Peak Pobeda, Ascent, and American Snow Leopard. By reaching the summit of Peak Pobeda (7439 m) on August 22, during a two-man, alpine-style ascent, Andy Evans joined only a handful of non-Soviet mountaineers in the “Order of the Snow Leopard.” This honorary title is claimed by those who have climbed all five 7000-meter peaks of the Former Soviet Union. These peaks are Peaks Communism (7495 m), Lenin (7134 m), and Korzhenevsky (7105 m) in the Pamirs of Tadjikistan, and Khan Tengri (7010 m) and Peak Pobeda in the Tien Shan Range of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Evans and Australian Paul Walters encountered Denali-like storms and temperatures on the 3400- meter route up Pobeda, similar to those described in Randy Starrett’s 1986 AAJ account of the first foreign ascent. The short climbing season, infamous weather, and six-kilometer summit ridge above 7000 meters conspire to make Pobeda an elusive summit that has claimed nearly 90 lives.