Climber Missing on Khan Tengri

The two neighboring Snow Leopard peaks continue to show their danger and difficulty. Today, we’ve learned that solo climber Azat Agzamov of Moscow is missing. His tent has been empty for a week, according to RussianClimb. There has been no news of him since August 15.

Agzamov tried to climb Khan Tengri alone, from the north (Kazakhstan) side.  Although other climbers were also on the mountain, no further details are known at the moment.

His last Facebook post shows a video of Khan Tengri from Camp 2 (5,400m). “Look at this fairy tale sunrise,” he enthused. Unfortunately, the chances of now finding him alive are slim.

Khan Tengri (7,010m) Photo: Albert Dros


Since our last update, two more climbers summited Khan Tengri on August 19, Felix Berg of Summit Travel and Patrick (a client, last name unknown). The other climbers have left already Base Camp for home.

Pobeda – summit attempt falls a little short

On nearby Pobeda, UK climber Jon Gupta remains on the mountain. His teammate, Rob Kelso Smith, and two local guides, Oleg and Vadim, are likely with him. They are the only four climbers who have been trying to get to the top of this dangerous mountain in the last few days. Pobeda (7,439m) has a five-kilometre knife-edge ridge above 7,000m where both ascent and descent are difficult.

Pobeda. Photo: SummitPost


Gupta and his partners started their summit push on August 18, shortly after Hungarians Albert Kovacs and Peter Vitez turned back from 5,300m. The Hungarians encountered hard conditions and the risk of slab avalanches, which made continuing too dangerous.

Last week, Gupta wrote that their general plan was to summit on August 21. They spent eight days waiting at BC for a weather window. He estimated that it would take about six days to get from BC to the summit.

Jon Gupta. Photo: Jon Gupta


For several days, his tracker showed slow but steady progress. He started the final part of the summit push early Monday, from 6,947m. At 4 pm local time, his tracker reached 7,235m, just 200m shy of the summit. Here, they turned back to C6 (7,046m), reaching it at 8.30 pm. Gupta is now descending to Base Camp.

Snow Leopard Challenge

Gupta is trying to complete the Snow Leopard Challenge, and Pobeda is the only one left for him. In 2012, he and his partner summited Korzhenevskaya (7,105m), Ismoil Somoni (7,495m), and Khan Tengri (7,010m) in only 28 days. In 2014, he climbed Ibn Sina Peak (7,134m) and made the first British ski descent of that mountain.

This is his second attempt on Pobeda. In 2014, he was hit by rockfall above 6,100m and suffered a head injury but managed to rescue himself. Summiting Pobeda would make him the first British climber to complete this challenge.

Deep snow on the mountain has made progress difficult, and strong winds are expected to arrive this afternoon and last for several days.