Fly to: Almaty Kazakhstan
Internal Transfer: Almaty (Kazakhstan) to Karakol (Kyrgyzstan) in minibus (9hrs 30mins)
Karakol, Kyrgyzstan - Inylchek (9hrs) in an Ex-Soviet off road Military Truck
Ex-Soviet military helicopter flight up the Inylchek glacier (35mins)
Visa required: Yes if British for both Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan
Currency:Tenge (Kazakhstan) & Som (Kyrgyzstan)
Time Zone:+6hrs GMT
Tien Shan Peak Chapayev
Day 1 - 19/07/08
The teams' assembly in the Heathrow terminal was discreet; the ginormous, Everest-ready mountaineering boots went relatively unnoticed amongst the surrounding flipflop & sandel brigade.
Day 2 - 20/07/08
As we left the airport we were swiftly met by our mini-bus; the journey was to take 8hrs 30mins and would take us across the Kazak/Kyrgyzstan border; the destination: 'hotel Amir' in Karakol.
Day 3 - 21/07/08
Breakfast at 9:00am - semolina with cinnamon, strangely quite a pleasant eating experience! Our guide rallied his troops & provided us with the list of food required to supplement the meals at base camp.
Day 4 - 22/07/08
Up at 3am - with no power in the hotel; so everyone was desperately searching their packs for the ever elusive 'head torch!' The Military truck arrived at 3:50am so we began loading all of our gear.
Day 5 - 23/07/08
Up at 8:00am for a leisurely breakfast at base camp, today would be spent acclimatizing; so I took the opportunity to wash up some underwear. The walk to & from the toilet (a term used loosely!) was exhausting.
Day 6 - 24/07/08
Left camp at 8:00am to head off & practice glacial travel; there was a lot of snow fall during the night, so we awoke to beautiful clean fresh snow! As we entered the base camp 'dining' tent Mischa & the cook were frantically talking on the radios.
Day 7 - 25/07/08
Up at 7:00am; we packed up 3 tents to carry up the glacier. We were roped up in our respective tent teams as we made our traverse along the glacier. The further up the glacier we walked the more we could see the ridge on which we would be make our ascent of Chapayev - hmm looking pretty exposed!
Day 8 - 26/07/08
Up at 5:00am to start melting the snow for water; we sampled the delights of our dehydrated hot breakfast cereal - Mmmm I thought it was lovely, very filling, nobody else seemed to share my opinion; certainly beats having to make & cook the stuff yourself!
Day 9 - 27/07/08
Up at 7:00am to devour a lovely hot muesli breakfast with peaches & fried bread; probably the first morning I haven't woken up with a headache - sure it's because I'm now 100% comfortable with the nature of the task I'm just about to embark on.
Day 10 - 28/07/08
Up at 4:00am this morning ready for our load carry up to camp 1; a very hard, exhausting day. Achilles aches like buggery & ascending the fixed rope sections was pretty knackering; more so as a result of altitude.
Day 11 - 29/07/08
Up at 8:30am for another chillout acclimatization day; tomorrow we leave base camp in order to make our 8 day summit attempt (incl spare days) - feeling like I just want to get up on the mountain now & achieve what I've come here to do.
Day 12 - 30/07/08
Up at 7:00am for our last breakfast at base camp; we left camp at 10:30 to start the 1hr walk across the glacier to the foot of Chapayev. From the base the climb to camp 1 took approx 3hrs.
Day 13 - 31/07/08
Up at approx 5:00am; leaving at 7:00am with our load carry to camp 2. An excruciatingly painful day! Altogether an arduous slog all on fixed ropes with some vertical ice/rock climbs.
Day 14 - 01/08/08
We had a lie in this morning, for which we were very grateful. Once again we cooked up our infamous, specialty noodles - there was more than enough for two helpings & even a few Russian climbers brought over their bowls.
Day 15 - 02/08/08
Up at 4:30am this morning, I ate a gorgeous dehydrated breakfast of porridge & strawberries - it's apparent that I'm the only one eating these breakfasts (can't think why they're fantastic!).
Day 16 - 03/08/08
Had an awful nights' sleep, kept waking up totally disorientated & was having major difficulties breathing - quite amazing how the effects of altitude make you suddenly aware of your own body.
Day 17 - 04/08/08
We awoke at 3:45am & started our regime of snow melting; I rushed out of the tent urgently needing a wee & got absolutely blasted by the freezing blizzard conditions - It certainly adds a new dimension to an abrasive skin exfoliate! Oh how I long for those bombay-zips!
Day 18 - 05/08/08
Up at 4:10am melting water; still a lot of spin drift about & it's pretty windy but we've decided we're going to give the summit a shot (today is our last spare day so it was an all or nothing decision).
Day 19 - 06/08/08
Up & ready to leave camp 2 at 8:00am because the 'unclimbed' Adventure Peaks team were following us up the mountain it meant that we could leave all our tents pitched (a great help since I'd dug the snow-shutes in pretty deep!).
Day 20 - 07/08/08
Up at 6:10am this morning; the weather was overcast & murky so our helicopter pick-up was delayed until 9:00am. We carried all our gear onto the glacier & as the chopper came in we had to lie ontop of it to prevent it being sucked up by the blades.
Day 21 - 08/08/08
Up at 7:00am for a final breakfast in Karakol; boiled egg, ham, fruit salad & yoghurt; then onto the mini-bus for the 9hr drive to Almaty (Kazakhstan). Great scenery & the weather became scorching hot the minute we entered Kazakhstan.
Day 22 - 09/08/08
Awoke at 6:00am feeling very hot & clammy; packed up our gear had breakfast & then got the minibus to the airport. Almaty airport is very small with no shops (a bit gutting).