Huge Climbs in Chinese Tien Shan


The line of The Great White Jade Heist on the north face of Xuelian Feng’s west ridge. The team topped out at over 6,400 meters (21,000 feet). Photo by Jed Brown.

News Link: A small American-Scottish expedition backed by a Lyman Spitzer Cutting-Edge Award from the American Alpine Club has completed significant climbs on the Chinese side of the Tien Shan. Jed Brown, Kyle Dempster, and Jared Vilhauer, along with Scotsman Bruce Normand, leader of the expedition, scored several new lines in the Xuelian massif, including a superb and difficult one on a 6,422-meter western satellite of Xuelian Feng. 

Xuelian Feng (6,627m) is a massive, marble peak that was first climbed in 1990 by a Japanese expedition. In their best climb, Brown, Dempster, and Normand climbed the enormous north face of Xuelian’s west ridge during a five-day effort. The 2,650-meter line, The Great White Jade Heist, went at M6 WI5 5.7 R. 

A report about the expedition has been posted at the AAC blog Inclined. Jed Brown’s photos from The Great White Jade Heist can be seen here.

Date of Ascent: August 26-30, 2009 

Sources: Jed Brown, Bruce Normand, American Alpine Journal

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