BlueIce gave the new Yeti 50l Backpack to me for testing. Just 1300g and a good feeling on my back - loaded with 30kg.
A bad start...
The flight from Vienna was canceled and without speaking russian i needed some support from friends to get a new schedule. Next thing happened was to forget the camera at home and having some trouble on checking in excess luggage at the airport.
Because of the changed flight i was two days behind of my climbing partners. When i arrived in camp 1 they had already decided that they don't want to climb Lenin and left.
I hooked up with a russian climber and after an acclimatisation night on Yukhin Peak (5100m) we made a plan to fetch some more food from camp 1 and try a big traverse from Yukhin Peak over 30th anniversary of Uzbek Republic Peak and Razdelnaya Peak to camp 3 over the summit of Lenin and go down the Lipkin route.
This worked well. The first part was a narrow ridge with some steep steps. From camp 3 to the summit we followed the normal route and walked from the false summit with the Lenin bust to the real summit. The north-east ridge led us down to the Lipkin rocks and we did choose a (maybe unclimbed) couloir to join the arkin route and later the normal route to return to camp 1.
For Pik Pobeda i couldn't find a partner. Even not in the Basecamp. With a 35kg backback i started soloing that monster mountain.
In the camp at the end of the flat glacier at 4500m the blast wave of an an avalange coming down the north face of Pobeda broke one pole of my tent - even i was more than one kilometer away from the face. I could fix it and spent the rest of the day to find the route, where in the evening a big serac broke and cleaned the couloir from snow. The next morning i needed both ice axes to climb over blanc ice to a steep icefall with a fixed rope. 5 meters where overhanging and after going the rope up with prussik technik i had to haul the backback. Over a mostly flat glacier where i felt uneasy because of crevasses i reched the Dikiy Pass (5100m) and set camp at 5400m. The next camp was a snow cave at 5800m just before the first rock section.
The rock sections of the route are secured by fixed lines. But this does not really mean safety because the ropes are in extremly bad conditions. On some the mantel is missing on over 20 meters and even not all core strings are good. After another camp at 6100m i passed the 6400m camp where 4 russians had their tents and set up mine at 6600m.
The next day the weather was very windy and i made rest day. The 4 russians arrived very exhausted in the evening and camped next to me.
In the morning the weather was not better and the forcast really bad for the next 5 days. Because the 4 others decided to go down and i would have been the only person on the mountain in a predicted snowstorm with lots of snow and maybe the risk of avalanges. My decision was to join them. They got down to 5000m, i tried to find my previously deposited food and gas on 5400m but even after digging a whole day couldn't find it. Without that additional supplies i had no further chance to go up again and left the mountain too.
With just 10 days left i decided to visit the Karavshin valley in the west of Kyrgyzstan. This is a remote spot for rock climbing (sometimes compared with the Yosemite) and interesting 5000m peaks. On the second day my trip ended at a destroyed bridge. On my way back to the road i met a group of soldiers. They asked for my passport and permit and searched my backpack for weapons. Then i learnd that a few as before a tourist were shot and the they are on a mission to solve the issue.