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Qinghai Virgin Peaks Expedition 2012: Tackling 6000m virgin peaks in the Tanggulashan area of Qinghai, China
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The “Spirit of Singapore Expedition 2009”, makes 3 virgin peak ascents including the tough peak later named Majulah Peak
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Welcome to the Qinghai Virgin Peaks Expedition 2012 blog pages. In Sep 2012, two  Singaporean mountaineers will travel to Qinghai, in southwest China, and attempt to climb the highest virgin peak yet to be atempted by SE-Asian mountaineers. Led by motivational speaker and leadership coach, David Lim, the team will attempt the 6000-metre high Dragon’s Tooth in the Tanggula Shan mountains in Qinghai. The location and research on his peak reads like something out of a  detective story – stay tuned to developments here.

 

The Qinghai plateau is an extension of the Tibetan Plateau, and has it’s own unique mountain ranges. The team will be focusing their efforts in a glacier just east of the famous Tanggula Shan pass (5100m). For nearly nine months, a clear photo of the peak we are attempting was not available anywhere on the internet. Then through a detailed process of combing through 2 decades of glaciologists’ reports, and old Russian military maps, the peak was identified and then matched with a photo and name. The orange arrow below shows the climbing area, and the upper orange arrow points to the town of Golmud the team’s launch point for the expedition.

 

The panorama below conclusively identifies the “Dragon’s Tooth”  ( described as Medy-Kun on Russian maps, and Longyala elsewhere). Many thanks to Jeff Munroe and Koji Fujita, who helped complete our research, though one can never know everything about a peak that has not be climbed! This  is NOT a trip with professional guides and sherpa porters

Above: the Dongkemadi Glaciers c. 1993-1994

 We would like to thank our partners who are assisting our expedition with critical support and equipment; and we’d like to thank long time partners of David Lim,  Canon*; our Official Digital Equipment partner, whose support includes the loan of video cameras and the provision of the new Canon D20 shock/water/weather-proof cameras;  Energizer” for their AA/AAA lithium batteries, and Banana Boat anti-UV sunscreen products, GNC, who are our Official Sports Nutrition partner again. David’s unique needs as a partially disabled climber was helped by a new Ankle Foot Orthotic, the Noodle AFO, designed and produced by Kinetic Research

Our other partners include:
China Eastern Airlines for excess baggage support;

Devor Technologies for satellite communications support and loan of a Thuraya XT satphone;

Everest Motivation Team PL

* Canon(Singapore) was Official Digital Imaging Partner for David’s expeditions to Everest (2001), Ascent 8000(2002), Kilimanjaro (2004) and the Tien Shan Virgin Peaks Expedition (2009)

**Energizer was a partner of David’s past adventures including the 4th ever crossing on foot of the world’ largest salt desert, the Salar de Uyuni (2007), and the 4th solo ascent of the world’s highest volcano, Ojos del Salado in 2005

The Team:

Below, from L to R:  David Lim, veteran leader and climber of over 65 ascents and high altitude expeditions; Mohd Rozani bin Maarof, climber with multiple altitude expedition experience including being a member of David’s two Mt Everest Expeditions in 1998 and 2001. Together, they have also made six virgin peak ascents in the Tien Shan range in the past seven years.

Enjoy the couple of dozen photos here, and thanks for dropping by

Ever get that feeling that you are still in the mountainseven if you are back at home?  It was quite a ride – but we had a safe conclusion.  It took 2 hours to get off the glaciers  beause the macpac tent had become frozen to the ice below and had to be carefully chipped free. We dropped down to the snout of the glacier in just e hour – compared to the 2.5 hours it had taken us to climb up from the snout 5 days earlier. From there it was delicious hot mutton soup and a long long ride 600km back to Golmud where we ended up doing some sightseeing in the jade market and some souvenir hunting for our friends. Roz managed to attend Friday prayers at the local mosque.

Looking back at the summit climb, it was really a call we had to make that might have gone either way. Roz was not feeling strong on the 25th, and I had to kickstep and lead all the way to the false summit at 6000m. I was feeling stronger and more motivated than in all my recent climbs and my performance that morning reminded me of my Ojos Del Salado solo back in 2005.   Below is a great photo by Rozani of the morning light heading up to the pass between the Dongakemadi and West Glacier basin. We called this section the Sha-di Glacier, after the towering snowy peak to the right (west). The route turns left in this photo and goes up a 40 degree ridge for 400-vertical metres. All the months of high intensity functional training, P90X and a change in the fitness regime was paying off!

Then, lookimg over the hump, we didnt see what we thought was a straightforward rising travers to the top. Instead, there was a 50m plus drop to a ridge that was corniced one way , rising up to another section of the ridg that was corniced in the other direction. And then with softening snow conditions and the weather turning iffy ( see the colour of the sky), we bailed. With a stronger , faster team,I think the summit could have been tagged, but we were not up to that task. As a partially disabled climber, it’s already hard and tiring work to keep up with the usual team – let alone having to break trail and lead all day…

That being said, the views were remarkable. Over on the other side, we could see the Small and Large Dongekemadi Glaciers – which confirmed that the easiest route to the top was from that side. And then from the West Glacier – superb views of up to a dozen objectives of peaks in the 5700-6000m range include Sha-Di ( of Bird Peak in Tibetan) just opposit on the glacier connecting the Dongkemadai side with the West Glacier side.