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Mayakovsky (6,096m), South Face, Czech Route

On September 5 Antonin Borovka, Josef Krena, and I climbed the south face of Pik Mayakovsky (Qullai Mayakovskiy), a mountain in the southwest corner of the Tajikistan Pamir, where the north-south Ishkashim Range joins the east-west Shakhdara Range. We approached from Dushanbe on a paved road, via Khorog and Ishkashim, to the village of Darshai. From Darshai it takes at least three and a half days using donkeys or porters to reach a high camp south of the mountain at 4,900m. The 1947 Budenov Route, the original line up the peak, takes the right part of the south face. Prior to 1947 the summit had a different name, but the first ascensionists renamed it in honor of Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930).

We established base camp at 4,100m and high camp at 4,900m, above which we did not follow the Budenov Route (Russian 3A) but looked for an easier way. We found it toward the left side of the face, climbing through fields of penitentes, some as high as two m. We crossed three wide crevasses, where we fixed rope, and, at the final crevasse below the top section of the southwest ridge, we followed an obvious snow terrace left. Another huge crevasse (fixed rope) and a short icy section took us to the summit ridge, which we followed through more penitentes and a short rock scramble to the top. We feel this route would not have been ascended before, as few people climb this mountain, and our line is not visible when approaching the peak.

Our Czech Route (Russian 2B, 45°) is easier than the Budenov but very tiring due to the never-ending fields of penitentes. You only need to rope up when crossing the large crevasses. It took eight hours to ascend and three hours to come down. The only other (rarely climbed) routes are the 1971 Drabkin on the southwest ridge (5A, rock climbing) and the 1973 Efimov on the northwest face (5B).

Michal Kleslo, Czech Republic