“Karavshin” region is geographically situated in Turkestan Range, westerner Matcha Mountain Junction. It’s politically and administratively situated in Batkent district of Osh region of Kyrgyzstan. It can be got by helicopter or by on foot in the region. Getting here you cross 3 countries. Usually it can be started from Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Throughout Isfara town you drive up to Vorukh settlement (Tadjikistan). From here go up along the gorge of Karavshin River. Here you can rent cartage. There are 50 km or 1,5 day journey from Vorukh up to the base camp. It can be driven first 10 km by car, further on foot. Frisky alpinists can reach during a day. The most part of the way is a scorched Karavshiy Gorge. Then along Djaupaya River, omitting apricot garden and passing by abandoned stony saklyas, you get to Karasu or Aksu Gorges buried in verdure, depending on choosing by you summit. This is Kyrgyzstan now.
There are 62 climbing routes of superior (6B) category of difficulty (c.o.d.) on the territory of CIS. If it seems to you that it is very many ones, so imagine to yourself that they are scattered on the huge spaces of the Caucasus, Pamir, Pamiro-Alay and Tien-Shan. However there is a place where they are really a lot and its name is Karavshiy in alpinist world. 14 routes from this series are developed to the summits of two neighboring gorges, Aksu and Karasu, the sizes of them are not big, and at request they both can be traveled over during a day. The region was given a name from the name of the river, in which Aksu and Karasu waters flows into it at last, it is situated in Kyrgyzstan. (On writing the article the routes classification for 1998 are used. Since 1999 the classification has been changed.)
In general all summits of the region are rocky, the walls are plumb. If snow is lingered on shelves, so it’s quickly thawed and that’s why it’s necessary to take water on ascension. The rock is monolithic, granite slabs in general.
This region was discovered twice by alpinists. For the first time it was in 1936. The geologists proved tin bed and got alpinists to take part in rendering of practical and consulting assistance. Among the alpinists working with them were the brothers Yevgeniy and Vitaliy Abalakovs. Beside them some famous alpinists worked in Asan Gorge: Valentina Cheredova, Alexey Maleinov, Yevgeniy Timashov, Austrian alpinist and communist lived that time in USSR – Lents Saladin and etc. They are based in Tanygen Gorge, and at the end of the season they made an attempt of ascension on Piramidalny Peak (5509 m), nobly closing picturesque Karasu Gorge. But they couldn’t ascend, they aren’t had enough time. The summits of the region are remained untapped for 50 years yet.
Second time the alpinists discovered the region in 1986. That year the rocky class of the championship of USSR was held on extra-mural formula and it was necessary a new object of ascension. The walls of Yarydag Peak, 4200 Peak were developed and it’s requested some new. Three teams of “Odessa”, “Dnepropetrovsk” and “Planeta” (Rostov) alpinist clubs notified unknown to the most people region and represented the photos of the object of ascension with exotic name “Asan”.
Thus three first routes are developed on Asan (4230 m): on the center of North-west wall (M. Gorbenko) and two under the name of on North-west wall (S. Moroz and A. Pogorelov). Those ascensions were awarded 3 prizes places of USSR championship.
By present the region is developed well. About 50 routes are developed to it’s summits. More than half of them are 6 category of difficulty (c.o.d.) (12 routes – 6A c.o.d., 14 routes – 6B c.o.d.). The most popular summits were and are Asan, Slesova and 4810. All of them are notable as by the routes quantity developed on its walls, as by the quantity of ascensions accomplishing on them. Each of these summits determined a vogue of it’s class ascensions in it’s time.
Asan was a visit card of the region in 1986-88. At present 7 routes are developed to the summit, 6 of them are run on the plumb North-west wall, having an altitude drop more than 700 m. In 1988 2 routes were added on the center of North wall of 6B category of difficulty, by Rusyaev A. and Timofeev C. Timofeev’s route in “6B” rang was popular, however in 1993 it was appreciated as 6A c.o.d. and it’s popularity was declined in this rang. At present the most popular routes of the summit it’s the route on the center of North-west wall of 6B c.o.d. (Rusyaev, 1988) and the route on the left part of North-west wall of 6A c.o.d. (Pogorelov - Moroz, 1986).
In 1988 Slesova Peak pressed Asan Peak, the leader of rocky class. This summit is viewed as a plumb monolithic tower from Aksu Gorge.
Not by chance foreigners called it Russian Tower. The history of revelation of this tower with an altitude drop of 800 m somewhat reminds a history of revelation of Asan. 4240 Peak is situated in the neighboring gorge, literally 2 hours way from Asan Peak, but in spite of it 2 years more after Asan’s revelations it’s stayed infamous. (4240 Peak – it is official geographical name of the summit. Rostovites gave it a name “Slesova Peak”, in memory of their countryman, famous climber Ivan Slesov).
The first wall ascensions to the summit were accomplished the teams of the following alpine clubs: “Planet” (Rostov-on-Don), the leadership Pogorelov A., and “Dnepr” (Dnepropetrovsk), the leadership Moroz S., within the limits of country championship, won 1 and 2 places in accordance of the results of ascensions. These routes on North wall of 6B c.o.d. are the most popular. At present Moroz’s route are the most developed and visited. The shelf, which is fitted for tent setting, divides the route on 2 parts. Thereby the route is well suited a la classic tactic of wall ascensions, whet it’s previously prepared and traced with ropes so much, it can be come out on the shelf without overnight staying after it. From the shelf the tactic is reiterated. Such kind of ascension model is used on Asan. If there aren’t any shelves on the route, alpinists have to take with themselves a platform and hammocks for overnight staying organization. Such kind of routes on Slesova Peak are Klenov’s and Pogorelov’s route. Klenov’s route (1993) on the right part of North-west wall is considered the most complex one on Slesova Peak, and as I know, it’s still reiterated.
At present 6 routes are developed to the summit, 3 of them are 6B category. The route of Semiletkin from Leningrad of 6A c.o.d. on the center of North wall is added to already known routes in 1993. And a year earlier Spaniards developed the route on the left part of North wall. Their leader Migel Angel Galego is a quite famous Spanish alpinist having the experience of ascensions to the famous walls El Kapitana and Trango Tower. There are some more variants of earliest ascensions to the summit. Valeriy Babanov made the attempt to accomplish a premiere in solo style in 1994.
If Asan Peak was a visit card of Karavshin in 1986-88, so at present 4810 Peak mostly plays such role.
It’s noted among the summits of the region as the routes quantity (14), as its difficulty also. The summit has two plumb walls, Eastern with an altitude drop 1000 m and a wall terminating into Karasu Gorges with an altitude drop – 1200 m. In contrast to Asan and Slesova Peaks there wasn’t any intrigue in its revelation. The first ascension on the peak was accomplished by Odessian alpinists all alone in 1986. Mikhail Sitnik’s group has climbed on North ridge to the summit from Karasu. By the way it’s the one simple route to the summit, if it can be called the route of 5B c.o.d.
Accomplishing of Western and North-west walls of 4810 Peak has become a real pilgrimage in 1988. By that time all alpinists have already known about the being of monolithic wall without visible relief. It’s possible, that also the panel of judges of the championship of the country oriented themselves on it in technical class. The formula of its holding allowed to all top-level alpinists to gather in the region of Karasu Gorge. Such organizing preparation has given its results. That year 7 routes of 6 category of difficulty were developed. All prize places of championship of the country in technical class were given to the ascensions accomplished on 4810 Peak. The team from Leningrad under the direction of Rusyaev Alexey was run on the “mirror” of Western wall and has taken the 1 place. The second team from Leningrad under the direction of Kritsuk Alexey has run on the center of North-west wall - 2nd place. The team from the Ukraine, the director Gennadiy Kopeyka, on North-
west wall – 3d place. At present 6 routes of 6B category of difficulty were developed from the side of Karasu Gorge. Beside the above-mentioned routes these are routes on the center of North-west wall of Voronov A. (1988), Igolkin V. (1990) and Sakharov K. (1994). The routes of 6A c.o.d. (Ovcharenko S., Nazarenko O. and Skripko V. all in 1988) are developed on the right edging of North-west wall.
Alexey Rusyaev’s route is the most popular. With all its dignities (the popularity of the summit and 6B rang), it attracts alpinists by possibility of most part of the route by free climbing and availability of 3 shelves on the route. The difficulty of climbing is on 7A level according to French category. The speed record of Rusyaev’s route accomplishing belongs to the team of Donetsk in 1995 – 28 running hours, 2 overnight stays. The word “popular” isn’t necessary to understand literally. It does not absolutely mean that ones stand in a queue since the morning. For 10 years this route was run no more than 12 groups. However there are some alpinists who run it twice, perhaps with a goal of result improving. Alpinists from Donetsk are differing by it.
1989 was a year of revelation of Eastern wall of 4810 Peak. The team of “Odessa” alpine club under direction of Mikhail Sitnik developed the route of 6B c.o.d. on the center of the wall. Beside the premiere of wall running there was one more thing in a certain sense. The ascension wasn’t accomplished within the limits of the championship of the country that is unusual for a wall of such level. Vedernikov’s team accomplished the earliest running of 6A c.o.d. on Eastern wall also.
The most difficult route of the region was run in 1995 by a pair from Saint-Petersburg Odintsov A. and Borikhin I. Their premiere has bee lasted 11 days. The absence of shelves in the first third part of the route compelled the earliest explorers to find time for processing for than usually. One of the main problems of run “diretissima” was broken upper part of rock, which alpinists called “metamorphizing crust”.
If to follow P. Shabalin’s rate table, so the following routes according to the rang of difficulty are the routes of K. Sakharov (Moscow) on North-west wall and the routes of A. Klenov (Yekaterinburg) on Eastern wall, run by him in 1993. Muscovites made their first attempt to run their route in 1993, however they had to stepped back that year. They could finish started thing just next year. This is the leftmost route on North-west wall, without any shelves for overnight stays and they run it almost fully by climbing with ITE. This route also as Odintsov’s route isn’t still reiterated. Voronov’s route isn’t still reiterated.
It’s impossible to describe all summits of the region, however there are some summits, which it’s impossible not to notice. Mainly it’s Piramidalny Peak, the highest point of the region.
It’s stimulated alpinists’ interest as far back as 1936, however it was run just in 1987 (on Eastern spur, 5 c.o.d., Nazarov O.), and in 1989 the Central spur of North wall with an altitude drop more than 1000 m – 6A c.o.d. (Voronov) was run by Leningradwers. Piramidalny Peak and Gornyak Summit (5013 m) are noticed from the number of other summits by the fact that the routes developed on them relate to the class of combined routes, whereas all other ones to the rocky ones. Alpinists from Saint-Petersburg ascended on North-east wall (D. Sidorov’s route 6B c.o.d.) in 1992 and they gave it this name.
It is necessary to notice Ortotyubek Summit. It’s situated in Aksu Gorge and has 2 walls: Western and North-west with an altitude drop more than 700 m.
6 routes, 2 of them are 6A c.o.d., are developed on the walls. For the first time the ascension to it was accomplished by “Planeta” alpine club from Rostov-on-Don on North-west wall in 1988. The route 6A c.o.d. was developed on Western wall by alpinists of Saint-Petersburg (“Papillion” route, Ivanov V., 1993).
The French have grown fond of this summit. In 1991 young alpinists from France with their leader Fayver P. developed the route of 5b c.o.d. on it on Western wall, so-called “French rib” and in 1993 F. Pallandre’s route of 6A c.o.d. It’s necessary to note, that the region is well-known in abroad and it has already acquired the name there.
In 1991 the French route was developed on Slesova Peak also (P. Fayver, “cleft of reorganization”) and in 1993 – on Kyrkchilta Summit (4507 m) on the right part of Eastern wall of 6А c.o.d., by L. Jirion. The first ascension to this summit was accomplished in the year of 1000th Anniversary of Russia Christening and the summit was called in honor of this event.
4 routes of 6A c.o.d. were developed on Kyrkchilta. Beside the mentioned route these are Igolkin’s, Skripko’s (1988) and Grigoryev’s (1992) routes. Ptitsa Peak is remained from not mentioned peaks, which has a route of 6A c.o.d. The team from Leningrad under direction of Yevgeniy Mayorov accomplished the earliest running to Ptitsa Summit of 6A c.o.d. on the spur of north wall in 1989.
Karavshin is the region of masters, and mostly somebody who would like to show his style or
develop a new route comes here. As a rule they advocate within the limits of any championship.
However the region is the most remembered to those people, who come here for the first time, not having the experience of running of such kind of walls. The huge, plumb peaks, which it seems stretch up from under feet and generate a condition of light numbness. Sometimes it is changed into trembling feeling of unreality of occurring.