Snow Leopard Award update

British mountaineers Jon Gupta (a contributor to T&M) and Nick Valentine have successfully summited their second peak of the Snow Leopard Award, after a nine-hour climb to the top of Tajikistan’s Korzhenevskaya last Thursday. After days of waiting in Djirgatol – following their summit of Peak Lenin on July 17th – the team were flown to Moskovin glacier basecamp on July 29th where they began their ascent into the Pamir mountain range. The duo reached the summit at 2.20pm on August 2nd, making them the first people to scale the 7,105m mountain this year.

Subsequent to a much needed rest period, August 8th saw the pair set off to tackle their next mountain, Ismail Samani, formerly known as Communism Peak. Standing at 7495m tall it is the world’s 50th highest mountain, and the third summit in the challenge. A recent update from the team’s Facebook page said: “We have 6 days of supplies and hope to summit on day 5. The route has only partially been tracked, so another first ascent of the year is possible but this will mean deep snow and climbing free, fast and alpine style!”

But their stint is not over yet. Pending their successful summit of Communism Peak, two of five 7000m mountains in the former Soviet Union remain before they head home – the remaining peaks include: Jengish Chokusu (formerly Peak Pobeda) 7,439m in Kyrgyzstan, and Khan Tengri 7,010 m (22,998 ft) on the Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border. Although the Snow Leopard Award can’t be achieved now – the boys couldn’t get to the top of Khan Tengri because of bad weather – it’s been an incredible effort by Nick and Jon and we wish them all the best for a safe and successful conclusion to the expedition!


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