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
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
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
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:
- ascents on virgin
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
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