Event Detail


Kyrgyzstan: First Ascents

Matthew Traver
Monday, 25 Oct 2010
2/F Olympic House, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay
RGS HK Member's evening with climber Matthew Traver talking on climbing in the Djangart region.

Drinks from 6.30 pm lecture starts at 7.30 pm. No Booking required . Tickets at door HK$100 RGS HK members HK$150 others.

Matthew this year was the leader of an international expedition to the Djangart region of eastern Kyrgyszstan, where his fiveman team scaled three previously unclimbed peaks of over 5,000m.

The team arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in July 2010. Initially they taught climbing to children from the Kyrgyz Alpine Fund climbing group at nearby AlaArcha National Park. Following detailed logistical planning and renting a 6WD Comanche truck they set out for the Djangart. Accompanying the team was journalist Jamie Maddison from Climber magazine.

After days of travel, the team reached the UchKoshkon military border post, where they lost their translator, who was denied passage, leading to weeks of sign language. The team was dropped off in the Kaichi Valley, the neighbouring valley to the Djangart, due to impassable conditions on the track over the Djangart Pass. On his way back to Bishkek, the truck driver arranged for local nomads to meet the team and, over the next few days, horses transported the teams food and equipment over the 4,200 m Djangart pass. The team set up a base camp along the Djangart River, near the outflow of the Akoguz Glacier. After a few days of acclimatisation and reconnaissance, the team set out to climb peaks along the Djangartynbashi Glacier. The climbing team set camp on the glacier under the northwest face of the then unnamed Peak 4,766. The following day, the team climbed the mountain in a snowstorm, spending some 23 hours without a break establishing the route Horsemans Horror that ascends an icy couloir that leads almost directly to the summit. On the route, the team discovered that the nomads had cut one of their ropes by 20m, to use for their horses, nearly leading part of the team to run off the edge. The mountain has been named Peak HowardBury. After a perilous fording of the Djangart River, the team made a lengthy approach up the broken N2 glacier, heading for the east face of Peak 5,080. Morning snow squalls delayed the climb, but Matthew and fellow climber Mike Royer left at midday and ascended the southernmost couloir on the east face, then followed the broad shoulder to the summit block. Reaching the summit a night fall, the pair was forced into a perilous night descent in deteriorating weather.

Determined to attempt one more climb, the team again headed to the Djangart to attempt the visually stunning Peak 5,048. Though delayed on the approach by a fullday storm, the team climbed the north ridge and northeast face of one of the most visually stunning peaks in central Asia under sunny skies, one of only a couple such days during the entire expedition. The team named the route Postcard for the Chief and named the mountain Peak of Illumination.

Matthew Traver hails from Hong Kong. He read marine geography at Cardiff University, where he was the President of the Cardiff University Caving Club and Speleological Society. He is the founder and managing director of Beast Products, which manufactures caving and outdoor equipment, and he is currently pursuing further entrepreneurship and business studies. Matthew commenced climbing in Hong Kong where he made a first ascent of Beaufort Islands South Face and Mt Nicolson (roped solo), as well as numerous solo ascents of Lion Rock and other multipitch routes. He has also climbed in the USA, including in Yosemite National Park, in Switzerland, where he climbed Arolla solo and the first ascent of the West Face of the Dragons Horns, Tioman Island, Malaysia. Matthew is also a keen caver. He took part in two expeditions to one of the most difficult caves on the Dachstein Plateau in Austria, discovering more than a kilometer of cave to a depth of 700m, which was named Burnies Pot.

See other events in 2010