The Altai

Exploration in Southern Siberia, 9th-28th August 2012

The unclimbed N face.

N face to 3716m Peak

Date: 17th August 2012
Climbers: G. Cave, C. Conlon
Status: Almost certainly unclimbed

Route Description

From a bivy overlooking the face, climb down onto the glacier and head up towards the face. The plan was to proceed up the North face to the summit and then either make the traverse to the North or escape down to the South. The route was abandoned 100m onto the glacier.

Route Details

The approach took around 4-5 hours from our campsite to a bivy looking down onto the glacier. Rainfall in the previous days had left the rivers much higher than we would have liked, and crossing them in mid afternoon was fairly exciting.


We left the bivy site at around 3am, and reached the glacier not long afterwards. The end of the glacier tapered out under the moraine and we were around 100m onto the glacier properly before we decided to pause and gear up.

On the approach, we heard the noises of the glacier creaking and groaning. However, on reaching the gearing up site, the noises became far more persistent with loud cracking sounds running straight past our feet, and echoing booms from nearby. Quite spooked, and not used to standing on such a noisy, dynamic glacier, we beat a hasty retreat to safety.

Had we continued, we aimed to summit and then if time allowed to complete the traverse N across the dramatic looking ridge line and return past our bivy site. The 3716m summit lies half way along this ridge.

Previous Known Ascents

We know of only one previous traverse of the ridge, and almost certainly there have been no ascents of the face. It may prove considerably safer in cooler, winter conditions, but we wouldn't like to say any more than this.