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Asia, USSR, Tien Shan Traverse

Tien Shan Traverse. From August 6 to 20, a Soviet team from Kazakhstan of previous Everest and Kangchenjunga expeditions made an astonishing alpine-style traverse of the twelve highest summits of the Central Tien Shan. They spent 15 days on the high ridges, almost entirely above 6000 meters and covering 77 kilometers in distance. The traverse was conceived and led by Valeri Khrishchaty of Alma Ata, who had climbed Everest in 1982 and traversed Kangchenjunga in 1989. In February of 1990, he led the successful winter ascent of Pik Pobedy. The great traverse began from Pik Vazho Pshavela (6918 meters, 22,698 feet). It included Pik Pobedy (7439 meters, 24,374 feet), Pik Sovetskoy Armenii (6900 meters, 22,638 feet), Pik Pobedy East (7030 meters, 23,065 feet), Pik Topografov (6873, 22,550 feet), Pik Druzhby (6800 meters, 22,310 feet), Shatyor (6700 meters, 21,982 feet) and ended on Khan Tengri (6995 meters, 22,949 feet). One of the six had to quit because of frostbite. Perhaps the most difficult section was a 12-kilometer traverse over Shatyor in 90 centimeters of snow. Much was done in harsh weather conditions. The successful climbers were leader Khrishchaty, Zinur Khalitov, Grigori Lunyakov, Murat Galiev and Andrei Tselishchev. Tragically, the first three were killed in October on Manaslu.

Józef Nyka, Editor Taternik, Poland