It’s hard to explain why we fall in love with rocks and risk our lives for the chance to climb to the summit—especially in a place as rugged, remote, and politically unstable as Kyrgyzstan. During the summers of 1999 and 2000, violent political insurgencies erupted along the southern borders in the high-mountain passes where climbers Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, Jason “Singer” Smith, and videographer John Dickey were held captive by armed rebels at war with the Kyrgyz government. For the last decade this region as been considered unsafe for foreigners, however climbers have been long been scouting new route potential on the massive granite monoliths. AAC Friend Abbey Smith asked Matt Segal about his most recent trip to the area:
In August 2011, Dickey returned to Kyrgyzstan along with Colorado climbers Matt Segal and Eric DeCaria to document their attempt of a new free route on the Russian Tower (4,240m) in Ak-Suu Valley in the Karavshin region. Three weeks of cold rain and stomach sickness spoiled their original free-climbing objective, but they still managed to climb the world-class 25-pitch Perestroika Crack to the summit of the Russian Tower [Ed. First climbed in 1991 by a French Team. Take a look at your 1992 AAJ for the original report.].
“We didn’t send what we came to Kyrgyzstan for,” admits Segal, “but I’m going to tell you what happened from our perspective.”
“The Kyrgyzstan Project” is a contemplative climbing film that explores the expedition process through the experience of three friends in the most frighteningly beautiful environment. Check out the trailer for the short film that will be released in 2012.
[There’s also a Kickstarter campaign for the Kyrgystan Project, if you’re interested in supporting the project.]
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