Vital information for the Virgin Peaks Expedition, including flights, ground arrangements, expedition intinerary, safety and rescue, insurance, equipment, etc.
As in previous years these will be co-ordinated by ITMC Tien Shan,
Kyrgyzstan’s leading expedition company. The director, Vladimir
Komissarov, was one of the leading mountaineers of the former Soviet
Union and is now President of the Association of Mountain Guides of
Kyrgyzstan. Vladimir, his camp staff, and porters (some of whom are
strong mountaineers in their own right) will be working with us
throughout the expedition. Through them we can share some of the
'Russian traditions' which have given Central Asia a unique
mountaineering history. Nowhere else is Base Camp life so enjoyable!
Turkish Airlines operate regular flights to Bishkek
(capital of Kyrgyzstan) via Istanbul from London, Manchester, Geneva
etc. Wherever you depart from, it would be great if the expedition then
all booked the same onward flight with Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to
Bishkek so that we all arrive there together.
Note - Please contact Adrian for more detailed flight information before booking.
The expedition will convene at the Hotel Rich in Bishkek
on Sunday 25 August at 6pm. It runs over 19 days and finishes on
Thursday 12th September. All accommodation is included from the night of
25 August until the morning of 12th September.
(Aug 25) Arrive early morning, after an overnight flight from Istanbul into Manus Airport, Bishkek, where we have a transfer to take us into the capital where we are booked into the Hotel Rich. After some rest, we'll have lunch and then spend the afternoon at the local markets and getting a feel for Kyrgyzstan's history sightseeing around Bishkek, before everyone coming together again at 7pm for a final briefing and evening meal at a local restaurant.
Final equipment check, then travel to Barskoon on the southern shores of Lake Issyk Kul, where we'll spend the first night.
From Barskoon we'll take the very scenic drive retracing an old Silk Road route heading south along the Barskoon valley towards China, through the beautiful TerskeyAla Too mountains. We continue on over theBarskoon and Seok Pass's on towards Kara-Say. From Kara-Say the road continues on to Ak-Shyyrak and Engilchek, but we leave the road at this point heading further south into the Borkoldoy-Too. New may need to stopen-route somewhere and camp overnight before continuing on to BC the following day.
I can image that we'll still be en-route to BC arriving there at some point today. We'll spend the rest of the day orgainising BC
Day 5 - 16
Mountaineering in the Borkoldoy Range - Typically we head
off to explore the surrounding glaciers and peaks which helps with
acclimatisation but also gives us the information we need to plan the
first half of the trip, eyeing up virgin peaks and routes to attempt,
from a possible high Advanced Base Camp (ABC). We then set up an ABC in
our chosen location high up in a valley or on a glacier. From this high
point we'll spend the next few nights attempting the surrounding Virgin
Summits and routes. We then normally break ABC, returning to Base Camp
(BC) for a much needed wash and rest. We then repeat this process,
initially exploring another valley and glacier before setting up another
ABC and again climbing more peaks. BC can also be a great source of
unclimbed peaks and it may be that we have a couple of days just
exploring unclimbed peaks from here. Base Camp generally stays as a
constant, but our ABC's will move around giving the team the best
chances of any Virgin Summit success. We keep radio or satellite
phone contact with BC both for safety reasons and to also ensure that
supplies are kept flowing up to ABC as required.
Travel back to Barskoon where we'll spend the final night camping next to Lake Issyk Kul
Travel back to Bishkek where we'll have a 'farewell dinner' that evening and final night at the Hotel Rich
(Sept 12) Expedition officially ends after a very early breakfast at the hotel. Members flying home directly transfer to Bishkek Airport, or ITMC can make and arrangements should you wish to extend your holiday in Kyrgyzstan.
SAFETY AND RESCUE
ISM will provide the main medical kit, individual members need only
bring a small personal first aid kit. We will have a satellite phone at
base camp to give us weather reports and to enable us to summon a rescue
helicopter in the unlikely event that it is needed. Vaccinations are
not obligatory for the area, however some may be recommended by your GP.
As always we pay careful attention to ACCLIMATISATION and rarely, if
ever, have any serious problems. Some people may choose to use Diamox on
the trip - if so please consult your GP for advice.
All expedition members must have mountaineering insurance to cover medical and rescue expenses. For UK residents, suitable cover can be arranged through the following organisations/companies:
Climbing rucksack (50 litre), second holdall or kitbag,
Trekking poles (collapsible for carrying whilst climbing) with snow baskets,
Glacier glasses, sun protection cream and lipsalve
Mug, bowl, knife, fork, spoon
Lightweight 'trekking' boots or approach shoes
Personal ‘travellers’ first-aid kit (headaches, diahorrea, minor cuts, blisters etc)
'Wet Wipes'/alcohol hand gel for personal hygiene
Maybe also 1 or 2 books, plus a tot of something warming to drink at ABC!
In addition if you own a lightweight mountain tent (2 or 3-man) this
is helpful in giving everyone some privacy at base camp and room to
spread out their gear etc. Please let us know on the Booking Form.
Please see our Kyrgyzstan Equipment page for an article on equipment by Kyrgyzstan 'veteran' Steve Taylor.
Kyrgystan Visas: Citizens of many countries
(including all of the EU and the US) no longer require a visa to visit
Kyrgyzstan for less than 60 days. Full information at: Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic, London, Tel: 0207 935 1462, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Members from countries requiring a visa can get a letter of invitation from ITMC - just let us know.
The all-inclusive IN COUNTRY price for the expedition is £3495.00
This covers everything apart from drinks and restaurant meals in
Bishkek. Single rooms are available for all hotel nights by paying a
supplement of £50.
To book a place on the expedition, please email Adrian Nelhams to
check availability and to receive an expedition booking form. Please
complete the booking form and email it back to Adrian at email@example.com
A deposit of £600.00 must then be made to secure a place on the
expedition. Adrian will email you the appropriate bank details to
confirm your place.
After your place has been secured by the deposit, we require a second
payment of £600 by the end of March and the balance payment by June
3rd. In case of cancellation, these payments are
non-refundable so please ensure that you arrange your cancellation
insurance immediately once the first payment has been made.
We look forward to welcoming you to this next ISM adventure!
This was a fantastic trip. Paolo was excellent. The accommodation great. All helped along by wall to wall sunshine, stunning arctic scenery and some superb snow, so no problems as far as I'm concerned.
Learned loads and acclimatised well during the course. Its obviously been very carefully planned. Guiding and Instruction was excellent. Anders was fantastic throughout and made the whole course really good fun. A very professional instructor with a great sense of humour. Highly recommended.
Perfectly paced and tailored, great variety of skills learned. Guiding and Instruction? Thomas was fab! Everything was pitched at the right level (no pun intended), safety was always paramount and everyone had so much fun learning everything.