Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Going out to the middle of nowhere self-supported for a month means a lot of organisation - especially the little things. We've been working away the past few weeks at grant applications and researching. We found out that QUB will cover insurance for student members, which is excellent.
We're also working on a thorough gear list - which may take some time. It turns out that there are a lot of things you need to be self-sufficient whilst mountaineering for a month.

 Today I even bought these:

Snowshoes! Only £31 in Decathlon - I'll try them out this winter in Scotland. They could be very useful.

We've been in contact with the logistics company, ITMC. In Alek's words:

Today Vladimir phones the ITMC! Since he's marking the work of unfortunate undergraduates and I'm not, I'm writing what he found out (and he isn't!). Apparently the ITMC people made a very positive general impression.

-So, how stable is the country? Stable. The parts which we're visiting are the stix so are generally quiet.

-Overland transport? 350km to Naryn (7 hours). 200km off-road to Kokshaal-Too (6 hours in good condition- conditions are unpredictable).

-Can it be sped up? Question not asked, but if conditions are good, it looks like a yes from the numbers above.

-Availability of supplies? Gas, mainly of Korean or Chinese manufacture, 250g and 10kg canisters. As far as food goes, it appears that most of everything can be bought. French, German, Russian, Kazak and local brands are most common. [Vladimir's commentary: Western brands may be more expensive while local equivalents would be cheaper]. They are happy to lend a "warehouse shop" card (think macro or metro) and intern to help with the shopping.

-Hostels, camp sites etc for Bishkek: The ITMC appears to be affiliated with "the Alpinist" which is $35 per person per night. [Alek's commentary: there are cheaper ones about]. If staying for 3 nights or more a flat can be hired, but apparently it is often easier to avoid the faff.

-Gear Storage: The ITMC will store gear free of charge.

-What day to leave Kokshaal-Too if flying out on the 9th of September: It is sensible to start out on the 6th. This gives the 6th, 7th and 8th (spare day) for getting out. The driver should arrive at the drop of point a day before the departure day.

-Expected response time to Rescue: The Kyrgyzstan mountain rescue is proud to announce that it has three helicopters [Alek's commentary: Which is more than Northen Ireland]. Rescue teams can be despatched immediately [Alek Addendum: I presume that means on the same day].

-Snowshoes: One of the local guides says that he has never needed them in the area in August. [Alek Addendum: I'll see how the weight (and Ronan's snowshoes) pan out before going yay or nay].

Additional Non Question Answers:
-Base camp tent can be hired [but it's probably cheaper and lighter to buy one].
-ITMC would like a copy of expedition report as it would be good both for them and the Kyrgyz Alpine Club.
-What ascents have actually been made and routes have been done is always a little unclear because not every group makes reports.