Mount John Bowlby and Peak Mary Ainsworth

Mt. John Bowlby

Press Release: The Harvard Mountaineering Club is celebrating its 80th Anniversary by undertaking an expedition to Kyrgyzstan. During most of the month of August, expedition members will push into unexplored valleys and attempt first ascents of unclimbed and unnamed mountains in the Central Borkoldoy Range. The area is an extremely remote and practically unexplored haven for alpine-style climbers, located on the border between Kyrgyzstan and China. The expedition will practice the Leave No Trace philosophy, carrying out waste in order to preserve the pristine beauty of the area for future generations.

For political reasons, the Borkoldoy range was not open to foreign mountaineering until the fall of the Soviet Union. Only five expeditions have reported visiting the range since, and numerous peaks from 14,000 to 18,000 feet remain unclimbed and unnamed. This will be the first American expedition to the region, and the results will be reported to the American Alpine Club and the International Mountaineering Federation.




I'm back from my trip as an expedition climber and photographer in the first American expedition to the extremely remote and almost unexplored Borkolodoy mountain region - on the border between Kyrgyzstan and China. During 16 days of actual climbing, we from the Harvard Mountaineering Club, were able to establish first assents on nine different mountains of altitudes between 14000 and 16000 feet. Because we were the first to climb these - we also had the opportunity to name them. I chose to officially name the last two peaks we climbed MOUNT JOHN BOWLBY (15,899 feet) and PEAK MARY AINSWORTH (15,131 feet) - in honor of two of my theory and research heroes. Bowlby is the higher snow-capped mountain to the left and Ainsworth is the second lower snow-capped mountain to the right of Bowlby.

These mountains are now out there and have formally been recognized and accepted as first assents by the Kyrgyz Alpine Club, The American Alpine Club, and the International Federation of Mountaineering.

I have enclosed our short technical report of the expedition including descriptions of these two mountains and a picture of the two. (Click Here for Report).


Bjarne Holmes, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Dept. Psychology
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh Scotland

Currently Assoc. Professor
Champlain College
Burlington, Vermont