Pamirs Expedition 1993:
Short version of my Pamirs travel report 1993
On Top of Communism
in German in "Mitteilungen des DAV Überlingen" 1994
© Hartmut Bielefeldt 1993
|Quick overview - mountains
|Peak Petrovsky||4829 m|
|"Left Valley Guard"||4750 m|
|Peak Vorob'eva||5691 m|
|Peak Korzhenevskoj||7105 m|
|Borodkin Buttress Summit||6240 m|
|Peak Communism||7495 m|
Former Soviet Union has already proven last year to offer much more than
Kremlin, Taiga, and Tundra. The "top of the world",the Pamirs,
belongs to this region with its major parts. There we find five 7000 m peaks.
The Pamirs were our destination for this year, too. The great friednliness of Russians,
Kyrgyz, and Tadshik people is always a good reason for a visit. And the
mountains are worth it anyway.
Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, once again...
After the flight to the base camp Atchik Tash at Peak Lenin via Moscow
and Tashkent, we acclimatize there by climbing several 4000 m peaks. Some
days later we fly by helicopter to base camp "Moskvin" which is
situated in a unique place at 4400 m altitude between the two big
and chaotic glaciers Moskvina and Valtera.
Loading the helicopter in Tashkent
The slightly crowded helicopter is on the way to Atchik Tash.
Sphere primula near the Peak Lenin base camp Atchik Tash
Peak of the XIX. convention of the Soviet Communist Party .
(It still hasn't changed name)
A yurt is being put together near Atchik Tash.
The helicopter is leaving base camp Moskvin again.
Our very first destination is a 5000 m peak near the camp, Peak Vorobijev, translated "sparrow".
These 5691 m summit height take a lot of breath in the beginning, but seeing the giants in the north
and south, this is really only a sparrow.
Camp Moskvin, in the back Peak Communism.
On the summit of Peak Vorobijev, looking to Peak of the Four, Peak Moskva and Peak Klara Zetkin
Right afterwards, hopefully well acclimatized, we begin to attempt the first of these two,
Peak Korzhenevskaja. It was first discovered by the topographer Korzenevskij
around 1900 and named after his wife. We experience a lot of bad weather at this mountain.
Peak Korzhenevskaja as seen from Vorobijev
During bad weather, there's enough to do in the kitchen, too.
(We are folding something like Tadshik ravioli)
Four days after setting up the first camp finally a weather improvement, ascent again. The next day comes
a long traverse, we reach the south ridge with the key problem (UIAA 3) and set up our camp
at 6400 m after tiring seven hours. The next day, too, the weather is good; we follow the snow
crest towards the top. Bad weather is faster, however. Beyond 6800 m we sit in a foggy soup;
nevertheless a return is not discussed. After seven hours we reach the summit, 7105 meters and
zero sight. The joy of thousand summits in the view from here would be bigger, but the joy of
our own achievement is big enough anyway.
Our tents in base camp Moskvin, after bad weather and a helicopter "attack"
(Seems big fun for the pilot to leave the landing place only a few meters above the tents)
Peak Communism seen from camp 2 at Peak Korzhenevskaja
The following day we descend to the base camp, and we feel the exhausting summit day.
Will we also make the second 7000m peak? We have six days left, so either - or. We have to do Peak
Communism faster than previously planned.
One of the nicest evening views one probably can see in the world:
Peak Communism thrones well 3000 meters above us; in the right half of the image the
Departing to Peak Communism
Claudia in "advanced base camp"
Rollo and Jupp
After a rest day, we walk up to the last comfortable campsite at 4700 m in the evening. (Until there, we
can still transport the beer from the base camp bar and really can afford come comfort there).
The next day is more serious: We expect 1600 nice height meters on a mostly not very difficult
snowy buttress with some rocky parts (UIAA 3) with fixed ropes. Late in the evening we
set up our camp on the big Pamir plateau at about 6000 m.
The next day we get up rather comfortably. Seven hundred height meter are pretty enough
after yesterday; at 6600 m we set up our second camp in a quite tilted position, since
there is few space here. Anyway - normally people make camp 3 here.
After a badly slept night we get up at six and leave at seven o'clock. As we don't wont to stain the
extraordinariliy good weather too much, we want to reach the summit already this day.
After having to make the trace up to 6900 m, the snow becomes more solid, and one mostly can
go about ten to twenty steps without a break. The irradiation from the sun is unexpedtedly
high in this slope. Nevertheless it takes only four hours for 500 meters.
The final slope to Peak Communism is rather steep.
The remaining hundred meters of beautiful snowy crest take just some minutes: On the top
even a cross is expecting us, being composed of two well fixed tent bows.
7495 meters, about -5 to -10°C, warm enough to be comfortable.
The view is a bit limited by the rising clouds, but we are easily satisfied with 50 kilometers.
Very nice the view to the base camp lying 3000 m below us, five thousand meters
lower the valleys limiting the mountain range.
The same day we descend to the plateau at 5900 meters, and the next day until the base camp.
At the summit ridge of Peak Communism, at 7400 m.
Despite its "handicapped" name, Peak Communism is one of the nicest
(and not necessarily easiest) seven thousand meter peaks.
Once again, we got to know a wonderful mountain world with surely many possibilities left.
Camp on Pamir plateau, 5900 m
From camp Moskvin, we fly back to Tashkent, leaving this city towards Germany after one
day of visit.
NB.: Tashkent was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1966. Whoever is interested in
any culture before that date - we rather recommend Samarkand (see Expedition to Peak Lenin 1992).
A "today's" city visit includes mainly the beautiful buildings of the new Ministeries of the
Republic of Uzbekistan. Maybe as an alternative you are offered a visit to the public baths - better go to
The "hotel kitchen" in Tashkent
(with the most modest means people achieved maybe more than in serveal "soviet" houses)
Moskva river in Moscow
Red square in Moscow
We undertook this trip in 1993 as participants of a 10-member commercial expedition
organized by Hauser Exkursionen, Munich, Germany.
Even today (1996), we judge it as the most perfect of our big mountaineering
trips up to now. Not only because in the end most of us could climb both of the high mountains (8 out of 10),
but also because the group very harmonically formed a unit and our expedition
leader managed well the group as well as the conacts with the
Peak Communism (until 1986 Peak Stalin) was renamed to "Ismoil Somoni" in July 1998,
honoring the founder of the first Samanide state 1100 years ago. Today's Tadzhik Republic
sees its roots in this state.
I can also offer a detailed report of this expedition (in German, hoewever). It contains 17 pages and
is hard to fit into the 1 MB size limit of my homepage; so I decided to include only the short version
on my homepage. If you are interested in the complete text, please have a look at the
download page or e-mail to me.
Email:Hartmut (at) bielefeldt.de
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Last updated October 17, 1998 by Hartmut Bielefeldt