Everest 04 Home
   Today's News
Banners Ads

   E-mail (Free)
Mailing List


News (current)
   Sat Phones
   Search Everest 2004
   Readers Guide

   Trip Reports
   Visitor Agreement






  2004 Expedition to Kunlun Shan: Update 10

21 August, 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 foot visibility. 

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 underway in London, Tokyo, Anchorage, California, Colorado, and Connecticut, team members are getting ready to fly to Kashgar via Beijing and 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 the military village of 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 West.

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 Kunlun Shan

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 English Lakes will become a reality when we drive across the edge of the Taklimakan 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 Xinjiang 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 like Denali or 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.

Altitech2: 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 battery. See more here.



  Altitude pre-


   Atlas snowshoes

   Black Diamond




   CaVa Climbing Shoes

   Clif Bar



   Edelweiss ropes
Eureka Tents




   Granite Gear


   Ice Axes

   Kavu Eyewear







   New England Ropes



   Outdoor Designs



   Princeton Tec

   Prescription Glacier



   Rope Bags

   Seattle Sports

Sleeping Bags




   Trekking Poles
and more here




Send email to     •   Copyright© 1998-2003 EverestNews.com
All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Visitor Agreement, Legal Notes: Read it