American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, USSR, Pik Lenina and Pik Kommunizma Attempts

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Pik Lenina and Pik Kommunizma Attempts. In July, David Bregenzer, Richard Goodell, Tim Lemmuchi, Alan Ropp, Fred Ziel and I went to the Soviet Union, hoping to climb the Razdelny route of Pik Lenina and the Borodin route of Pik Kommunizma. After only a day in the comfortable Ashik-Tash Base Camp for Pik Lenina, we moved to Camp I and by the seventh day reached the high camp at 6400 meters. On our summit attempt, high winds and a radio report of an oncoming storm forced us to retreat, even though we were feeling good. We turned to Pik Kommunizma. A helicopter ride to the Moskvina Base Camp was an unforgettable experience for seeing magnificent scenery. On our second day we established Camp I at 5200 meters. While moving to Camp II, Ropp slipped on a snow slope while making the transition from one fixed line to the next. He fell 300 meters down a couloir and sustained multiple injuries, including head trauma. A coordinated rescue by the Soviets and our group got him down to the glacier, where he was stabilized and air-evacuated to a hospital at Osh. He remained in a coma there for two weeks before being transported to London for further medical treatment. The rest of us abandoned the climb and had to remain in the Soviet Union for a week and a half dealing with Soviet bureaucracy. Ropp is walking and talking and hopes to travel in the mountains again. He still needs rehabilitation treatment, but considering the accident, it is a miracle that he is still alive.

Stacy Taniguchi

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