2005 Ak-Su 'Free and Clean'
Since access to the eastern bloc countries is now so much easier, the granite spires above the Ak-Su main and subsidiary valleys of Kyrgyzstan have become a popular destination for technical rock-climbing teams. The area has been likened to the 'Yosemite Valley in the 1930s with terrorism'. This team planned to repeat some existing routes but also make some first ascents. Despite being plagued by bad weather they were successful in climbing two completely new routes, 'The Beast', 550m, with pitches up to E4 6a and 'From Russia with Love', 400m, up to E7 6b, the latter possibly ranking as one of the current hardest on-sight routes. They also freed an existing aid route and climbed a dozen one-pitch (up to 45m) routes between E3 and E7.