For many it’s the ultimate goal in mountaineering. At the very least, claiming a first ascent provides a minimum of a lifetime worth of bragging and – if you can bear the bureaucracy – potential naming rights.
With the plight of Conrad Anker and David Lama in mind (below), it’s fair to assume first ascents are best left to the elite athletes of this world regardless of naming rights. But that’s not 100% true. Now, we’re not suggesting attempting a technical ascent without a back-catalogue of experience and knowledge is a good idea, oh no, but claiming an unnamed, unclimbed peak for yourself could be more attainable than you think.
Naming Rights: Mongolia 2016
In 2016, a remote and previously unnamed mountain in western Mongolia was the focus of a Secret Compass first ascents expedition. The 3,952m summit, located in the Altai mountains of Siilkhem National Park, was reached on 13 June. Upon the expedition’s return, along with our in-country partners, team mates submitted the request to name the peak with Mongolia’s Ministry of Health and Sports.
Without diving into philosophy, naming any geographical entity is not a privilege to be taken lightly. For the adventurous team of six, respect to the nation which hosted them was a vital component of the process – a name which not only reflected their time in Mongolia but also the country’s heritage.
“Zuchi was the name of Ghengis Khan’s first born son and the word means ‘guest’, a fitting name for an impressive mountain in a very welcoming land,” said expedition teammate Tina Papadopoulou, inspired by the insight she’d gained from the team’s Mongolian guide Altra.