Pik Laetitia stands on the ridge line dividing the Kaichi Valley and the Djangart Valley's N7 Glacier. It isn't the highest peak in the region, with around a dozen exceeding 5,000m, but it is certainly one of the most striking. It is the most prominent peak of the region to be seen during the overland approach and presents and obvious and tempting objective to any mountaineer. The first ascent of Pik Laetitia was made in August 2011, and many of the surrounding peaks remain unclimbed. The route established on Pik Laetitia in August 2011 was named The Phoenix and climbed a prominent couloir on the west flank and continued up mixed ground on the NW face. The rock is of poor quality below 4,000m, but the mountain provides excellent mixed climbing on sound rock above this altitude.
Getting ThereBishkek to Base Camp
It is possible to fly by helicopter to the region, though this is an expensive option. To do so involves making use of the usual logistical arrangements for trips to Khan Tengri.
Other expeditions have travelled overland from Bishkek. The is a fantastic journey over a large section of Kyrgyzstan and takes between 2 and 3 days.
Bishkek to Tamga on the south shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. 7 Hours.
Tamga to Ak-Shyrak. A long journey that involves many river crossings and cross country driving. May require a wild camp on route, depending on conditions. Papers must be presented at the Ak-Shyrak military base. 1 - 2 days.
Ak-Shyrak to Base Camp. Difficult cross country driving with many river crossings. It is likely that you will be joined by a soldier or officer from the military base. Only 20 miles, but allow half a day.
A convenient base camp for Pik Laetitia can be found on the west side of the Djangart pass, alongside the Kaichi river. If, however, you wish to climb predominantly in the Djangart (where there are more options) it would be advisable to cross the pass and to set up base camp in the valley itself. The pass could not be crossed by vehicle in the summer of 2011, but the discovery of minerals for mining brought a bulldozer to the region in late August and work appeared to be starting on rebuilding an old road into the valley. The alternative is to arrange horses at the Ak Shyrak military base. Expect to wait at least a day for these to arrive.
One company who can arrange logistics for this journey are ITMC.
Note: The discovery of minerals in 2011 might change the entire nature of this journey. Geologists working in the area communicated that roads will be built capable of supporting HGVs. There is also talk of a plant being built in the vicinity. Any information on this would be gratefully received.
Base Camp to Pik Laetitia
To access the west side of the mountain is a pleasant walk of one and a half hours south up the Kaichi valley.
To access the eastern side of the mountain requires crossing the Djangart Pass and ascending the N7 glacier. Crossing the pass involves over 800m of ascent and takes around 3 hours. The N7 glacier has only been visited once (August 2011) and requires navigating a difficult ice fall to gain access.
An approach along the north ridge may well be feasible, passing over Pt4870m from the Djangart Pass. The slopes up to Pt4870m are moderate, but there are large cliffs between Pt4870 and Pik Laetitia.
Red TapeThere are no summit fees to be paid in Kyrgyzstan.
Visas for entry into Kyrgyzstan can be obtained at the airport in Bishkek, but it is advisable to arrange them beforehand so as to avoid the large queues when you arrive.
In order to visit the Djangart region, a border permit is required. The cost was around £30 in 2011. This will be checked at the Ak-Shyrak military base and soldiers may well come up to base camp at a later date to re-check the documents (they don't seem to have masses to do!). Permits can be arranged through ITMC.
CampingThis is an entirely wild environment, several hours drive from the nearest settlement. A camp in the Kaichi Valley can be very comfortable though as there is plenty of fresh water and flat ground to camp on. You can also use a vehicle to bring all of your supplies in with you. Weather systems do run up and down this valley at regular intervals and it is therefore wise to have entrances to tents perpendicular to the direction of the valley. There is an old hunting lodge on the west bank of the river, but it is locked and should not be used.
Facebook. Djangart Ascents.