2004: Yesterday we made an attempt on the highest peak in the Dahongliutan
area... Waking up earlier than usual at 19,700', we made our way to the base
of the summit ridge, where the weather turned, and we were pretty much caught
in a white out. We decided to wait rather than continue, and for one hour we
sat at 20,320 (the height of Denali). After an hour the weather showed no
signs of turning, so we made our way back to camp and spent the rest of the
day quite bored, playing I-Spy and other boring games to pass the time in our
tents at nearly 20,000 feet.
Yesterday the weather cleared up
in the afternoon, and we were able to see the summit ridge in the evening
sun. It was quite spectacular as it arced upwards through several rock bands
and past several cornices to a narrow, snowy summit. It looks certainly
worthy of another day up high to try again!
Today we made a second
attempt, and at least for a while, the wether was marginally better. We
arrived to where we waited yesterday, and we could see all the way upo to the
corniced ridgeline, so we zig-zagged our way up onto the ridge. The weather
turned worse, and again we were forced to travel from rockpile to rockpile.
At 21,210' we were again stopped by the weather. We waited through heavy
snows and moderate winds for the weather to clear... Entertainment was
provided by Dale and his colorful foil kite, sometimes hidden by the hundred
After one hour, three headed
backk down the ridge, but six held on as the winds picked up and started
blowing the clouds out. After another thirty minutes of waiting through the
winds, the skies were mostly clear, and the summit broke through the gustrig
wisps. We were less than 1000 vertical feet off, so we headed up through
softenig snows, gaining the summit at 17h00! According to the GPS, we were at
22,222 feet, on an extremely narrow snow line corniced on three sides.
Congratulations to Gerard, Dale, Toma, Brook, Trevor, and Randall, another
first ascent for the team!
From our perch, we could see
down to the glacier below, and we spotted two dots proceeding up a ridge to
another peak to the North. Instead of heading back to camp upon retreat, Ben
and Karen decided to take advantage of the clearing weather, and headed off to
this beautiful corniced peak. After a two hour slog postholing through heavy
snow, the gained a ridge (named Cosmos Ridge, after Karen's dog), and
eventually the summit of what they named Mount Wyatt. Ben recorded their
previously unclimbed elevation at 21,150' on the GPS, a fourth first ascent!
Congratulations Ben and Karen! Randall
As last minute packing and preparations are
Connecticut, team members are getting ready to
fly to Kashgar via
Urumqi, arriving on 25 and 26 July. After
final preparations in Kashgar, our convoy of three Toyota Landcruisers and one
6x6 rugged military vehicle will head southeast on the
Silk Road towards Yecheng.
From there we will head south onto the
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, through Mazar, to our last outpost of civilization in
Dahongliutan. We expect to pass
through on 01 August, assuming there are no issues with our military permits,
and no vehicle trouble on the climbs through the 5000m passes of the Kunlun
Last minute information is trickling in from
Kashgar… A Japanese expedition just came back after an unsuccessful attempt on
Aksai Chin I, which had an unconfirmed summit by the Japanese in 1997. They
report that the military road we hope to follow does indeed exist, and though
in rough shape, should get us within 10km of Base Camp. By the time we set up
Base Camp, we expect to have been on the road for five or six days.
Armed with coordinates and advice from previous
expeditions, we will have to take our chances discovering the differences
between the maps and the actual terrain. Thin blue hairlines on the map can
easily turn out to be impassable glacial runoff. The maps also neglect to
indicate the difference between surfaces such as mud and quicksand, both of
which will eagerly swallow any vehicle up to its axles.
While exploring the unknown peaks of the Aksai
Chin West, the team will have limited contact with the outside world. A
decision was made to leave the laptop behind, so while there will be no live
coverage with photos and video, we will be sending messages from our Iridium
satellite phone for text coverage right here on EverestNews.com
2004 Expedition to
It is with intrepid spirit of adventure and
respect that the Kunlun 2004 expedition is being planned. What started out as
a harebrained idea discussed over breakfast in the
Lakes will become a reality when we
drive across the edge of the
Desert to be dropped off for almost a
month's worth of unsupported exploration.
For nearly a year, we have been researching the
possibilities of an expedition to more remote regions of the world to summit
unclimbed peaks. Research has shown that there are 230 peaks over 6000m in the
Kunlun Shan and that fewer than 50 of those have ever been climbed!
The goal of the Kunlun 2004 expedition is to
explore several unknown peaks of the Aksai Chin plateau with the motives of
first ascents of 6000m peaks and scientific research in the form of geological
survey data collection.
After purchasing several political maps of
Province, eventually the correct
aviation charts for the area were found. These Operational Navigation Charts (ONC's)
are at a scale of 1:500,000, and Tactical Pilotage Charts in the same series
are at 1:250,000. Though one would never consider such a scale for something
Rainier, it the best information that is publicly
available for such an unexplored region. The charts are quite detailed but
meant for aircraft flying over the region rather than mountaineers on the
ground. As they are based entirely on satellite data, they have disclaimers
that peak heights may be off by as much as 1000 feet!
Our project is original because of our climbing
style, and the remoteness of the goal. We will drive overland nearly 1000km
from the nearest airport in Kashgar, and once we are dropped off at base camp,
we will be completely unsupported for nearly three weeks. Because of the
altitude and isolation, there are no options of retreat, and though we will
have communications, any rescue would be nearly a week away.
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.