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Asia, USSR, Pik Kommunizma

Pik Kommunizma. Our team was composed of Ken Bures, Al Bernsconi, Chuck Betcher, Dan Aguillar, Dave Grier, Al Chambard, Ken Asvitt, LaVerne Woods, Dan Holle, Tim Gage, Gunter Bergner, Burt Falk, Jim Scott, and me as leader. We ascended the mountain from the Fortambek Glacier. This route is highlighted by thousands of feet of Soviet fixed lines that become abraded by the end of the climbing season, and 12 kilometers of trekking at 20,000 feet across the Pamir Ice Plateau. On the plus side, the route is very interesting rock and ice climbing with less objective hazard and fewer climbers than the more popular route from the Moskvin Glacier. The Soviets also provide an airdrop on the plateau for teams that climb from the Fortambek side. We had poor weather for the first part of the trip which hindered our acclimatization schedule. When it cleared, we had to hussle to make the summit by the deadline imposed by the Soviets. The summit was reached in shirt-sleeves weather on August 2, our last possible day, by Holle, Bergner, Betcher, Chambard, and me.

Eric Simonson