Resting in the Pamirs on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, close to Chinese and Afghan borders, Lenin Peak is one of only five 7,000+ meter peaks in the former USSR. At 7,134 meters it is the third highest peak, the others being Peak Communism (7,495 m) and Korzhenevsky (7,105 m), both in the Pamirs, and Peak Pobeda (7,439 m) and Khan Tengri (7,010m) in the Tien Shan. To climb all five earns you admittance into an elite group of Russian climbers known as the Snow Leopards. Lenin Peak is considered the most accessible 7000-meter mountain. There is a route that leads almost directly to the foot of the peak. If you summit Lenin Peak via the Razdelny route, there is practically no technical climbing involved. Achyk Tash Base Camp resides on a raised meadow between two steep river valleys. The surrounding area is carpeted in wild garlic and alpine flowers. From the BC we'll head over the Puteshestvinnikov Pass (4,200 m). The ascent usually takes 1-1.5 hours if the path is clear. Sometimes there is snow on the pass. Then we'll descend to the left moraine of Lenin Glacier and cross the river carefully. The best time to cross is early morning, as the river rises rapidly throughout the day. Next we'll cross the left moraine of the glacier to Lenin Glacier (4,100 m) and hike to Camp 1 (4,400 m). From Camp 1 (4,400 m) we'll cross the dry Lenin Glacier and ascend the snowy slopes that lead directly to the summit (north face). At 5,000 meters we'll head to the west and, ascending carefully, arrive at the rim of a large snow basin. We'll cross this and make our way beneath Razdelny Peak. A short climb up a scree/snow slope will lead us to Camp 2. There are a few crevasses on this section of the route but it is straightforward snow plodding. It is, however, a long and tiring day, and an early start is needed to avoid the worst effects of the sun. Directly above Camp 2 is an easy-angled couloir which leads to the north ridge of Razdelny Peak (6,148 m). Initially the ridge is almost level, but as we approach Razdelny Peak the angle steepens. The final 400 meter climb to the summit of Razdelny Peak is straight-forward, but the effects of the altitude make it hard work. The views from the summit are superb! To the north we'll get an amazing panoramic view of the Alai Plain while to the south we'll see a multitude of snowy peaks. Peak Communism and Korzhenevsky dominate the view of the southern Pamirs. Further east the Wakhan and Hindu Kush are clearly visible, and on a good day it is possible to make out Tirich Mir. From Razdelny Peak the ridge dog-legs to the west and drops down 100 meters to Razdelny Pass at 6,000 meters. It is here that we will reach camp 3. From camp 3 the whole ridge of the summit is visible. From here we will have two options. Either we climb directly to the summit and back to camp 3 in one long day, or we stay at a fourth camp at about 6,400 meters. From camp 3 we follow the broad ridge to a plateau (the site of camp 4) at 6,400 meters. We follow this back to the ridge proper where it steepens to form a short step which is turned on the north side. Above this the ridge is broken and rocky until we reach a large snow plateau. We follow this and rejoin the ridge just below the summit. The summit at 7,134 meters is crowned by a number of plaques, including one of Lenin himself. The views, as you would expect, are outstanding and stretch right across the Pamirs to Mustagh Ata and Kongur in China. Farther in the distance is the Hindu Kush and further west still, the Karakoram.
- - -
- - -