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Climber Mike Libecki
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The Libecki Brothers at Mount Asan, Kyrgyzstan
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Text by Rachel Scheer   Photograph by Mike Libecki

Photo: Andy Libecki at Mount Asan
Andy Libecki near Mount Asan in Kyrgyzstan

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Hear climber Mike Libecki's tales of brotherly bonding in remotest Kyrgyzstan, in an interview with National Geographic's World Talk. 

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Behind the Shot
This past August ace big-waller Mike Libecki, 33, and his brother Andy, 29, a bluegrass musician, partnered up to climb Mount Asan's roughly 3,000-foot (914-meter) headwall, the highlight of a five-week expedition to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The brothers, who won a Mugs Stump Award grant to explore the area, had teamed up twice before for mountaineering trips in Greenland and China. But this one proved more challenging.

"For a nontechnical climber like Andy, learning to clean horizontal pitches with jumars on a remote wall can be pretty dangerous," says Mike, "especially if something goes wrong."

And things did: They both got food poisoning from eating goat head and intestine, a local Karavshin Kyrgyz specialty. Despite their malaise, the brothers did summit via a tricky route variation.

"I knew he wouldn't have a problem on the mountain," says Mike, who took this photo of Andy on a bivvy boulder at around 11,000 feet (3,353 meters). "We share the same blood."          

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