ET INTERNATIONAL KOSKULAK - 2005 EXPEDITION
Koskulak Peak (7028 m) is located in the Kun-Lun Mountains (Xinjiang, China)
not far from Muztagh-Ata and it was unclimbed until August 2005. Having done
many expeditions in the area of Muztagh-Ata, in spring 2002 we put forward an
idea of the first ascent of Koskulak Peak and during summer 2005 several
climbing teams tried to reach the summit of this peak.
A British expedition was the first that arrived there in July. They tried to climb Koskulak Peak along the North-West Ridge but it was impossible for them. Then they tried to summit the peak along the South-West Ridge but again without success.
Our expedition started its work at the end of July. We put two altitude camps on the South-West Ridge and then our members tried to climb Koskulak Peak. They reached the altitude of 6400 m but deep snow, blizzard and absence of visibility forced them to go down.
The first ascent of Koskulak Peak was done by a Russian team of M. Volkov. They reached the summit along the North-West Ridge on August 12, 2005. After a short rest two expedition members - A. Petrov and V. Odokhovskiy - climbed the peak along the South-West Ridge on 19.08.2005. But the main expedition goal was the North Ridge of Koskulak. The team of M. Volkov successfully climbed this very steep and difficult ridge and summited the peak on 27.08.2005.
Also in August 2005 two Russian climbers - V. Shamalo and A. Gorbatenkov - climbed the North Wall of Koskulak.
day 1 (26.07.) - A part of our members arrived in Kashgar and they were accommodated at the Seman Hotel, the others were forced to spend a night in Urumqi because of a delay of their flight.
day 2 (27.07.) - All our members arrived in Kashgar. Shopping and necessary preparation in Kashgar.
day 3 (28.07.) - We had a long drive along the Karakoram Highway from Kashgar via Karakul Lake to the Ulugh-Rabat Pass (~4100 m) and then about 10 - 15 km to the East along a byroad. Amazing views of Muztagh-Ata, Kalaxong and Koskulak peaks. Night in tents on the altitude about 4400 m.
day 4 (29.07.) - A short enough walk (about 1.5 hours) with donkeys to the place of our Koskulak Base Camp. We pitched our Base Camp on the altitude of 4662 m very close to the Arqetk Glacier on the shore of a glacier lake.
day 5 (30.07.) - Rest and acclimatization at Base Camp. Short walks for reconnaissance of the area.
day 6 (31.07.) - A long ascent (about 6 hours) from Base Camp to the place of Camp 1 on the South-West Ridge. It was hard enough for the first time. Moraines and not steep snow slopes. We pitched our Camp 1 on the snow line on the altitude of 5257 m.
day 7 (01.08.) - Coming back from Camp 1 to Base Camp.
day 8 (02.08.) - Rest day at Base Camp. A lot of food and beer.
day 9 (03.08.) - The second ascent from Base Camp to Camp 1. Some our members used donkeys and local porters to bring their things, equipment and food to Camp 1.
day 10 (04.08.) - A long ascent (about 5.5 hours) from Camp 1 to the place of Camp 2 along the South-West Ridge. Not very steep snow slopes, very good snow conditions. Fantastic views of the North Wall of Peak 6849 m. We pitched our Camp 2 on the altitude of 6024 m.
day 11 (05.08.) - Coming back from Camp 2 to Base Camp. Franz Manzenreiter and Andrey Ershov skied down from Camp 2 to Camp 1, such ski descent took about 15 minutes only.
day 12 (06.08.) - Rest day at Base Camp.
day 13 (07.08.) - The expedition members were divided in two climbing groups. The first group decided to start the climb and ascended from Base Camp to Camp 1.
day 14 (08.08.) - The second group spent this day at Base Camp because of a heavy snowfall that lasted the whole day.
day 15 (09.08.) - The second group started the climb and ascended from Base Camp to Camp 1. The first group ascended from Camp 1 to Camp 2. A lot of fresh snow after snowfall.
day 16 (10.08.) - The second group ascended from Camp 1 to Camp 2. The first group tried to reach the summit. It was a lot of deep fresh snow after heavy snowfall above Camp 2 and they could not climb fast. The weather was good enough in the morning but new snowfall started around the midday. At 15:00 the first group reached the altitude of 6400 m and decided to go down. It was too dangerous to continue the climb with a blizzard and bad visibility. Also, they had not enough time to reach the summit and safely come back to the tents of Camp 2. Some members of the first group came down to Camp 1, the others spent a night at Camp 2.
day 17 (11.08.) - The weather was not good and all members decided to cancel the climb and come back to Base Camp. We asked our Chinese liaison officer-interpreter to prepare donkeys for evacuation of our Base Camp and vehicles to drive to Kashgar.
day 18 (12.08.) - Coming back to Kashgar.
day 19/21 (13/15.08.) - Rest, sightseeing and shopping in Kashgar. Sunday Market, Id Kah Mosque, Abakh Hoja Tomb.
day 22 (16.08.) - Departure from Kashgar.
approach route to Muztagh-Ata, Kalaxong and Koskulak peaks
Muztagh-Ata and surrounding mountains
climbing routes to Muztagh-Ata, Kalaxong and Koskulak peaks from the West
Kuksay Peak, Muztagh-Ata, Kalaxong and Koskulak peaks from the West
climbing routes to Koskulak Peak from the West
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