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
Day 6, 24/07/08: Tien Shan
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. They confirmed to us that during the night one of the Polish team (who we'd met the previous day) had fallen to his death off the main Chapaynev ridge. Words can't really explain the atmosphere - solemn, muted, dissociated.
The sudden realization at the ease at which accidents happen generally but that out here on these mountains an accident can cost a life; it also made me realize how quickly camaraderie develops between all the climbers, us included; this made for a special almost humbling feeling.
We managed to get out for a good 3hrs practicing glacial & crampon skills, great day really enjoyable though my head was still banging. Perfect timing as we got back just before the late afternoon storm blew in. We all ate some food & then sorted out the group rations ready for tomorrow night where we would be camping further up the glacier; still can't quite believe we've got 320 chocolate bars!
This evening's base camp meal was possibly the worst food I have ever attempted to eat - fishy chemically tasting smash accompanied by cold tinned fish spines! Errrrgh what is that all about?! As soon as they served it the smell was unbearable; a couple of us girls managed to develop a fit of the uncontrollable giggles; it was hilarious just couldn't stop laughing at everyone trying to keep a straight face whilst eating!