distance.
Today was an acclimatisation walk up to upper camp 1 at 5300m, this involved walking up steep scree at the side of the glacier the last 100m involved using fixed lines, so the skills learnt two days prior were being put to the test now, after 4 fixed line sections the route brought us to another moraine hummock alongside the glacier. Here we had lunch and a rest before heading out onto the glacier to push our acclimatisation that but further. We headed up to 5500m before heading back down to camp.
Today we moved up to camp 2 at 5600m. Retracing the route of yesterday, but this time with all our camping kit. The route was straightforward weaving through some serac bands with only a handful of crevasses to negotiate along the way. The main challenge has been coping with the heat. Everyone settled in nicely for the night, for some this was the highest they had ever slept, so personal records are starting to be broken.
We planned to push up above camp 2 before heading back down to base camp. We decided on an early’ish start, leaving just after 7am. It was cold while the sun had not made its way around to our side of the mountain. We set off up steep snow slope to where the fixed line started, unfortunately the fixed line, installed by the local guides, is not the best quality and was run for over 100m with just one fixing point at the top, this meant we could only have one person on the rope at a time and as a result caused a lot of delay with only three of us making it up the ropes before people started heading down because they were getting too cold. So the lesson learnt for next time we move up to camp 3 is to stagger the team from camp 2 in order to reduce any unnecessary waiting. Most of the teams here are quite small with ours being the largest. Despite the slight set back the team were happy with their progress and all slept well at camp 2.
We had our night at 5000m on Vorobiova Peak and then walked up to 5300m. Andrei, Rob, Sarah and Troels went a little bit further up the ridge to 5470m. After half an hour we descend back down to camp and cleared down to base camp. We’ll get the weather forecast today, but the plan so far is to have a couple of rest days and then head up to camp 1 for two nights and then move up to camp 2 for a night before heading back down to base camp.
We had snow overnight the first 3 photos are from base camp showing our camp, Ismoil Somoni, Korzhenevskaya & breakfast time.
Stu called in today to say that they are currently at 5100m on Vorobiova Peak, and will be heading up to 5300m as part of their acclimatisation before going back down.
We had an update in from Stu and the team on Korzhenevskaya:
All good here in very hot Tajikistan. After a few hours sleep in our hotel in Dushanbe we had breakfast, sorted out the permit with our agent and did kit check before heading to the bazar for the main food shop. It’s 40c which is certainly causing an issue for the chocolate. The drive to Djirgital was six hours, we stopped after 5 hours for food. One section of the journey was on dirt road because the road has not been repaired due to a new hydro electric station being built which will flood the road.
We arrived at the hostel tired but glad to be here. The hostel is very basic but clean. Yesterday we camped on the hills behind our hostel just to try and get a bit more height gain before our helicopter journey. We camped at 2340m but in the afternoon we walked up to 2630m. I was very glad of bringing the water carriers as the team consumed 50 litres yesterday.
This morning we were treated to breakfast by some farmers who were working on the hill where we were camping before heading back down to the hostel for showers and a bit more comfort.
Today we will have a final check of all kit and recheck the food. Oh and we’re topping up our calories with watermelon and ice creams!
Tomorrow we take the helicopter early morning. Yulia met the pilots the other night Mischa and Nazar, nice chaps, they have been flying in this area for the last 30 years. She’s even managed to wangle a place in the cockpit for the flight!
Everyone is looking forward to the cooler climate of Moskivina base camp. We will need to take it easy over the next few days as we adjust to the heady heights of base camp life at 4200m.
The Team are supposed to be food shopping in Dirjital, but I think some of the team had different ideas of what to shop for!
But Stu is on it too! He tried to tell me he didn’t buy a new hat!
The team have been camping at 2330 and had an acclimatisation walk to 2600m It has been very hot and the team are hoping for a bit cooler air when they get to base camp. The team are due to Helicopter in to base camp tomorrow.
The team have all arrived, with all their kit into Dushanbe. They have got their Permit and all of the kit has been checked. The team will head off shortly to Dirgital a six hour drive, they will do the food shop on the way.
The trip departs on the 20th July but Yulia has left early along with some of the group kit! Hope everyone else is all packed and ready to go!