This is a blog about the expedition being run to the Dzhirnagaktu valley of the Western Kokshaal-Too range of the Tien Shan in Kyrgyzstan in August 2012.
You've never heard of it? Neither has anyone. That's the point. It's an entire glacier with 4000m and 5000m peaks surrounding it that has only had one confirmed visit (a Polish team in 2010 - see here)
If all goes to plan we will be standing on top of peaks that no-one has ever climbed before, in an unspoilt valley in a Central Asian Republic most people haven't even heard of. An amazing privilege.
But before then there's a lot of work to do...
This expedition has been in the pipeline for a few years. It's being run by Queen's University Belfast Mountaineering Club and all members are involved with the club. It doesn't, however, start feeling real until the money is on the table, and it's come to that time. AN expedition plan has been created, the trip has been costed, and grant applications are being filled out. It's time to get ready. And when the snow comes, it'll be time to practice, and get fit. I can't wait!
Team members are being finalised, but as it stands the expedition will be composed of
Conor Gilmour, Expedition Leader Mountaineering Officer of QUBMC and 'jack of all trades' climber, he has tried it all, gotten frustratingly good at it, survived and come away with a good story. Despite the fact that he tends to injure himself when let anywhere near civilisation, he is the safest pair of hands (and crampons) in the mountains. Fun fact: His laugh can be heard for miles.
Rónán Kernan President of QUBMC and has shared
Alek Zholobenko Former Mountaineering Officer of QUBMC and has just finished a PhD in
Vladimir Zholobenko Father of Alek and Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Keele. Vladimir has extensive experience of caving expeditions throughout Europe and the former USSR as well as being an excellent mountaineer and climber. Unlike the rest of us, he can keep up with Alek. Extremely dependable and knows how to run an expedition. Fun fact: there is no better way to be woken up than to be offered tea by Vladimir.
Bradley Morrell Lake District based mountaineer who met the QUBMC guys in the Alps. As well as a solid grounding in rock and winter climbing in the UK, this lucky sod had a full summer season of mountaineering in Chamonix in 2011, ticking off some of the classics and climbing the Matterhorn and Frendo Spur, amongst others. Fun fact: He cannot attempt an Irish accent to save his life
Azwan Iza Former member of QUBMC who defected to Dundee (but we're not
So that's it for now. Back to the grant applications, and I think I've a degree or something like that to be studying for...
Until next time, check out at the video made by the guys who went to Dzhirnagaktu in 2010