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The Snow Leopard Challenge - the ultimate 7000m challenge
It started in the old Soviet Union times and became the ultimate challenge for alpinists….to climb all Soviet peaks over 7000 meters; Peak Lenin, Korzhenevskoy, Communism, Khan Tengri and Pobeda. Those who managed to summit the five Central Asian giants were awarded the Snow Leopard Trophy. Today it has been completed by less than six hundred mountaineers, none of them British. Adventure Peaks is offering all five; three peaks are located in the Pamirs and two in the Tien Shan. They can be climbed individually or in combinations.
Peak Lenin 7134M
The summit can be attempted in one long day, or a fourth camp can be placed at about 6400 metres. The summit at 7134 metres 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 Muztag Ata and Kongur in China and to the west, the Karakoram.
Base camp is quite idyllic, situated on a raised meadow of alpine flowers between two steep river valleys. From Base Camp we head over the Puteshestvinnikov Pass to the moraine of the Lenin Glacier which is ascended to reach camp 1 at (4200 m). We establish two or three further camps, crossing the subsidiary peak Razdelny. It is from here the views really open up towards Peak Communism and the Hindu Kush.
Peak Lenin is one of only five 7000m peaks in the former USSR, the others being Peak Communism (7495m) and Korzhenevskoy (7105m), both in the Pamirs, and Peak Pobeda (7439m) and Khan Tengri (7010m) in the Tien Shan. To climb all five admits you to the elite group of Russian climbers known as Snow Leopards.
Peak Lenin at 7134m is the third highest mountain in the former Soviet Union and is situated in the Pamirs range of Kyrgyzstan. It is one of the most accessible of the world’s 7000m peaks. The climb is non technical and truly Himalayan by proportion and yet relatively cost effective.
Korzhenevskoy Peak 7105m
It is usually said to be the second easiest of these peaks to climb, after Peak Lenin and can be climbed in conjunction with an ascent of Peak Communism (Ismoil Somoni Peak 7495m) using Korzhenevskoy to prepare for its higher and more difficult neighbour. The classic Southern ridge route starts from the Moskvina Glade, reached by helicopter and is generally regarded as the safest and easiest route to the summit. Camps are placed at 5300m and 6400m from where we tackle the summit via a narrow but not steep ridge. To aid our ascent and the move between camps we will acclimatize on the nearby peaks Vorobeva (5691m) and Chetyreh peak (6299m)
Peak Communism 7495m
Peak Communism (Ismoil Somoni Peak) is the highest mountain in Tajikistan and a cherished dream of any mountaineer being one of the most beautiful and interesting climbs in the world. A mountain that has seen many names: in 1933 Stalin Peak, in 1962 Communism Peak, in 1998 Ismoil Somoni after the ancestor of the Samanid dynasty and finally its modern name Peak Somoni. The ascent starts from a base camp Moskvina Glade (4200m) which can only logically be approached by helicopter. Many climbers attempt Vorobeva Peak (5691 m) or Chetyreh Peak (6299 m) as part of their acclimatization. Four further camps are placed to reach the impressive small rocky summit with its spectacular panoramic views across the whole Pamirs and into China.
Khan Tengri 6995m
Base Camp will be established at 4000m on the North Inylchek Glacier, the world’s third longest at 62km. The views from here are quite breathtaking and provide a superb backdrop whilst enjoying a welcome drink of tea and relaxing, before we head for Camp 1 at 4300m and Camp 2 at 5100m. We then ascend the stunning Peak Chapayev, with its momentous views of our summit objective, and onto the Col just below the West Ridge at 5900m. To improve our chances of success on Khan Tengri, an additional camp may be established at 6300m. Climbing up to Scottish grade 2/3, Alpine D.At 6995m, Khan Tengri is without doubt the most splendid of summits amongst the jagged peaks of the Tien Shan. With its elegant ridges and superb pyramidal summit, it is also regarded as one of the most beautiful peaks in the world, alongside the stunning Alpamayo, Ama Dablam and the Matterhorn.
This challenging expedition follows in the footsteps of seven previously successful trips to this comparatively undiscovered region. For those with a little more time, the ascent of Khan Tengri can be combined with our exciting unclimbed peaks expedition, offering a very enjoyable and rewarding period of acclimatisation.
Pobeda Peak 7439m
Pobeda Peak is regarded as the toughest of the five summits and lies opposite Khan Tengri on the South Inylchek Glacier. It is the most northerly 7000m peak in the world, isolated and difficult and forms the border with China. It is climbed via five or six camps and would challenge any 8000m for its harshness.