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Asia, USSR, Pamir Camp

USSR Pamir Camp. The 1987 season was wet and snowy, worse than the 1986 season. Pik Lenina saw the brunt of the activity, especially in early August. Lenina’s Lipkin Cliffs route was skied by a French group from Lyon. However, they lost skis and axes in an avalanche. I got to the summit of Pik Lenina on August 15 with four Soviet climbers. One of them had climbed Denali in 1986 and had been above 6000 meters forty times. Pik Korzhen- evskoy was climbed by several groups, but many were turned back by heavy snow above Camps II and III. Pik Kommunizma had few ascents, mostly by Soviets, because of weather and few clear breaks. Only one Soviet team made a crossing of the Firn-Plateau via the Fortambek approach. The Borodkin route via Pik Dushanbe was never open due to wind-slab avalanche hazard. On July 31, Czech Jon Ladislav made the first ski descent of Kommunizma on short skis. His side-slip track down the summit pyramid was wild, being 60° and knife-edged above a rock overhanging abyss! He finished via the slabby Dushanbe face. On August 1, Germans Christof Schork and Herman Rieschl and I accompanied 18 Eastern European climbers to the summit of Pik Kommunizma. There were 14 fatal accidents in the range in 1987. Five Soviet climbers were killed in an avalanche on Pik Kommunizma and some others on Pik Klara Zetkin. There were four other American groups, all on Pik Lenina. The Soviets are studying construction of an annual international camp in the Tien Shan to complement their excellent Pamir and Caucasus operations.

John Rehmer