“We didn’t know what we would find. We didn’t know where we would climb. But we did know that we had to be ready. And that if we approached the trip with a strong team, everything would work out well in the end”
Last summer, Mike Libecki, Ethan Pringle, Keith Ladzinski and myself teamed up for an amazing climbing/exploring adventure in the Tian Shan Mountains. A challenging and not easy trip but great in term of experience/ learnings and friendship.
Before all I had to face a broken heel while bouldering, 2 months before I was supposed to leave. I had to decide, 2 weeks after the fracture, if I would be ready for the expedition or not. I thought I would be ready. From that time on, Neil of la Clinique du Sport in Chamonix, set up a training and rehab program that got me back on tracks faster than we were thinking.
Finaly, we left for the unexplored Tian Shan Mountains near the border of China and Kyrgyzstan, some 3,300 kilometers from Beijing. There are no comforts of civilization here. No springs rolls or rice noodles. No cell phone service or internet connection. There is only the wilderness of staggering glacier valleys and snow-capped mountains waiting to be conquered.
These valleys and mountains remain nameless. The summits have yet to be measured. There are no paths to follow, no mapped out topography, and no climbers. There are only the small communities of Kyrgyz families living together in traditional yurts.
The goal of the expedition was simple. We set out to chart a new route up one of the region’s many virgin and unknown summits.
We had to deal with unexpected weather conditions, political resistance, and distances that were far greater than we anticipated. Mike, Ethan and myself did not hesitate to make the commitment to the expedition despite the challenges. We knew that all the hardships, all the suffering, would make the trip that much more worthwhile in the end :)
Watch Episode 1 of our adventure and stay tuned for Episode 2 ;)
More on the Mountain Hardwear blog
And more photos below….