KMC Western Zaalaisky Expedition
Six members of the Karabiner Mountaineering Club travelled to the little explored Western Zaalaisky region of Kyrgyzstan with the aim to ascend unclimbed peaks and gain greater insight for future expeditions. After arriving in the Altyn Daria valley via the city of Osh, the team established their basecamp at 3,170m before the first ascent was made of Ak Chukur (4,958m) from the Bel Uluu valley. The other valleys of Kaska Suu and Min Terke proved difficult to access due to dangerous river crossings, and instead further objectives were identified as Pik a-Boo (5,122m) and Broken Peak (5,122m) which were ascended within two days of each other. The fourth peak was made a further two days later on Ak Kalpak (5,112m) via a challenging route through crevassed terrain that saw Steve and Jared negotiate various sections of steep ice. On the same day Andy S, Andy V and Stuart attempted a route up the north face of the glacier on Pk 5084 but were slower than expected on the complicated glacier terrain and were forced to turn back after running out of time. The team note the extensive potential remaining in the area for unclimbed summits, particularly in the Min Terke group, but caution that changing climate could cause further glacial retreat and instability, which should be factored in.