Traditionally the central and northwestern parts of the Pamir are considered one region. Two of the three peaks over 7,000 m above sea level in the Pamir are in this area - Mt. Communism (7,495 m) and Mt. Evgenii Korzhenevskoy (7,105m)- and there is also the Fedchenko glacier, the largest in Central Asia (71.2 km long). This region consists of a series of mountain ranges that run in a latitudinal direction and are connected to one another by the Akademia Nauk (Academy of Science) range. There are two areas with base camps. The first is the Moskvina camp, which lies near a little lake on the plateau covered with edelweiss and wormwood that extend up to where the Waltera and Moskvina glaciers converge, at 4,100 m. This camp is the starting point for the climbs up Mt. Communism and Mt. Korzhenevskoy. The second camp is Suloev (or Fortambek), on the plateau of the same name, where the For-tambek glacier points northwards, opposite the Tramplinniy (Springboard) glacier. The climate in this region is characteristically quite variable. The mountain climbing season is very short; the best period is from mid-July to August 20.
Central part of Pamir presents two giants for climbing: Communism (7495 m) and Korzhenevskoy (7105 m) peaks, which are standing in front of each other. Both of them has extra class routes and classical ones for easy climbing with pre acclimatisation as usual up to Pamirskoe Plateau.
Peak Communism (7495 m).
Mt. Comrnunism This is an awe-inspiring rock and ice pyramid with a quadrangular base that has four distinct faces. The eastern one was climbed for the first time by Evgenii Abalakov in 1933 via a difficult route with a very complicated access, along the Bivuachniy (Bivouac) glacier On the western face is the classic route, Burevestnik, which runs along the ridge. The third face plunges down to the south for 2,000 meters on the Beliaeva glacier; it is quite steep characterized by the so called Puso (Paunch) a rock wall from 600 to 800 meters high with an incline of more than 80°. Here are the most difficult of 25 routes up Mt. Communism.
(In the foto to the right) South-Western face of peak Communism, seen from the summit of Russia peak.
The South-Western face was first climbed in 1968 by E. Mislovskiy, who kept to the right of the Puso. The true "Paunch" route was climbed only in 1977 by A. Nepomniashkiy. Later, other routes were opened by K. Valiev and V, Solonnikov.
The face looking over the "Springboard" glacier has not been climbed yet. It is considered impossible to conquer because of the extremely dangerous icefall that descends onto the Pamirskoe plateau.
The normal route up Mt. Communism, on the northern face, crosses the Pamirskoe plateau. This is one of the highest and largest plateaus in the world: about three km wide and twelve km long from west to east. The lowest point is at 4,700 meters altitude, the highest 6,300 m. At 6,000 m there is a little rocky peak called Parachutistov (Parachuters) in honour of the tragic expedition of Soviet military parachuters that was organized in 1967 for training and sporting purposes; many parachuters were killed when the strong wind caused them to crash against the rock, while the others managed to save their lives by opening their parachutes after they had passed over the wind belt.
The Barodkin Route up Mt. Cornmunism (7,495 m, 5A) - from North side. Classical routes
The normal route up Mt. Communism winds up from the Waltera glacier on to the northern face of the massif. It was opened in 1968 byJ. Barodkin along the ridge that bears his name. On a technical level it is not too difficult; it can be compared to the routes up Lenin Peak. Yet it is rated 5 A because of the high altitude. After careful acclimatization that includes a climb to the snow-covered Pamirskoe plateau and back, the route to the top takes about a week.
(In the foto to the right) Northern slopes of peak Communism, seen from the glacier Waltera.
It begins at the Moskvina base camp and goes up towards the south along the Waltera glacier, which you must cross in. a westerly direction after about a one-hour walk. Continue along the steep and rubbly ridge up to camp I, at ^,300 m, above the summit of the large rock triangle. In most cases this triangle is climbed over to the left, along the inclined ledge and the snow gully. This is the easiest way, but it is risky because it goes under the glacier icefall. From camp I the itinerary follows the rock ridge, which is often encrusted with ice, up to two snow domes called Grudi (Breasts, 6,200 m). In high season there are clear tracks of this part of the route, and in the more complicated sections a permanent rope has been set up. From here you have a level walk to camp 2 (6,200 m), which is in the Pamirskoe plateau. The third day you tackle the long crossing of the plateau, at the end of which you will find camp 3 by going up a snow ridge (6,400 m). The ascent continues along the ridge, up to the western shoulder of the summit, called Dushanbe (Great Barrier) Peak (6,956 m). Camp 4 is in a snow-covered col at 6,900 m. The route continues to the left over the snow under the summit rocks, up to the col. This is the most difficult part of the climb, because of the steepness and altitude. You reach the top by climbing up the final 300 meters along the northern ridge. You can descend to camp 4, or even camp 3, on the same day. The record for the fastest climb up Mt. Communism was set in 1990 by V. Obikhod and E. Klinezkiy, who took about 20 hours, without bivouacking, to get over the 3,300 meters difference in height, reach the summit and then go back to the base camp. The Yugoslav A. Stremeiy, who opened the Yugoslavs' Route up Mt. Everest, holds another record: in 1983 he skied down Mt. Communism along the Barodkin route.
The Burevestnik Route up Mt. Communism (7,495 m, 5A) - from West side
From the base camp on the Fortambek glaciel you cross the glacier (one hour) in the direction of the Burevestnik buttress, which leads to the Pamirskoe plateau. Once past the last crevasse, go over a rock wall that is not difficult and proceed up the debris and snow and ice slopes until you reach the buttress crest. This has debris that is interrupted by 2-3 mete walls that are easily negotiated; it leads to . small snowy plateau near the "Camel" gendarme (5,200 m). Here you can pitch camp 1. Continue along the ridge, moving on to the. steep snow and ice slope when necessary, until you reach the Parachutistov rocks. Leave these rocks to your left and climb up to the Pamirskoe plateau. I Tore you can set up camp 2 in snow cave (5,800 m). If you are well acclimatised, you can skip camp I and go directly to the plateau in 8 hours. Cross the plateau up to the base of the southwestern buttress of Dushanbe Peak (4-6 hours, depending on the condition of the snow); here you can set up camp 3 (6,f0 m). From here, go up the left-hand slope for a hour and over the last crevasse; then go to the rocks of the southwestern buttress, which . certain points are rubbly (40° incline).
You arrive at Dushanbe (Great Barrier) Peak after going up a final snow and ice slope with a 40-45° incline; pitch camp in the plateau (6,900 m), behind the summit. Skirt the rock tower by bearing left, proceed along the little rock ridge, and then continue along the steep and difficult northeastern snow ridge (40° incline). Climb up the slope for the last 150 meters, and you will arrive at the top. For the descent, take the same route; it takes two days.
- from South side
Terrible South-west face of Peak Communism climbed by Kazbek Valiev.
The Route up Chetiriokh (6,299 m) and Vorobiova Peaks (5,691 m, 2A)
(In the foto to the right) Panorama of peak Korzhenevskoy - peak Chetiriokh.
Situated between the Moskvina and Waltera glaciers are these two lovely snow-capped peaks that offer a splendid view of the two 7,000 meter mountains. The first peak, Chetiriokh, is 6,299 m high. The route to its summit starts off from the Moskvina camp. Go up the Moskvina glacier for about two hours until you arrive at a little plateau. Opposite you will see the snow slope, which at first is not steep and then as it approaches the summit has an incline of 35-40°. Halfway up this slope, under a group of rocks, you can pitch your tents to bivouac. The climb, rated 4A, takes two days between ascent and descent and can be done on skis. Vorobiova Peak (5,691 m) is a large white dome with a magnificent view. You get there from the Moskvina camp: go up the Moskvina glacier moraine for about an hour, then up the stone slope that leads to the snow ridge (3 hours). You can bivouac here, but the climb to the top via the ridge and the descent can be done in one day. These routes arc used as training for the climbs up the 7,000 m mountains.
The Route up Mt. Korzhenevskoy (7,105 m, 5A)
(In the foto to the right) peak Korjenevskoy, seen from Pamirskoe plateau.
Originally called Kul-Santalak, the third peak in the Pamirs over 7,000 meters high was "discovered" in 1910 by a Russian geographer, N. Korzhenevskiy, who wanted to name it after his wife Evgenia. It was climbed for the first time in 1953 by A, Agarov, who went up the northern side. The peak has many complicated routes on its western face.
The route along the southern crest (opened by V. Tsetkin in 1966) is not too difficult and can easily be climbed in three or four days after a suitable acclimatization period. From the Moskvina base camp, follow the path along the torrent that descends from the glacier on the southern side of the mountain, and then continue to the right and cross the Moskvina glacier. Continue along the rock and debris ridge until the slope becomes less steep; here, at about 3,200 meters, you can set up camp 1. Proceed along the glacier slope that descends on the southern side of the mountain. The glacier is steep, so that rope, crampons, ice axes and ice screws are necessary. Then the incline again becomes less steep and the route approaches the moraine; here, at 3,300 m, is another good place to set up camp 1. It is more comfortable, with a splendid view that also takes in the entire route.
(In the foto to the right) peak Korjenevskoy with Pamirskoe plateau.
You then go up the glacier along a slope that is not very steep; at the beginning of the season the glacier is covered with snow, but at the end deep crevasses open up. Then the face becomes steep, leading to a triangle of rocks where you can set up camp 2 (3,800 m) on a snowy terrace under an overhanging roof.
The route continues to the right, up to the little col, with a 1,000 meter crossing on ice that requires crampons, ice axes, rope and ice pitons. This is one of the most difficult and technical parts of the entire route. Usually a fixed rope is to be found there. The crossing ends on a rather gentle incline that arrives at the col on the southern ridge (6,100 m). You can pitch camp 2 here as well, but there is space only for a few tents. Then you must tackle a small fifty-meter tall face of steep rocks where there is a fixed rope. You come out on the snow ridge, which is long and easy but may be tiring because of the many ups and downs; this leads to the top. There is no need for crampons here, as the snow is usually soft and ski poles should suffice. Camp 3, where you will also stop on the way back down, can be set up either at 6,400 or 6,700 meters. The descent takes 24 hours. The view of Mt. Communism is fantastic.
Peak Russia (6882 m). Normal route 5A
(In the foto to the right) peak Russia, seen from the summit of peak Communism with Pravda plateau.
Peak Russia is situated near to Communism peak, joining to him by the vast high plateau "Pravda". Peak Moscow stands also near to Communism peak, but in the opposite side. In the base camp on the glacier Fortambek the North face of Moscow peak rising up in all its grandeur. It is rather difficult to get to other sides of Moscow peak, as only helicopter flight can be used for it.
Moscow (6785 m) peak from glacier Surgan
Moscow (6785 m) peak N.W. crest
Moscow (6785 m) peak - North face
Moscow (6785 m) peak - from glacier Gando
To be continued...