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  MacCoffee Tien Shan Expedition 2005: Trip Report


Expedition summary: The MacCoffee Tien Shan Expedition 2005 departed Singapore on July 20th. The following is a summary of events of the expedition:

July 21 – In Almaty, participated in a media conference organized by Food Empire ( Kazakhstan ) . Five hour drive to Karkara by the Kazakh/Kyrgyz border; southeast of Almaty.

July 22 – Helicopter insertion into the Siemienova Glacier in the Central Tien Shan, 80km from Karkara. Acclimatisation and camp set-up day.  3943m

July 23 – Acclimatisation hike and climb in poor weather conditions up the Siemienova Glacier to 4100m

July 24 – Ascent of Peak #1, 4374m, via the south-east ridge. Main lead- climbing by Wilfred. The peak lies in the Sigitova ridge, though it is not marked on our map.

N 42º 19.42’

E 80º 3.589’

An 8-hour day tackling an easy snow ridge to a rocky summit. Perfect weather. Reached summit at 0930hrs

July 25th – rest day

July 26th – Ascent of Peak #2, 4589m, marked as 4550m on our map. Shani elected to withdraw from the climb early in the morning as it looked too steep/icy for her abilities. Ascent by the north face after negotiating hidden crevasse fields and deep snow. The hardest part was the steep upper section at 55º, where Rozani executed a good lead to the corniced /overhanging summit. Summit reached at 1030hrs. A 13-hour day, and the hardest climb of the expedition.

N 42º 18.49’

E 80º 0.788’

July 27th – rest day and repairs to equipment

July 28th – abortive attempt on the steep and rocky east face of Peak #3. This peak is unmarked on the map, but marked as an unclimbed summit. Loose and dangerous rubble forced a retreat.

July 29th – 2nd attempt on Peak #3 via the long Siemienova Glacier and the Siemienova Pass route, and then up the east ridge. A 13- hour day with low cloud in the pre-dawn hours, light snow, a false summit to negotiate, some wind higher up. The lead was shared between David, Rozani and Wilfred. Corniced summit reached around 1030hrs. Altitude: 4743m.

N 42º 20.188’

E 80º 0.1644’

July 30 – rest day and the naming of peaks

July 31st – helicopter pick-up to Karkara

Aug 1st – helicopter recce along the Inylchek Glaciers. Future objectives identified and assessed.

Aug 2 – Return to Almaty.

Aug 3 – 4 – Return to Singapore

The Peak Names:

Peak #1, 4374m has been named Temasek Peak. The first virgin peak to be climbed by any Southeast Asian ( and Singapore ) climbers, was thought best to be named after the first name our island nation was known by – Temasek, The climbing ridge has been called Ramses Ridge. Grade: Russian 3A/ French PD

Peak #2, 4589m, has been named Singapura I Peak.  The fairly tough peak was named after ‘ Singapore’ as it seemed to present the kind of challenges our island nation faces. Other peaks in the area, if climbed, maybe called Singapura II, Singapura III, etc. The route has been dubbed Rozani’s Route. Grade Russian 3A/ French PD+

Peak #3, 4743m, the biggest peak in the vicinity, has been named Ong Teng Cheong Peak, in honour of the memory of the late President Ong. Mr Ong was the Patron of the 1st Singapore Everest Expedition in 1998 and his support for this mountaineering quest was invaluable. A fitting memorial. The long ridge has been dubbed Wilfred’s Ridge. The abortive route from the east side has been dubbed Rabbit Gully. Russian 3A/ French PD

Post-Climb Matters and Impact:

The team’s success was met with significant press and TV coverage plus magazine and radio coverage ( see media tracking attached ). In particular, the climb’s effect included a follow-up article in the Sunday Times which explored the phenomenon of:

-         mountaineering style

-         ascents on virgin peaks

Significant public interest was piqued by the names accorded to these peaks, and led to a heightened awareness of the finer points of the sport, as well as contributing to nation building – the climbs being timed with Singapore’s 40th National Day.

On a practical  side, it should be noted that such ‘ innovative’ climbs increases the stature of mountaineering from a purely public awareness aspect, with equal media impact compared to other adventure/climbing-related events/ expeditions costing many times more. Imagination, good planning, excellence in execution, and boldness appear to be key in this respect

Dave Lim, Everest Climber, author and motivational speaker. To book David e-mail
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