Lenin Peak

Lenin Peak

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Lenin Peak rises to 7134 metres (23,406 ft) in Gorno-Badakhshan (GBAO) on the border of Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, and is the second-highest point of both countries. It is considered one of the easiest 7,000 m peaks in the world to climb and it has by far the most ascents of any 7,000 m or higher peak on earth, with every year seeing hundreds of climbers make their way to the summit. Lenin Peak is the highest mountain in the Trans-Alay Range
Trans-Alay Range
The Trans-Alay Range is the northernmost range of the Pamir Mountains , where the Pamirs and the Tian Shan come together. They form the border between Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan and Gorno-Badakshan province, Tajikistan. To the north is the Alay Valley and to the south, the Muksu River. The highest...

 of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, and in the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction or knot of the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains and since Victorian times they have been known as the "Roof of the World" a probable...

 in Tajikistan it is exceeded only by Ismoil Somoni Peak (7,495 m). It was thought to be the highest point in the Pamirs in Tajikistan until 1933, when Ismoil Somoni Peak (known as Stalin Peak at the time) was climbed and found to be more than 300 metres higher. Two mountains in the Pamirs in China, Kongur Tagh
Kongur Tagh
Kongur Tagh or Kongkoerh is at 7,649 m the highest mountain wholly within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.-Geography:...

 (7,649 m) and Muztagh Ata
Muztagh Ata
Muztagh Ata, or Muztagata , is the second highest of the mountains which form the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau . It is sometimes regarded as being part of the Kunlun Shan, although physically it is more closely connected to the Pamirs...

 (7,546 m), are higher than the Tajik summits.

Names


The peak was discovered in 1871 and originally named Mount Kaufmann after Konstantin Kaufman, the first Governor-General of Turkestan
Turkestan
Turkestan, spelled also as Turkistan, literally means "Land of the Turks".The term Turkestan is of Persian origin and has never been in use to denote a single nation. It was first used by Persian geographers to describe the place of Turkish peoples...

. In 1928 the mountain was renamed Lenin Peak after the Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n revolutionary and first leader of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

. In Tajikistan, the peak was renamed again in July 2006, and today it is officially called in Tajik
Tajik language
Tajik, Tajik Persian, or Tajiki, is a variety of modern Persian spoken in Central Asia. Historically Tajiks called their language zabani farsī , meaning Persian language in English; the term zabani tajikī, or Tajik language, was introduced in the 20th century by the Soviets...

 Qullai Abuali ibni Sino (қуллаи Абӯалӣ ибни Сино, Ibn Sina Peak or, alternatively, Avicenna Peak) after Abu Ali ibn Sina (Avicena). In Kyrgyzstan, the peak is still officially called Lenin Chokusu (Ленин Чокусу, Lenin Peak).

Some sources give Achiktash as the Kyrgyz
Kyrgyz language
Kyrgyz or Kirgiz, also Kirghiz, Kyrghiz, Qyrghiz is a Turkic language and, together with Russian, an official language of Kyrgyzstan...

 name for this 7,134 m mountain on the border with Tajikistan, but it seems that Achiktash, or more properly Achik-Tash, is the name of a plateau and a base camp at an altitude of 3,600 m on a popular northern climbing route to Lenin Peak, which starts in the southern Kyrgyz
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

 city of Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

, a day's drive north of the border.

Climbing history and routes


Initial exploration of this part of Central Asia occurred in the period 1774-1782. Arguably the first recorded travel through the region is the involuntary journey of the slave Filipp Efremov (an ethnic Russian), who escaped from slavery in Bukhara. He crossed the Fergana valley, then via Osh, the Chigirik Pass and Terekdavan Pass he reached the Kashgar and finally came over the Karakorum. He was the first European who crossed the Alai Mountains.

Scientific expeditions to the Alai Mountains began in 1871, when Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko
Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko
Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko was a Russian naturalist and explorer well known for his travels in central Asia....

 discovered the Trans-Alai (Zaalayskiy) Range and its main peak. The first geographical expedition which came nearest to the base of the future Lenin Peak in the early 20th century was arguably the expedition of Nikolai Leopol'dovich Korzhenevskiy.

In September 1928 three German researchers (E. Allwein, E. Schneider, Karl Wien
Karl Wien
Karl Wien was a German mountaineer.Born in Würzburg, Wien was the son of university professor Wilhelm Wien, and became a lecturer himself in the geography department of Munich University. His mountaineering career began in the Alps, where with Willi Welzenbach he made the first ascent of the...

), from a Soviet-German scientific expedition, made the first attempt to reach the highest point of the Trans-Alai Range, which at that time had the name Kaufman Peak.

They started climbing upstream of the Saukdara river along the South slope of Trans-Alai Range also Trans-Alay Range
Trans-Alay Range
The Trans-Alay Range is the northernmost range of the Pamir Mountains , where the Pamirs and the Tian Shan come together. They form the border between Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan and Gorno-Badakshan province, Tajikistan. To the north is the Alay Valley and to the south, the Muksu River. The highest...

. From the river head they continued climbing along the Greater Saukdara Glacier towards a saddle at an altitude 5820 m (this saddle is also known as the Krilenko Pass). On September 25, 1928 they started climbing from the saddle along the NE Ridge and at 15.30 they reached the first top of Lenin Peak at an altitude of 7127 m (23 382,55 ft.).

The title Lenin Peak was first applied to the highest point of the Trans-Alai Range in the same year (1928). When it was renamed after Lenin it was believed to be the highest point in the USSR.

On September 8, 1934 at 16:20 Kasian Chernuha, Vitaly Abalakov and Ivan Lukin, three members of a Soviet expedition, reached the summit at an altitude of 7134 metres (23,406 ft). Their attempt lasted for four days with three camps (5700 m, 6500 m and 7000 m). The expedition started climbing from the Achik-Tash canyon in the Alai valley. The summit attempt itself was started along the Western ice slope of the Lenin glacier. They continued climbing along the North Face, passing the rocks that were later given the name Lipkin's Rocks. At the end of the second day they reached the crest of the NE ridge at an altitude of about 6500 m. During the following day and a half they climbed along the NE Ridge and, utterly exhausted, reached the summit.

Three years later, in 1937 eight Soviet climbers under the direction of Lev Barkhash reached the summit by the same route. It was the third successful attempt at the time of the beginning of mass political repressions in the Soviet Union. Many of the most prominent Soviet climbers including Lev Barkhash were brought to trial.

Subsequent attempts to climb Lenin Peak could not begin until 1950, when the USSR began to recover from the Second World War. On August 14, 1950, twelve climbers (V. Aksenov, K, Zaporojchenko, Y. Izrael, V. Kovalev, A. Kormshikov, Y. Maslov, E. Nagel, V. Narishkin, V. Nikonov, V. Nozdryuhin, I. Rojkov) under the direction of Vladimir Racek reached the summit for the fourth time.

All three Soviet expeditions including Racec's expedition of 1950 were by almost the same route via the NE Ridge.

The route which now is known as the classic route, via the Razdelnaya Peak and NW Ridge, was first climbed in 1954 by the team of Soviet climbers under the direction of V. Kovalev (P. Karpov, E. Nagel, V. Narishkin, V. Nozdryuhin).

In 1960 a group of eight Soviet climbers made a successful direct climb along the North Face (15.08.1960).

There are 16 established routes, nine on the southern side and seven on the northern slopes. The peak is quite popular with climbers due to its easy access and some uncomplicated routes. However, the peak is not without its share of disasters. In 1974, an entire team of eight female climbers died high on the mountain in a storm. An avalanche
Avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...

 triggered by an earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

killed 43 climbers in 1990.

As it is now, considering the existing infrastructure and BC/ABC locations, there are three most attractive routes from the North (approximately indicated on the Scheme): Lipkin's rocks route and NE Ridge; the classic North Face route; the route via Razdelnaya Peak and the NW Ridge.

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