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Asia, USSR, Pamirs and Tien Shan

Pamirs and Tien Shan, 1971. In Alpinismus of March 1972 there is an excellent summary of the remarkable accomplishments of climbers in the Soviet Union in 1971. Their highest mountain, Pik Kommunisma (24,548 feet) was ascended by 64 climbers, Pik Pobjeda (24,-406 feet) by 12, Pik Lenin (23,406 feet) by 34 and Pik Korzhenevskoi (23,310 feet) by 50. New routes of extreme difficulty were pioneered and there were many multi-day, multi-summit ascents, where the climbers spent days above 20,000 feet. From August 12 to 20, 1971 V. Bessubkin, J. Andreev, V. Ljach, A. Vstavski and V. Ushakov climbed from the Walter Glacier up the 6500-foot-high north face spur to the Pamir Plateau at 20,350 feet and on by the west ridge to the summit of Pik Kommunisma. A second new route, two miles to the west on this enormous face, was climbed in the same year by an expedition led by J. Hetman; after placing 230 pitons, they reached the plateau and continued to the top via the east ridge. Other remarkable Pamir climbs included the first ascent of the higher (north) summit (21,096 feet) of Pik Kommunisticeskaya Akademiya, which involved a traverse over the 20,834-foot south summit by a new route; the north face buttress of Pik Engels (21,359 feet), a 12- day face climb of extreme difficulty; a 6000-foot new route up the north face of Pik Tadzhikistan coupled with a nine-mile traverse over P 6100 (20,013 feet), Pik Nikoladse (20,834 feet), Pik Marx (22,146 feet), Pik Engels and Pik 40 Years LKSMU (20,702 feet), a 15-day climb mostly above 20,000 feet; and the first ascent of the 4000-foot, mostly overhanging south face of Pik 40 Years LKSMU, where the climbers used 280 pitons and 30 bolts and bivouacked all ten nights suspended in hammocks. In the Tien Shan, Kirgiz climbers led by V. Kotschetkov made the first ascent of the south-southwest buttress of Pik Maxim Gorki (19,849 feet) and then continued on over Pik E. Abalakov (19,292 feet), Pik Tschapaev (20,900 feet) to Khan Tengri (22,933 feet), a distance of nine miles, which took them 22 days in very poor weather. For further details, see Alpinismus.

Pamirs and Tien Shan, 1972. Despite much bad weather, Soviet climbers were more active than ever. Pik Kommunisma (24,548 feet) was climbed by 193 climbers including nine women, Pik Pobjeda (24,406 feet) by 18 including two women, Pik Lenin (23,406 feet) by 23 including three women and P. Korzhenevskoi (23,310 feet) by 65 men and 10 women. In the Pamirs W. Nekrasov led a large army expedition. The main objective was the 6500-foot southwest face of Pik Komakademiya (north summit 21,096 feet, south summit 20,834 feet). After fixing ropes on the bottom 650 feet, four climbers retired in bad weather. Upon their return, avalanches had swept out most of the ropes. During the next nine days they ascended the face. After traversing both summits, they descended to an 18,000-foot col, continued over P 6045 (19,833 feet) to Pik Garmo (21,703 feet). The whole traverse took 16 days! Meanwhile from August 5 to 17 three others climbed the 6500-foot east face of the south summit of the same mountain. A third team of five made from August 10 to 21 another new route, the northwest face of Pik Dankov (19,620 feet). From July 28 to August 5 O. Abalakov led a group up the southeast ridge of Pik Rossiya (22,480 feet). The 5000-foot nearly vertical northwest face of Pik OGPU (19,778 feet) produced two difficult new routes. Two new routes were made on the 4000-foot east face of Pik Tadzhikistan’s south summit (20,670 feet). The most difficult ascent in the southwestern Pamirs was a direttissima of the 4500-foot east face of Pik Engels (21,359 feet), made from July 28 to August 10. Further details are given in Alpinismus of February 1973.