31st July – 28th Aug 2021 (TBC)
Mountains cover 95% of the territory of Kyrgyzstan and 40% of those are above 3,000 meters high. Many regions remain unexplored and the country offers huge potential for exploratory mountaineering on peaks over 4000m at a reasonable cost. An ideal first major expedition for confident independent climbers with Alpine experience, this exploratory expedition will aim to make first ascents of several virgin 4000m peaks. The size of the expedition is not fixed but should not exceed eight participants..
The expedition will visit a remote area and will likely be fully self-supported once at basecamp. Logistical and in-country support will be provided by ITMC (https://itmc.travel). The emphasis will be on exploratory climbing rather than technical difficulty and those with less experience are encouraged to apply.
This expedition was originally scheduled and funded for 2020 but was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current situation will be carefully monitored to ensure that the expedition can be conducted safely, in accordance with Government guidance, and without unnecessary risk.
Four ranges have been identified which combine mountaineering potential with accessibility. These are the Kuiluu, Borkoldoi, Jetim and Jetimbel, and the Djaman-Too ranges. Potential climbing areas have been identified in these ranges, and a final decision will be made once the initial team has been drafted.
The expedition will fly from the UK to Bishkek in northern Kyrgyzstan. Overland travel using a minibus and then 4x4 or 6WD will take the expedition to a basecamp. Depending on the location of the basecamp pack horses can be used or a short walk-in may be required. See https://itmc.travel/en/tours/road-vehicles-4-6wd for further information.
The summer mountaineering season in Kyrgyzstan is July and August, with some expeditions also finding stable weather conditions in early September. Late June can also be stable but with colder temperatures. Provisional dates for the expedition are 31st July – 28th Aug 2021. The following dates should be noted:
1st January 2021
Mount Everest Foundation (MEF) application deadline
31st January 2021
Montane Alpine Climbing Club Fund (MACCF) application deadline
28th February 2021
Accommodation in Bishkek will be a 3* hotel in twin rooms arranged through ITMC. During overland travel the expedition will stay in a 3* hotel in twin rooms or a local guesthouse. Basecamp and ABC will be tented. A basecamp messing tent will be provided through ITMC but expedition climbing teams must provide their own tent(s) for an ABC or multiday routes.
A proposed itinerary is given below for planning considerations.
- Day 1: Depart UK
- Day 2: Arrive Bishkek
- Day 3: Admin in Bishkek
- Day 4 – 6: Travel to Basecamp
- Day 7 – 22: Acclimatisation and Climbing
- Day 23 – 25: Travel to Bishkek
- Day 26: Admin in Bishkek
- Day 27: Depart Bishkek
- Day 28: Arrive UK
Reports from similar expeditions in Kyrgyzstan see expedition members making a personal contribution of between £1000 and £1500 each. Funding applications will be made to both the Mount Everest Foundation (MEF) and the Montane Alpine Climbing Club Fund (MACCF).
All members must have comprehensive rescue, medical expenses, and repatriation insurance. Travel insurance is also strongly recommended.
Members do not need to have previous expedition climbing experience but should be confident mountaineers with previous summer Alpine experience. Other types of expedition experience (e.g. trekking) are beneficial but not essential. Applicants should be confident to climb independently (i.e. not with a guide) in the Alps to around PD+/AD grade. Scottish or Alpine winter experience is also highly beneficial.
Expedition members must be hill fit and confident moving over Alpine terrain with climbing packs at moderate altitude.
The expedition will utilise satellite phones for communication with ITMC for weather reports, reach back to the UK, and emergency use. Two-way PTT radios will be used for communication between climbing teams. Each climbing team will also carry a SPOT satellite tracker.
A separate kit list will be provided.
Visas & Permits
British passport holders do not require a visa for Kyrgyzstan for visits under 60 days. British nationals are no longer required to register for visits over 5 days. Further information regarding entry requirements can be found at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kyrgyzstan/entry-requirements.
Permits may be required depending on the selected climbing area. See https://itmc.travel/en/border-permits for further information.
Rescue & Medical
See https://rescue.centralasia.kg/en/about-mountain-rescue-service-in-kyrgyzstan/ for further information on mountain rescue in Kyrgyzstan. A comprehensive medical kit and trauma pack will be carried by the expedition. Further medical information will be provided separately.
Printed maps of Kyrgyzstan are hard to come by and research for the expedition will use Google Maps and former Soviet Union mapping produced during the Cold War. A mapping pack for the selected area will then be produced for the expedition. A primary source of Soviet mapping is http://loadmap.net. One method for overlaying GPS grid datum lines onto Soviet mapping can be found here https://tinyurl.com/SovietWGS84. See https://kac.centralasia.kg/maps/ for further information.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as pairs or threes who have already climbed together and wish to take part in the expedition as a climbing team. Applications from individuals are also welcome, however an individual applicant should then seek to meet, and ideally climb with, other applicants or confirmed expedition members..
Should an expedition member cancel prior to the expedition, the Alpine Club cannot guarantee the refunding of their personal contribution. However, any personal contribution will be refunded if possible.