Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden have returned from the Chinese Tien Shan range with a first ascent to their names. During a four week expedition to the area, they succeeded in completing a route on the north face of Sulamar (c5,380m), which is on the north side of the Xuelian massif. Sulamar was first climbed in 2008, by a route on the north east flank. In a six-day round trip from base camp, Fowler and Ramsden climbed the prominent central buttress. They enjoyed two sitting/hanging bivouacs on the face of the mountain during the climb. Fowler commented: ?This was a good trip with plenty of memorable action for Paul and me. During our initial stay in the region, we endured mega snowfall and a couple of falls into crevasses, which were firsts for both of us. It was deep snow that kept us away from our original objective, which was the north west ridge of Xuelian East, so we turned our attention to Sulamar and we're glad that we did. Not only is it nice to record a first ascent of an eye catching line, but the experience itself was very enjoyable and fulfilling.? After their success on Sulamar, Fowler and Ramsden explored the previously unvisited Chulebos peaks, approaching them via the historic Xiate trail. Once a major trade route in that part of the world, the trail is now virtually unused because the glaciers are so broken. They found more to do, as Fowler explains: ?Walking up a glacier which had never been visited by climbers before was good invigorating stuff. And while we were there, we found plenty of great objectives for the future ? there is so much to be done! All in all, this expedition has been very pleasing.?Photo Gallery – Fowler and Ramsden on the north face of Sulamar:
Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden were supported by Berghaus. The expedition was approved by the BMC and awarded a grant by the Mount Everest Foundation.