Twitter feeds
  • by

Picture above: The Singapore national flag as the backdrop for the peak dubbed The Razor, 5576m, Sary Dhaz range, Central TienShan

Kongsberg Maritime delivers products and systems for positioning, navigation and automation to merchant vessels and offshore installations, as well as products and systems for seabed surveying and monitoring, and for fishing vessels and fisheries research. The business area is a market leader in these areas.Kongsberg is the:

Premier Expedition Sponsor:

Official HD Camcorder
Official Digital Camera
Official Health Supplement Partner

Main Expedition Sponsor:

About The Expedition [ Scroll below for latest dispatches from the team]

The “ Spirit of Singapore Expedition 2009”, intends to climb several virgin peaks in the Tien Shan mountain range in Central Asia. Stretching across large tracts of China (Xinjiang), Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan, the Tien Shan range contains one of the highest concentrations of unclimbed peaks in the world. The expedition will focus on peaks in the Adyrtor and Sary Dhaz range, a quiet, rarely frequented area, and far from the popular 7000m peaks in the area.

The Maccoffee Tien Shan Expedition in 2005 made the first ascents by any SE-Asian team,by scaling three virgin peaks, and naming them Temasek, Singapura I and Ong Teng Cheong Peaks, garnering significant media and sporting attention at the time. A team will return to the Central Tien Shan area.

In 2009, the Expedition will not only attempt more virgin peaks, but will also attempt the first ascent of an unnamed peak, thought to be 5000-6000m in height, which has been dubbed “The Razor” on a prior aerial reconnaissance. This would be highest unclimbed peak attempted by a Singapore team

Climbing virgin peaks represents some of the boldest and imaginative mountaineering available in the world. It takes the climber into a realm of uncertainty and risk. When more than 500 people climbed Mt Everest In 2008, with crowds queueing up for the summit on some days; where the trail is staked with marker flags and human , how do we find new frontiers – and surpass them?




Latest photos after the team’s return:

L to R: Stanley Leong(of 93.8FM Live!), Rozani and Grant on the ” Living Room” chat show – being interviewed after the successful climbs. Photo: David Lim Above: Cover of the The Sunday Times newspaper Aug 30, 2009. David and Rozani on the summit of the newly climbed “Majulah Peak” 5152m. Photo of the pair by Grant Rawlinson. This was just one of many mass media articles covering the expedtion Majulah Peak is the peak on the right. The route to the top took the ridge dropping down towards the camera. Peak 5153(left) had one abortive summti attempt. Foreground: David climbing up final section to Peak 4147, named Resileince Peak. Photo: Grant Rawlinson

About The Tien Shan Mountains

Amongst the northern most mountains, the Tien Shan or Celestial Mountains like acrosse national borders of China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The first European to penetrate the range was 22-year old Piotr Seminov, already a member of the Russian Geographic Society. In 1856 he made his first expedition to the Lake Issyk Kul region.

The following summer he returned to the region and counted at least thirty high mountains, the highest which he believed to be Khan Tengri (6995m). Others later visited the region, among them famed explorers like Swedish Sven Heding, Italian Cesare Borghese, accompanied by Swiss mountain guide Mattias Zurbriggen, and a whole set of Russian explorers. Gottfried Merzbacher of Germany, who was a keen scientist one of the most skilled mountaineers of his time, visited the area in 1902 with the objective of trying to climb Khan Tengri. From west of this peak, some of the world’s longest glaciers, the North and South Inylcheck glaciers flow westwards for 60km.. Dozens of 4000 – 5000m peaks remain untouched and unexplored.

The Expedition Plan and Challenges

The expedition will travel from Kazakhstan’s capital Almaty to Karkara Basecamp, a grassy, permanent establishment located just over the border from Kyrgyzstan ( 6 hours by van, Karkara is at 2200m). From here, the team will hitch a ride by helicopter to enter the Mushketova Glacier, just south of the 2005 expedition’s Semionova glacier climbs, and just inside Kyrgyzstan. From here, and likely to be the only humans for a 50 square kilometres area, attempt several climbs, including that of the unnamed peak they have dubbed “The Razor” 5576m.

Challenges include routefinding, timing of the climbs, as well as the significant elevation gain on snow and ice from their glacier camp at 3700m to the 5000m summits around them. Unlike almost any Himalayan expedition, the team will be climbing in lightweight style, without guides, using fixed ropes, high altitude porters, cooks and all the usual coterie of supporters siege style expeditions deploy.

Above: Possible route to climb The Razor Above:Heli-view of 2005 virgin peaks climbed(left) and new possibilities!

The Team:

David Lim: Singapore’s most prolific mountaineer, with over 60 alpine ascents and expeditions including leading the 1st Singapore Everest Expedition in 1998, and the second (from the north ridge, 2001) Singapore Everest expedition. Partially disabled from Guillain Barre Syndrome since 1998, he continues to inspire thousands through his seminars and presentations, and is one of Asia’s leading motivational coaches and speakers. Made the first all-Singapore ascent of Aconcagua, the highest peak in North and South America in Feb 2000, soloed Ojos del Salado ( 6893m ) in 2005, and many South East Asian mountaineering ‘ firsts’.To learn more, see his FAQ page from 2002.

Mohd Rozani, high ropes access specialist. A member of the 1st Singapore Everest Expedition in 1998. He set an oxygen-free record when he climbed to 7950m on Everest’s North Ridge in 2001. Led expeditions to train novice mountaineers in the Tien Shan ranges (2000) and Nepal (2004). A member of the successful 2005 Maccoffee Tien Shan virgin peaks expedition. Known as the ‘technician’ of the team, his technical climbing skills are often brought to bear on the crux of a climb

Grant Rawlinson, Sales manager, is a Singapore permanent resident, and originally from New Zealand. Grant has made numerous ascents in the NZ Alps, including ascents of Mt Aspiring. His expeditionary experience includes lightweight ascents of Damavand’s north ridge, Takte-Rostam, Mt Elbrus and the difficult Polish Glacier Direct route on Aconcagua (6962,m). Grant brings sensibility, and a wicked, sick sense of humour when the expedition needs a lift

June-July 2009

< Left: Grant Rawlinson on a endurance training session in the Singapore nature reserves. Photo taken in pouring rain (see floods of water on steps) using the Canon D10 all-weather camera

> Right: Packing supplements from GNC. The team will rely on a variety of sports nutrition including sports drinks, energy gels and bars as part of their carry-light expedition plans


15 Jul 2009 Media Conference

Media Conference at 1430hrs,Canon Digital Lab
1 HarbourFront Avenue, #01-03 Keppel Bay Tower, Singapore 098632

Concluded at 1530hrs with attendance by major local media including reporters and photographers from The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Today, and 93.8FM

27 Jul 2009

KB Access Pte Ltd has joined the Spirit of Singapore Expedition as Main Expedition Sponsor! Representing world-level standards in excellence and risk management, KB Access is an organisation that provides rope access services and consultancy in multi discipline industries. These include a range of inspection techniques and maintenance / repair at industrial sites, works in relation to construction where high or difficult access solutions may be required and spot application work suited to remote or difficult access.

30 Jul 2009

Kongsberg Maritime has joined the Spirit of Singapore Expedition as the Premier Sponsor. At Kongsberg, corporate social responsibility means taking into account the communities in which the Group operates and which are affected by their activities. It also involves relations with their employees, society-at-large and external stakeholders.

“All of us at KM wish you and the team a SAFE & successful achievement ahead, make us proud.”

Antoney Wellesley, Regional Manager

3 Aug, 2009 Monday

2AM Kazakhstan Time

We all arrived safely in Almaty early this morning at 2am (Kazak time). Spending the night in same hotel we stayed in 9 years ago, Hotel Zhetusy, brought back some memories. Things have not changed, they just got old. A customs guy yanked Roz and I into a small room, and proceeded to give us the shakedown. ” Tenge? US dollar? You give me, he says”. We refused. Then Every item in our baggage was met with a shake of the head and ” this one…BIG problem”. .We got out in the end, pissed off at the Kazakh welcome, Corrupt officials are plenty – just need to deal with this.

We are going shopping for food supplies and rations this morning (maybe stock up on lamb and other essentials) then take a mini van to Karkara Base Camp 5 hours away.

8PM Kazakhstan Time
It was a long ride, 5 hours plus. The only good thing is that we did not walk to Karkara.

We are now at Karkara basecamp and will spend 2 nights here. Arrived just after 3.30pm. We were welcomed by rain but this quickly turn sunny after a short while. We met up with Kazbek Valiev, the owner of Kan Tengri Expeditions. He has helped us with climbing and travelling logistics on our 2 previous Tien Shan trips since 2001.

Our meeting with Kazbek was essential. We had a detailed strategic planning session with Kazbek to discuss the logistics of this trip eg. helicopter schedules, pick-up etc. A bit business-like but very important to check and confirm all necessary details before we move into the mountains. We like to climb mountains and ‘return’ from Mushketova Glacier intact.

Tomorrow, we will hike around basecamp. It should be a relaxing day packing, buying fuel for our stoves before we take the helicopter into the mountains the following day.

4 Aug 2009 Tuesday

730PM Karkara Basecamp

We have been having fickle weather all day, rain then sunny, then rain again. Hope that the weather is more stable up in the mountains. We flew the Singapore flag on the flag pole and ‘hum’ the Majulah Singapura.

We had a 3 hours hike around the hills at Karkara BC, even with the fickle weather. However, the helicopter crew that comes back to BC reported that there was no heavy snow on the mountains. Good for climbing. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

It started raining again at about 730PM (Kazak time). Hail and ice as big as oranges were dropping on my head! We had to stay under cover and pray furiously that we are not getting this sorta weather on the mountains.

We should be flying out to the mountains on helicopter tomorrow.


5 Aug 2009 Wednesday

12Noon 3950M Mushketova Glacier

Helicopter insertion into the Sary Dhaz range in the Central TienShan mountains.

We reached basecamp after a 30mins flight on a Kyrgyz army Mi-8 (Ми-8) helicopter. It was a good ride and the views coming in was spectacular. We were quiet and just looking at the mountains (of course the noise of the engine kept us from too much talk too). We landed 6km east up the glacier from where we initially intended to set up base camp. The unexpected offers us new possibilities, we refuse to let anything get us down. We selected this alternative location because it offers us more climbing objectives.

We have set-up base camp, 2 tents. Roz gets his own, snores too loudly. Grant and I shares the other.

We are munching bread and cheese for lunch right now. At this altitude and temeprature, bread remains fresh for a while. Even so, it’s nice to chew on freshly baked bread that’s not frozen. We are all acclimatising well. Grant is moving around a bit slowly right now. Probably because of the altitude and tight muscles. Roz is fiddling around the stove and trying to get that going for tea. Me, the usual aches that a good stretch will solve.

From where we are, we can see the other side of Singapura Peak. Our old camp, where we set off for our previous climbs is on the other side of Singapura Peak. We will probably go for a hike around the area to do a bit of recce and stretch the muscles.

8PM 3950M Mushketova Glacier

It just started snowing. Wind’s a bit strong too. But we have had our dinner and right now we are just relaxing in our tents listening to the winds and the flapping of our tents. Hydrating and just trying to relax. We will continue with our plans of doing a recce tomorrow.

6 Aug 2009 Thursday

We did a 3 hour acclimatisation hike this morning. My leg is holding up well. The weather got a bit sunny after 9AM. We returned to base-camp for lunch. The hike got us a bit peckish and we tucked in a meal of tortillas, cheese and horse meat. All local food from Almarty. In our recce, we spotted a nice hill to work out our muscles, 4468M un-named peak. We will attempt this hill tomorrow morning. For now, we are all well and looking forward to something soupy for dinner.

We will begin our climb at about 430AM. From our earlier recce, we plan to begin by climbing up via a gully on the side of the mountain and after that do a snow traverse to the summit. This climb will probably take us about 5 to 6 hours. The thing about climbing a virgin peak is that we are never sure what lies ahead. The challenge to meet the unexpected does have its pleasure. And it is always special to know that we could be placing our feet on ground that has never known human footfalls.

Left: The team’s primary digital camera, the all-weather Canon D10.

Freeze/shock/water proof. This 12MP, optically stabilized digital zoom ( 3x optical zoom) is just the ticket for expeditions!


7 Aug 2009 Friday

4:12PM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier

It was a very dark 5AM when we started out. It was very quiet on the mountain. Our heavy breathing, our footfalls on the scree was all that we could hear as we begin our climb, that and the occasional grunt from Roz. The first challenge was a very big scree slope up the gully. The loose gravel always pose a small challenge for my right foot. Once over that, it was a relief to get onto the snow. From the snow line, we did a traverse across to the summit. The weather was perfect for climbing.

We summited at 10AM. 4582M.
It was a great climb up. From this summit, we had great views of the peaks that we summited in our 2005 Tienshan Expedition. (Temasek Peak, Singapura Peak and Ong Teng Cheong Peak). We traverse across the peak for a look around on the summit before starting our descent.

We returned to basecamp at 230PM. Tired but with the good feeling of having done a good job today. We sat down to some hot tea (Grant at work here) and stuffed down bread with loads of honey. In between we started brainstorming names for this peak. Sweet stuff!!

Dinner tonight is mushroom soup. Food for champions!!

LEFT: Photo of Kongsberg peak, taken from Resilience Peak , climbed few days later). The route comes up from the bottom right side and takes the obvious rudge between sunshine and shadow

8 Aug 2009 Saturday

12Noon, Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier
Today is rest day. We are recovering from yesterday’s exertion and resting before the climb tonight. We had a breakfast of horsemeat omelette. The horsemeat tastes like horse, not beef. Earlier, we discovered a glacier pool nearby. It was covered with ice. We cracked that open and had a good bath in really “ice-cold” water. Roz and Grant jumped in, it was a sight, seeing those two splashing around. I had a good wash too and even got to wash my hair.

We will set off for that big peak tonight at midnight. Its height is estimated at 5153M. We will rest this afternoon and have some eats and hydrate well in the evening before the climb.

9 Aug 2009 Sunday

Happy Birthday Singapore! Singapore’s National Day

10AM, Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier
We started at 1AM. Grant lead the climb. We trudged across a 2KM moraine to begin our climb. The moraine was basically glacial debris, rock, scree and ice. Our target was a 5153M peak. When we reached the possible trail head to the climb we find much soft snow. We think that if we were to climb on this terrain, we could actually trigger off an avalance. The snow slab on the mountain looks unstable. This was probably due to the warm nights that we have been having. What we needed would be a few frosty nights to harden the soft snow into ice. At 330AM, we decided to turn back. It was not an easy decision but we intend to continue climbing in the future…. Grant did a great job leading the climb.

Reached basecamp after walking the 2KM moraine. Crawled into the tent, drank water and slept. I was so tired that I fell asleep with my headtorch still on my head. Discovered that just now when I woke up. We had some eats and loads of liquids. Right now, we are resting and preparing for tomorrow’s climb which is likely to be a mountain north of basecamp.

There are a string of 5000+M mountains south of Base Camp. If last night’s atempt is any guide, we will need more warm days and frosty nights to harden the snow into ice that will hold for us to climb on.

We will begin our next attempt at 3AM tonight. We have picked a mountain north of basecamp. For now we rest and hydrate.

10 Aug 2009 Monday

3:10PM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
It rained and snowed from 10PM last night. We woke at 3AM, hydrated and ate some food before moving off at 3:30AM towards another un-named peak (estimate height 4447M). To be safe, we choose a route that is not dominated by snow. Trudging through wet snow can be exhausting. Roz decided to stay tucked inside his sleeping bag. He was a bit under the weather and the wet snow did not make him too excited.

After crossing the moraine from basecamp, we reached the foot of the hill and started up the scree slope. The wet snow with scree underneath was challenging for me. From the scree slope we ascended via the ridgeline up towards the summit. We reached the summit at 9AM. The height was 4457M. N42.317051 E79.934120 Great views around. We were tired. We made our way back to basecamp by 12:30PM.
LEFT: Resilience Peak. The ridge to the summit provided some interesting 3rd class scrambling

At basecamp, Roz greeted us with a big smile and a pot of hot soup. Nice but I could not get crispy prata and some fish-head curry out of my mind.

For now, with the continuous rain and snow, we are holding off doing the larger mountains south of basecamp. These mountains are pretty much snow covered and avalanche prone. The rain results in soggy and mushy snow. Warm nights does help either. We are hoping for a bit of cold nights to harden the mush into climbing ice.

We are all in good shape physically. Tired but feeling happy with the latest climb. We are resting and drinking loads of tea and other good stuff.

11 Aug 2009 Tuesday

3:26PM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
The day has been gloomy and wet. Rain and mushy snow. It does look like there will be more rain over the next two days. What we need are a few frosty nights to harden all that mush into ice. We spent the day preparing for our next climb tonight and resting from yesterday’s jaunt. We are pretty pleased at having summited 2 peaks so far. Morale, good. We will leave for our climb tonight at about 3AM, unless it storms.

For lunch, we had toasted tortillas with cheese and salami. It would have been perfect if we had a few bottles of good wine. We made do with hot tea instead.

12 Aug 2009 Wednesday

7:26AM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
Heavy snow last night. We decided not to brave the snow and wait out the bad weather. Earlier at dawn, Roz and Grant went to do a recce. They walked to the base of the mountain at the place where we set off for the second peak yesterday and retrived an ice axe. We are all healthy, no flu etc and breathing fresh air.

Weather turning sunny, hope that this good weather will continue. We are going off to recce a glacier in the afternoon.

12NOON Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
The last two hours has been baking hot!! But in the last few minutes, a wild cloud barrel up from the west with graupel (soft hail, kinda like small lumps of icy snow) and thunder. Grant and Roz is about an hour away.

7PM Basecamp
We will attempt to climb a mountain south of basecamp. We estimate that it is about 5000M. From this summit, we will attempt to traverse across to 2 lower peaks on the same ridgeline before coming down. It will be a long day tomorrow. We will begin at about 3AM. Weather looks like it is clearing up after a whole afternoon of short bursts of rail, hail, snow and bright sunshine; crazy weather.. We are now resting after a dinner of instant noodles topped with a handfull of crispy ikan bills.

13 August 2009 Thursday

4:51PM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
We started our climb at 3:30AM. Trudged through the glacier and set off for the big hill. It was a hard day of climbing. We summitted at 11AM, which meant a 7hrs 30mins climb. The summit measures 5174M (+42° 16′ 19.9″, +79° 56′ 52.2). Grant was magnificant today, leading the climb and finding the path ahead much of the way. The wind picked up as we descent and after a short while it started snowing. We reached basecamp at 4:10PM. Exhausted!!

We dragged ourselves to make tea, hydrate first. Climbing is thirsty work.

14 August 2009 Friday

7:40AM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
We woke up to 5inches of snow this morning. It was a thick layer of snow all round us. Quiet, as the snow absorbs all the sound around the area. For the past 9 days here, we had 3 great days for climbing, 3 days with intermitent sunshine and rain and 3 days of awful weather. We took advantage of the good climbing days well so far. We have another day or so of time here.

Right now, we are resting from yesterday’s tough climb. For breakfast, we are finishing up the eggs in the store. It is good to have hot food in the stomach.

15 August 2009 Saturday

8:45AM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
Another frosty dawn. We crawled out of our tents to see the landscape all dusted with another layer of snow. We are taking it easy, now that we have completed 3 successful climb. We will not be climbing any more. Today is area cleaning day, we have to clear up all debris and any sign of our stay here. It would not do to leave rubbish behind. Besides that, it’s finishing off what food we have left, which is not much.

Our ride on the Mi-8 (Ми-8) helicopter back to Kakara Basecamp will likely be coming in tomorrow if the weather permits. We are looking forward to getting to Almaty, eats!!

16 August 2009 Sunday

8:24AM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
We are all packed up. We woke at dawn to a cold morning, ate what’s remaining and started striking down our tents and packing up our gear. Right now, we are sitting here waiting for our ride. It’s freezing. It’s a cloudy day. Don’t think that a bit of clouds are going to be a problem for the heli pilot, they are kinda like challenges here. But still, it is a chore waiting….

6:45PM Basecamp, Mushketova Glacier (David)
Well, we are still on the glacier. The clouds and bad weather have actually kept the helicopter away. We are now preparing our dinner.Good thing is that we still have rations and fuel. Got our tents up again. We are hoping that the weather will clear up tomorrow and pull us out before we resort to our last MARS bar. For now, we just have to sit around and drink tea…

17 August 2009 Monday

6:45PM Kakara Basecamp (David)
The weather was good this morning, skies clear. The helicopter came earlier to pick us up. We flew by and stopped at Khan Tengri to do another pickup. The flight was great, good mountain views. Nothing like a cold beer!

We are now resting in Kakara Basecamp, sitting on a grassy patch nearby. Digesting our second lunch and waiting for dinner. It is hard to imagine that just yesterday we were down to a handful of oats each for dinner and we were each keeping our last MARS bar safe for that final emergency. We will be making our way to Almaty tomorrow.

18 August 2009 Tuesday

Almaty at last – a day of shopping for a few souvenirs. David nursing a swollen right ankle – probably an oversue syndrome kind of injury. Final slap up meal at agreat local restaurant, savouring beshbarmak, the national dish of sheep and horsemeat boiled on the bone, a couple of Uigur kebab, salads and more beer.

19 August 2009 Wednesday

Reflections: What;s there not to like? An almost 100% harmonious climb on some interesting objectives, in a region barely touched by explorers. 3 virgin summits in the bag, each representing some refreshing climbing in the company of friends. It doesnt get better than this surely. In fact, possibly better than being squished in traffic jams on Mt Everest ot other trade routes on the 8000m peaks. This, surely is what climbing is about. Email me, David at if you have views comments or questions

Our Main Partners:

Providing rope access services and consultancy in multi discipline industries. KB Access has its own purpose built rope access training facility providing multi range of height, platforms, limited access and a range of training aids that meet IRATA requirements. Our management system is accredited by ISO 9001:2008 & OHSAS 18001:2007.In pursuit of new frontiers this expedition exhibits the spirit of KB Associates and KB Access by seeking new challenges and striving to the highest level of Professionalism and Safety. We are proud to be a sponsor to this expedition which Mohd Rozani (KB Access Pte Ltd) Senior Rope Access Technician trainer is taking part in; We all wish them every success with their ascent of new peaks and a safe return to Singapore in August.

The Spirit of Singapore team will be using the new Canon D10 all-weather digital camera. Equipped with 3x zoom, 12MP sensor, anti-fog lens, waterproof to 10m, freeze-proof to -10ºC, Smart autofocus, and with special accessories for adventure travel use, the Canon D10 makes a mark as an ultimate point-and-shoot digital imaging tool. Download the brochure here. In 2001 and 2002, Canon partnered with David Lim to birng their camcorders and digital cameras to three of the highest peaks in the world.

The Singapore Sports Council is once again supporting and extreme and adventure sport initiative through their Sports Partnership Promotion Programme (SPPP). The Sports Partnership Promotion Programme (SPPP) is an initiative by the Singapore Sports Council aimed at generating more sporting opportunities through the support and assistance of partners’ and service providers’ events or programmes that are open for public participation. Partners to SSC are Singapore Pools and the Singapore Totalisator Board.

After an eight year hiatus, GNC is back to partnering another one of David Lim’s expedition and is the official health supplement partner of the expedition. The rigorous strength and endurance training by the team is aided by selected supplements which include, but is not limited to GNC’s MegaMen multivitamins, GNC Whey protein powders, energy bars by PowerBar abd Bar Natural, GU energy gels and Accelerade post-workout drinks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *