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Asia, USSR, Pik Lenina, First Winter Ascent

Pik Lenina, First Winter Ascent. Our preparations began in 1983. We made winter climbs in the Caucasus and the Tienshan. In 1988, under my leadership the team was composed of 19 mountaineers from Leningrad and three from Kazakhstan. Base Camp was established at 3500 meters and Advance Base at 4200 meters with helicopter support. On January 20, the work on the mountain began. We planned to climb the north face which is relatively safe from winds. During the first push, Camp I was made at 5400 meters in two big snow caves for ten and eight men. Six members of the team suffered from frostbite or hypothermia. The final attack came in two waves. Ten climbers led by Valeri Khrishchaty and me set out from Base Camp. The next day, eight others followed led by Vladimir Balyberdin. At 6000 meters we established Camp II in a snow cave for ten persons. Fighting the strong wind the next day, we got to 6500 meters and placed Camp III in a snow cave we dug for 18 men. On January 30, we tried to reach the east ridge but failed. That evening all 18 climbers were in the cave. We decided to climb the west ridge. On January 31 at nine A.M., we all left for the summit. On the west ridge we were hit by a violent storm. With a temperature of -45° C, only six men could reach the summit: Khrishchaty, Balyberdin, S. Arsentiev, U. Moiseev, I. Tulaiev and V. Dedi. Eight other men got to the west shoulder. We descended in violent storm. Only thanks to 3000 meters of fixed rope, could we get down safely. On February 2, the whole team left Base Camp.

Leonid Troshchinenko, Sports Committee of Leningrad, USSR