New Route in Tien Shan Wins Russian Piolet d’Or

The new route up 6,873m Military Topographers Peak has won the Russian version of the Piolet d’Or. Alexey Suharev, Ratmir Mukhametzyanov, and Alexandr Parfenov received their award for this new direct route up the southwest wall this past weekend in Moscow.

The route, named The Lost World, was the fifth ever up this fourth-highest peak in the Tien Shan. It was the first up the southwest face. According to Parfenov, it was “the most difficult climb of my life.”


The ceremony also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Russian Mountaineering Federation. It began after an ascent of Georgia’s 5,033m Mt. Kazbek in 1923.

The Steel Angels

This year, the presentation featured an award for female teams, called the Steel Angel, granted for only the 15th time. The winners were Galina Terentyeva and Olga Lukashenko for their free climb of the Perestroika Crack on Slesov Peak (4,240m), in the Pamir-Alai range. Theirs was the third female free ascent of the route. American Lynn Hill climbed it with Greg Child in 1991 and Nastja Davidova of Slovenia and Iva Bozic of Croatia did it in 2016.

The women smile with helmets and big backpacks on.

Terentyeva and Lukashenko with the ‘Perestroika Crack’ route behind them. It goes up to the right of the gigantic slab crack in the middle of the granite spire.


Terentyeva and Lukashenko had hoped to climb the route within the day, but bad weather kept them on the wall through two rainy nights and a severe shortage of food and water.

In both categories, an international jury selected the winners from two short lists of five candidates each. All the Steel Angel candidates came from big-wall climbs, including one in winter. They included Nadezhda Oleneva, for an impressive climb of a 1,200m route on Peak 4810 in Kyrgyzstan, with Daria Seryupova and Anastasia Kozlova. Oleneva sadly perished some weeks ago on Dhaulagiri.

Candidates (male and female) for Russia’s Golden Ice Axe included:

  • Yuri Koshelenko and A. Lonchinsky for their recent first ascent of Rolwaling’s Kang Shar (6,645m)
  • the first ascent of the northwest face of Peak 4433 in Kyrgyzstan, by D. Prokofiev and M. Popova
  • the first ascent of the South Buttress of Ulun Peak (5,588m) in Kyzyl-Asker, by E. Murin, I. Penyaev, and O. Lukashenko
  • the impressive Aksai Horseshoe (4,895m) Traverse in the Tien Shan. Egor Matveenko, Tikhon von Stackelberg, and Roman Abildaev were the first to complete this traverse, in winter, no less.


topo of the mighty traverse along the summits of over ten peaks placed in the shape of a horse shoe in Tien Shan mountains.

Another strong candidate for the Russian award: the Aksai Horseshoe. Topo:


Check the video presentations here.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.