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Grade E Comments
Of the four peaks in the former Soviet Union which are over 7000m high three lie in the Pamir Highlands of Central Asia. The name Pamir itself refers to the great valleys that divide the various mountain chains. Peak Lenin, at 7134m, is the third highest; the second highest, Pik Pobeda, lies nearby in Tien Shan. Peak Lenin is located in the northernmost of the High Pamir mountain chains - the Zaalayski Range. From the summit looking south-west the other major ranges dominate the skyline. On a clear day it is possible to see the summit of Peak Communism 80 miles away, at 7495m. the highest summit in the Pamir, and occasionally the Hindu Kush mountains some 140 miles away. Looking north one sees the great Kyzylsu (Red River) Valley, to the east the Chinese Pamir. Peak Lenin is a popular mountain, it is often considered to be the easiest 7000m. summit in the world for climbers since it is relatively accessible and technically straight forward. We will climb the normal route up Peak Lenin via the Achik Tash.
GRADE AND QUALIFICATIONS
There are no real technical difficulties involved in this programme. Apart from altitude and physical requirements this route is technically similar to the ascent of Mt Elbrus or Mont Blanc. But it is also necessary on Peak Lenin to adopt a Himalayan-style and to camp in snow, and be prepared for poor weather. On Peak Lenin acclimatisation trips are used for the taking-up of supplies for the final push. Normally there is no ice at all, walking is on firm snow or soft, deep snow. The equipment mentioned later is required for simple security when crossing crevasses or for crevasse rescue.
Although technically straightforward neither the ascent nor the mountain should be underestimated since both are Himalayan in character. Efficient use of ice axe and crampons is essential as is experience in winter mountaineering as encountered on a Scottish grade II winter climb or an ascent of Mt Elbrus, Mont Blanc or another similar Alpine mountain.
FULLY SUPPORTED OPTION
If using full support our expedition team leaders will carry in much of the communal equipment to our base camp; group members will have to carry all their own personal equipment. There are no porters as such. On the ascent, members will also have to carry their personal equipment and a share of food for all those climbing. All communal equipment will again be carried by the expedition team; depending on the group member/tent ratio, members may have to carry part of a tent. They will be expected to help as much as possible with camp chores especially in pitching tents at each stage. The ascent is very much a team effort.
On some days expedition members may be required to undertake part of the ascent or a section of descent without the guide being present. In bad weather you may have to cook for yourself if the guide is not in your tent.
There will be a support team composed of a qualified British mountaineer who will be supported by a qualified assistant, local guide, with experience on Peak Lenin. More guides will be available depending on the group size. Our minimum guide to client ratio will be 1:3. The guides will act as cooks on the mountain although team members may be asked to help. There will be a base camp cook and a doctor available. Apart from our team outlined here there is also a permanent rescue team available near to our base camp and we will have constant radio contact with the rescue centre and helicopter base.
FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION
At all stages of the expedition food will be prepared by the guides if possible. Food at high altitudes, in order to be palatable, is a very important item and most people find dehydrated foods and warm-in-a-pouch foods, even of the best quality, rather unappetising. We will be using slightly heavier but more edible foods, some canned, for our main meals. All participants are strongly recommended to make up their own personal goody-pack of snacks that they particularly enjoy. This should not weigh more than about 2kg.
Accommodation will being a small, private and pleasant guest house in Osh.
At base camp there will be a mess tent and a cook to prepare fresh food. Here group members will sleep in comfortable two-person double skin tents. On the ascent good quality, high altitude 2 or 3 man tents will be used.
PART SUPPORTED OPTION
Here we offer support in getting you from Bishkek Airport to the base camp. At the base camp (Achik Tash) the following services will be available:
EQUIPMENT, WEATHER AND CLOTHES
Mountain weather is variable; on Peak Lenin bad weather and snow conditions are possible. Temperatures at base camp may drop to - 3 ° C; on the ascent it may drop to -15 ° C. Good equipment for cold conditions and snow and ice climbing is essential, i.e. double boots, duvet jacket, mitts, harness, ice axe and ski poles, 4 season sleeping bag, a big rucksack and soft sports-type bag. A full kit list will be given with the predeparture information.
HEALTH MATTERS AND DOCUMENTS
Climbing to 7000m requires good physical fitness and health it is advisable to consult your doctor prior to booking to discuss this. Diamox may be taken as an aid on the climb - please consult your own doctor. Although hygiene is good the change in diet may cause some stomach problems. No special inoculations are required but we recommend that your tetanus inoculations are up to date and that you also consult your doctor for other cover. An emergency medical kit accompanies the trek and the Russian staff include qualified medical personnel at base camp. We nevertheless recommend that you carry your own personal first aid kit. A suggested list of contents as well as more general health information is included in your pre-departure information.
A Kirgizstan visa is required, and will be applied for on a group basis.Full details of the procedures involved will be included in the pre-departure booklet.
BOOKS AND MAPS
There are as yet very few books on travel in post-Soviet Russia andthe republics. The following publications titles may be found useful:
Fodor's Guide to the Soviet Union, though becoming obsolete this contains a wealth of useful, general information. GBP 13.95.
The USSR Travel Survival Kit, published by Lonely Planet, is good value as regards general travel in Russia. GBP 13.95.
Russian Land Soviet People, J.S.Gregory, Harrap. An excellent, academic survey of the geography, history and cultural development of the regions comprising the former USSR.
Pamir Map and Guide, EWP/WCP. 1:100,000 Topographical. With general information. GBP 8.95.
Pamir East Map, EWP, 1:500,000 Topographical. GBP 7.50.
The following itinerary is intended as a working guide only and it is subject to variation as a result of local conditions, weather and governmental restrictions. We reserve the right to alter (lengthen or shorten) the trip at any time if necessary. Timetables are altered occasionally and it maybe necessary to vary our itinerary to adapt to these changes.
Day 1 Fly from Bishkek to Osh (1 hour).
Day 2 Drive to Achik Tash base camp on a grassy meadow amongst alpine flowers at circa 3800m (9 hour drive).
Day 3 Preparation of equipment and acquaintance with terrain.
Day 4-19 The programme for these days is flexible and with one guide per 2 or 3 group members we can operate as smaller groups if necessary. Food and equipment will gradually be ferried higher up the mountain and three camps will be established at circa 4500m, 5200m and 6100m. The process of ferrying will serve several purposes: acclimatisation, fitness and the building up of adequate supplies for the final push.
Day 20 Drive back to Osh.
Day 21 Fly back to Bishkek for flight home.
We can arrange an overnight flight from London to tie in with the start of this trip in Bishkek.
WHAT IS GENERALLY INCLUDED IN OUR FULL SUPPORT OPTION
All transport and flights from Tashkent, food and accommodation. Tents, local climbing permits, mountain guides, cook and doctor.
Passport, insurance and visas. Visas are easily obtained on entry.