British Kun Lun Shan 2001
It is many years since an MEF-supported expedition clocked up a road journey approaching 30,000km, but that is what results if one drives from the UK to Xinjiang Province and back, making a double crossing of the Taklamakan desert en route. At Pulu, they changed their mode of transport from Land Rover to donkey, but on hearing that their intended base camp had recently been visited by other climbers, when they reached the plateau at 5,000m, instead of continuing south they turned west to head for a previously unvisited area. News of the terrorist attacks in the USA caused much concern about border closures and traffic restrictions, but the intrepid team carried on, and after establishing a BC at 4,050m in the Aksu Gorge managed to achieve the first ascent of a 6,061m peak above a tributary valley of Karyagdi. The climbing, which was via its North Ridge, was described as 'straightforward on poor snow covering even poorer rock'.