A team of ten mountaineers from Tartu and Tallinn have reconquered the 6,258-metre peak named after the University of Tartu in the Central Pamirs in Tajikistan.
The group led by Andres Hiiemäe reached the peak on 31 July around 12.30 am. It appeared that the peak had seen no visitors since the first-ever ascent 30 years ago when the university celebrated its 350th anniversary in 1982.
Peak records, a traditional university cap, and a plaque were waiting for the mountaineers from three decades ago. They took some of the objects back to Tartu for the UT History Museum, while leaving behind the university flag, another traditional cap, a signet ring, and new peak records.
The trip in this remote area was complicated and relatively hazardous, as it involved technical climbing, glacier crossings and travel along a razor’s-edge ridge. Getting to the mountain base from the nearest inhabited area took two weeks. The team used no porters or other local support, and there was no existing hardware installed on the mountains.
Emotionally, the most difficult part of the expedition was the descent. Priit Rooden, one of the team members, broke his leg, so his colleagues had to carry him on a self-constructed stretcher for two and a half days until they reached a place where a helicopter could land.
The initial plan also included climbing the nearby 6,277-metre high Mt. J.F. Parrot, named after a professor of physics at the University of Dorpat (now Tartu) and the pioneer of scientific mountaineering, but this plan was dismissed due to difficult snow conditions and an unfavorable weather forecast.
The group arrived safely back home on 16 August.