After tackling 17 first ascents in the Djenghi-Djer Range of mountains, in Kyrgyzstan, drinking the local vodka and meeting a real-life wolf hunter, Old Davidean Mark Chambers has lived to tell the tale.
The 28-year-old who is usually based in Fort William, Scotland, has just returned to the UK after spending a month in Kyrgyztan, a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean.
Mark, who is an outdoor instructor, went as part of a party of six from UK-the exhibition was funded by the British Mountaineering Council and the Mount Everest Foundation. The aim of the trip was to explore and climb in a set of relatively unexplored and poorly documented valleys in the Djenghi-Djer mountain range in southern Kyrgyzstan. The team traveled on horseback for speed and flexibility, and ascended unclimbed peaks at heights of 4,000 to 4,700 metres in the region.
Mark said: “It was an incredible experience, but also very tough some of the routes were severe and technical.
“It’s a beautiful area, the views from the peaks were magnificent, we could even see China in the distance.”
“We ate a lot of goat with the locals, and drank quite a few vodkas.
“We met a man who was spending time in the mountains hunting wolves! He was a favourite with the team because when he left, he gave us a loaf of bread, some cheese and sugar, the latter fizzed rather alarmingly when put in tea but we didn’t care as it was sugar.”
Mark who was a boarder at SDC says his schooling days sparked his love for climbing.
“I loved the weekends at St David’s especially our trips into Snowdonia,” he said.
“Climbing Cwm Idwal in the Ogwen Valley with my friends is something I will never forget.”