As soon as we were on the other side, a podgy Kyrgyz man in a crowd of other men watching the clearing of the slide started screaming at me in Russian, too quickly for me to understand. He approached me with his hand raised, as if he were going to hit me in the back of the head, so I flinched and got out of arm's length as quickly as I could. The rest of the crowd, which included military and police officers, didn't even give the situation a cursory glance despite an obvious foreigner about to be whacked in the head.
We took our time on the tip of the summit, taking lots of photos and having lots of laughs. I think when you complete an exposed climb like this, there is something psychological about the summit that makes mountaineering become more than a sport or hobby, but as something one cannot live without. I had experienced an even greater relief and stronger positive energy at the summit of Komsomol Peak the summer before after free-soloing the Northwest Face, but this feeling is exponentially increased when the experience is shared with partners, perhaps because other people have overcome the same fears and obstacles, and they too have the electric feeling that only a hard-earned summit in difficult circumstances can provide.
The climb of the western ridge of Molodezhnaya is pretty simple, if you stray too far left, you'll be on glacial ice, and too far right will put one on loose rocks. The snow was perfect to climb and we made short work of it. The summit was easy to find, and we took plenty of photos of Peak of the Soviets and the surrounding mountains of Tuyuksu Glacier.
I dropped into a slot first, jumping hard to get it to break below me, which it eventually did and ran the entire path wall-to-wall. I found a protected spot, where Eric and Anya joined me, and Zack was able to get the rest of the hangfire to break off above us. We stuck to the slide path after that until the slope shallowed, allowing us to enjoy some powder. Definitely tricky conditions for my brother's first line in Kazakhstan!