This page is devoted to our guests, who have climbed tops of the mountains in Russia and CIS. You can read their reports here:


PAMIR ALAY - paradizo di granito

Pamir Alay, Asan-Usan, Ak-Su (Kyrghystan), 1-28 August 1996

Pic Slesov (4240m), southern spur "Una stella per Ulughbek", 1000m, VII+

Pic Slesov, western buttress "Trenta passi nella meta del cielo", 600m, Vll+

Piramyde du Pamir (3100m), south west crest "Est per Giacomo", 350m, V

Our expedition | The Pamir Alay and the Asan-Usan region | Brief history and the current situation
Getting there - The climate and the people | Resources


    Marco Borghetti (C.A.I. Parma)
    Roberto Invernizzi (C.A.I. Parma)
    Stefano Righetti (C.A.A.I.)

3850Central Asia and its forbidden mountains

Central Asia - a place which immediately evokes the legendary Silk Road, the long journey undertaken by Marco Polo to the court of the Great Khan, and the religious-tribal fanaticism which, entwining around the secret aims of the greater and smaller powers, ensure that this "centre of the earth" is far too often the scene of terrible crises.

Vast deserts, towering mountains and unending steppes play host to what was once a great and important people, now nomads. Here there are high plateaus and soaring peaks where, as in the words of Marco Polo, "no birds fly, so high and cold is it here". In recent times they have suffered at the hand of political "experiments", but this area is now free of Soviet domination.

This part of Central Asia, once not easily accessible or simply out of bounds, is not without reason described as being the "roof of the world", for it is from here that the highest mountains on earth branch away - the Karakorum and the Himalayas southwards, the Hindu Kush westwards, and the Tian-Shan off to the north east.

The Pamir is an immense region, dominated by the giant Pic Communism (7495m) and Pic Lenin (7134m), once the highest mountains in the now defunct Soviet Union. Central Asia entices those travellers in search of new horizons, tired of seeing the "déjà vu", as the sheer number of unexplored valleys, untouched glaciers and huge, unclimbed rock faces is breathtaking.....

Our expedition

After having pitched our tents in the Ak-Su valley (valley of clear waters) at the beginning of August 1996 at the base of the imposing Pie Slesov (4240m), we quickly identified a magnificent unclimbed spur. Our base-camp, situated in a luscious field close to shady juniper bushes and yak herds, was just a few 100m from the start of the route.

"Una stella per Ulughbek" as it was eventually named, is 27 pitches long (1000m), graded VI+ and ascends up magnificent and often vertical granite cracks. One third of the route was prepared prior to the actual climb and the night spent in a freezing bivouac on the summit, gazing at the thousands of stars above.

The route
Ulughbek, King of Samarkand and nephew of Timur, studied astronomy in great depth but neglected the political sphere. He attempted to govern according to the principles of reason and tolerance instead of basing his decrees on science and instruction. Whilst still young he was deposed by a conservative faction and decapitated. Situations like this continue to exist, not only in remote regions such as the Asan-Usan.

Thanks to an extended period of excellent weather we succeeded in putting up two other new routes in the Ak-Su valley, namely "Trenta passi nella meta del cielo", 700m, Vlll- rising up magnificent slabs and cracks, and "Est per Giacomo", 350 m, V which climbs up the crest of a typical pyramidal spire.

Map Asan-Usan

The rest of our time was spent reading, going on panoramic walks and sharing moments with the Kirghisi shepherds and their children. Finally, we visited Samarkand, still profoundly evocative of the journeys to the treasures of the Orient, with its mosques and navy blue sun-baked majohca domes. It was the perfect ending to our trip.

For further information contact

Copyright Russianclimb, 2002 - 2013. homepage e-mail