Saturday, 5 January 2013

So, just so you all know about the upcoming lectures of Conor's on the 12th (Dublin- DCU, QG 13) and 13th (Belfast, BMC, Lecture Theatre 1) of February. They're going to be entertaining; they might be informative; and they'll definitely raise money for future QUBMC expeditions (so it's for the future generations really).

Friday, 19 October 2012

Final Report

Well despite the delay in this post everyone got home safe and sound. ALek and Vlad are back in Keele, Bradley living the climbing hobo dream in the Lakes, Az back to uni in Fundee, Rónán working in a nuclear power station on the west coast of Scotland and Conor generally trying to justify not getting a job yet.

Anyway, the ridiculously extensive final report can now be viewed here.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

        Right, so we've returned to Bishkek as planned, even half a day early. Everything went exceptionally well, apart from the weather, which was mostly good. First things seconds though.... everyone's alive, well and healthy (ish). Equipment performed well, food got mostly eaten.
        Travel to Kokshaal-Too went mostly without hitches (Ural in, Gaz out- not exactly as planned, but you can't help availability). Walk in was long, climbing excellent. A couple of suspected first ascents and a number of new routes as well as a few attempts that didn't get as far as would be nice, mostly due to poor snow.

FA-Uigur (4979), Eagle Traverse, Ronan & Conor, (~D)
FA- Peak 4892 (Ice Dragonfly), North Flank and East Ridge, Alek & Vlad, (~AD)
FA (ish) Peak 5102 (Moonlight Arete), Conor & Ronan (~D)
West Ridge of Ice Dragonfly (Butterflies and Hurricanes)Bradley, Vlad, Alek & Azwan (~D)
North Face (mostly) of Pony (Broken Pony), Alek & Vlad, (~D)
East Summit of Peak Ak Bai-Tal by South East Ridge (FA ish), Alek & Vlad (~PD)
Kazalnitsa by North West Face, Vlad & Azwan (~AD)
North Face of Night Butterfly (2012 Route), Bradley & Alek (~TD)
Rock Horse, West Flank and Ridge (Variant of Polish Route), Azwan and Vlad (~PD)
Rock Horse, North Face (Kernan Gilmour Route), Ronan and Conor, (~TD)
(FA ish) Moonlight Arete by 1st Gully, Azwan & Alek, (~D)

All being well a few members of the expedition will be heading down to Al-Archa for a day before flying off home on the 9th. Stay tuned for the report (and more?).

Alek & Azwan.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

So, having arrived in Kyrgyzstan at sometime on the early morning of the 31st and having promptly changed the softshells into shorts and t-shirt, Alek met with the ITMC staff (who were lovely) and having spend around 6 hours on looking around Bishkek's shops for dried milk and smash settled for Pryaniks (look it up) and baby food set off to Al-Archa to sit out mountaineer for the next few days till the main contingent arrived. Having gone up to the Ak-Sai hut (Stoyanka Ratseka), Alek then climbed (walked up) Peak Uchitel (Peak Teacher) at 4540 or so meters. Then realising that there was nothing else that could be walked up there (it's a beautiful mountaineering area, but not much of a place for walkers) headed up to the Al-Archa glacier. Alek would highly recommend this route as the valley is scenic, the bridges memorable and the abandonned ski base, erm... Historic? No the abandonned ski station was in all honesty a bit of a dump, and gave the impression that the ghosts of old soviets would come and take you away in the middle of the night, but the rest of the valley is amazing.

In any case, once Azwan, Bradley, Conor and Bradley Ronan arrived at 4am, in the 22 degree heat, full preparation began. Staring with breakfast followed by sleep. Subsequently, a further three days of exploring Bishkek for the sake of securing enough cheese, chocolate and other camping fares to last the thirty days on the glacier. The result is that they're all fairly acquainted with this lovely city (not sarcastic this time- it's actually a lovely city) and the flat is crammed with not quite enought food to start a small supermarket, but definitely enough to start a revolution (around 180kg of which 25kg is chocolate and 20kg is meat). All in all, we're finished with the preparations!

Tomorrow at 6:30 the Ural (a bigger truck than expected because the GAZ is broken), hopefully along with Vlad, comes to the flat, gets loaded up and then the expedition will truly leave for the mountains and you won't have to read any more of these for at least a month (hopefully)........

Alek, Azwan, Bradley

Sunday, 29 July 2012

A basket, a painting, a card, and a small box...

So having got my visa in advance, I was very pleased (not) to find out that on the 24th of July the visa-free regime became official and will gradually come into force. So probably good news for any expedition members who don't have their visas yet (which is probably no one)....

So, at least for one expedition member, everything is packed and ready to go (semi-true)- for Alek flies tomorrow, to be joined by everyone else later in the week. With the base camp tent (lets see how Higear tents fare at 4k, eh?), the base camp first aid kit (which is a little bit overstocked) and most of mine and Vlad's kit, I somehow managed to get everything within the weight limit (30kg).

On a final note, we printed off and laminated 7 copies of an Alek-modified 1:50k map of the region. Then we printed off another two 1:50ks and a large 1:50k at 1:100k for approach and scribbling. The meteo and medical (M&M) journal is all formatted and ready and waiting its first observations, and all in all I think we've prepared fairly well.

Anyhow, on Tuesday morning I should, fingers crossed be in Bishkek and in the evening in Alarcha till  the main contingent arrives and we have the manpower to lug our 130kg of provisions from shop to truck....

Alek Out.

PS. Alps was cool. Weather was Irish, climbing was good. Long, and long and obscure routes were climbed, kit was tested, ropes were kinked and 'good craic' was had. I'll let whoever can be bothered fill in the gaps there....

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Monday, 11 June 2012


Rónán, Conor and Alek spent the week climbing and sitting out rain on Gola, an uninhabited island off the coast of Donegal. As well as allowing us to do some new routes and get in the right frame of mind, this and a weekend at Fair Head beforehand proved a great opportunity to test out the gear,  solar panels, radios and camera charging facilities. All are working well.
Rónán and Conor also spent a day with MIA Jonny Parr in the Mournes a couple of weeks ago covering advanced self-rescue techniques (here's hoping we don't need to use them).
With less than two monts to go, there's still a lot to do.
Conor, Vladimir, Alek and Bradley are off to the Alps later this week for a 'warm up'.
T minus 2 months...