The North-Eastern Face of Engels (6510 m) peak in South-Western Pamir, first climbed by Sergey Efimov
(In the foto to the right) North face of Engels peak seen from Nispar valley.
"Cold, barren, illuminated by the morning sun for only two hours, the North-Eastern face of Engels peak is 2,300 m high and about 1,700 m of it are quite difficult technically.
We had underestimated the difficulty of this face. It rests on a pedestal glacier 1,500 m high, the upper half of which has a 55-60 degree incline for 700 m. The lower part of the climb on rock consists of vertical granite monoliths interpreted as ledges on which we would be able to bivouac. But they turned out to be steep platforms with a 50-60 incline covered by a thin layer of ice.
When we tried to dig in we discovered there was rock underneath. It was really difficult to make a bivouac. The continuous passage among difficult rock and ice obliged us to put on our crampons and take them of again and again, and the cold forced us to climb quilted jackets. Then, from down below the upper part of the ascent seemed to get flatter and flatter, while there was really an 80 degree incline of marble and schist subject to erosion, and it was hard to organise any valid belaying.
We conquered the summit after ten days on this frozen face. We won the fist prize in the highs division of the 1982 Soviet Championship. Other rope teams had climbed two thirds of the face before us and had to turn to the ridge. No one has ever succeeded in climbing up our route, despite the many attempts. It was the most difficult route I had ever climbed in my life."