Pik Pobeda East (6762 m) - The First Ski Descent

Skiing my dreamline in the Kyrgyz Tian Shan 


In the summer of 2010, Anders Ödman and I traveled to the Tien Shan in Kyrgyzstan. Fresh from a challenging ski descent of Skhara (5193 m) in the Georgian Caucasus, I was eager for another long, aesthetic ski line on a big peak. Our initial goal was the north face of Pik Pobeda (7439 m), but it was too avalanche-prone. After scouting, we decided on the NE ridge of the remote East summit (6762 m).

We acclimatized on Khan Tengri (7010 m), where skiing was secondary to reaching the summit. The views from the top, especially of Pik Chapaeva's elegant, airy ridge, were stunning. A few days later, we began the multi-day approach up the Zvezdochka glacier, venturing into a remote world of ice and snow. Several days after leaving base camp, we started our ascent of the 50+ steep NE ridge of Pik Pobeda East. Anders turned back 200 vertical meters below the summit to conserve energy for a safe descent.


Khan Tengri
Pik Chapaeva
Anders on Pik Pobeda East
Pik Chapaeva
Avalanche off the 2500m high north face of Pik Pobeda


I continued alone, punching through wind slabs on crust and loose snow on rocks. Exhausted, I reached the summit after 14:00, later than planned. To the north, the Chinese, to the south, the Kyrgyz Tian Shan. The vast scale and extent of the mountains are just beyond anything I had seen before. With time ticking fast, I clicked into my skis and descended back to the tent on the pass. A lone ski descent - steep, exposed and above a remote desert of ice and snow - and, indeed, my finest. 
A short article on the descent is found in the >> AAJ.

Pik Pobeda main summit, seen from the East summit
Dropping in