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Routes in Ratsek Trail and Ak Sai Glacier Area

Kyrgyzstani Scenic Cruise T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
Schwaba T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Sharkaraktma Waterfall T WI3-
Squishy Surprise T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Elevation: 8,241 ft
GPS: 42.556, 74.498 Google Map · Climbing Map
Shared By: Amadeus on Dec 7, 2013
Admins: Amadeus
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Description

The Ratsek trail is the main trail going from the parking lot to the Ratsek Base camp near the Ak Sai Glacier. This area holds great climbing across many different disciplines. Water ice, alpine ice, mountaineering, alpine trad, some occasional boulders, and some great hiking.

Getting There

From the parking lot you will almost immediately turn left on a trail going through the forest. The first hour or so is an uphill trudge, but that gives way to a relatively flat section of the trail that breaks off to the right. Follow that to a nice wooded rest area and continue up on the right hand trail towards the Ratsek base camp. Total hiking time to base camp is about 5 hours on average.

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Karl Henize
June Lake, CA
Karl Henize   June Lake, CA
The area could be described as the bastard-love-child of the crags of Icicle Creek Canyon, the glaciated aiguilles and iced up gullies of the Mont Blanc Massif, and the central spires of Bugaboos. A world class climbing destination without crowds or infrastructure.

There are two camping areas: 1) at the first waterfall, about halfway up the trail, and 2) next to the Ratsak hut, at the end of the trail. Both locations have good climbing nearby. If you are not acclimatized or do not want to pay for camping, you may prefer to stay at the first campground.

The higher campground is close to a small crag with a handful of bolted climbs. It is easy to set up top ropes on this crag, if you do not want to lead the climbs.

When we were there in August 2016, there were consistent afternoon thundershowers. Typical weather pattern was clear skies in the morning. Clouds would move in around noon. Thunder showers would usually start by 14:00 and end by 17:00. Then the skies would gradually start to clear up again. Rinse and repeat.

Other than the small bolted crag by the hut, most of the rock does not see much traffic. I recommend bringing a brush to clean off holds and cracks, as you choose your own adventure. Oct 11, 2016

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