Saturday, September 1

September 2001 - Target 7,000m

By now I felt that I had a good mountaineering platform from which to attempt higher altitudes. The opportunity arose when Victor Saunders ( was organising an attempt on an un-climbed peak in Western China near Mustaghata, called Koskulak (7,028m). What a fabulous trip, in an amazing part of the world. I did not want to leave Kashgar, felt as though it had almost been left behind by time – that is the old section that has not been influenced by modern China.
With local Kirgiz

Unfortunately we ran into the end of the clear weather patch and got stuck in a blizzard at camp III. The motivating fact for me was that I was feeling strong and believed that if the weather had held, we would have reached a virgin summit. I stand to be corrected and I need to find some notes but I think we got to 6,600m [Tony can you help?]

– With local team

Wednesday, August 1

August 2001 – Kirgyzstan

Ever been to an ex-Russian state called Kirgyzstan? No, ok lets go and hike up the Inylchek glacier, yes on your birthday, yes camping again on your birthday! This time on a moving creaking glacier. Here we spent a couple of weeks doing the most amazing trek with Sasha and “family” The objective was to acclimatise and get my mountain legs in preparation for an attempt on an unclimbed peak in Western China. I have to admit that I planned a route that was a little adventurous for the amount of time we had available – it ended up being a hard long slog without any rest days. As it was Claire’s “holiday” I had hoped we would be able to rest along the way and enjoy the scenery – so I got grumpy (due to my bad planning) and walked at the back, while Claire did an amazing job literally skipping up the icy glacier. By now Gromit was an integral part of my climbing – and it was after this that he put himself in charge of planning and navigation.

Thursday, March 1

March 2001 - Ice Ice baby

Waterfall ice – now that’s the stuff. An absolutely fabulous medium to climb. Just relying on the front points of your crampons and some technical ice tools to keep you suspended. I’m not a great rock climber, but I think, as long as you totally trust the ice, one can climb up some amazing formations. Claire and I had some great times with Anders Swensson and Terry


Looking down the ice column