Peak Lenin mountaineers, Warren, Russ and Roydon set off in July 2018 to scale the summit of the second highest mountain in the Pamir mountain range (7,134 metres) in Central Asia.
For those that followed last year’s expedition, you’ll likely remember the dramatic rescue mission the team undertook when faced between the choice of reaching Peak Lenin summit and helping a solo climber who was suffering from hypothermia, frostbite and suspected cerebral oedema – they chose the latter.
This year, our expedition team returned to square away the unfinished business from July 2017. Situated on the Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan border, Peak Lenin, while an achievable peak, is not one to underestimated.
Led by expert mountaineer and experienced guide Soren Kruse Ledet, clients are required to have prior mountaineering experience, including previous climbs at altitude and solid technical skills. A high level of fitness and reasonable mountaineering skills are a must to reach the summit of this significant 7,000m mountain.
Acclimatisation is key
While Peak Lenin is not a technical mountain, the challenge for climbers is to properly acclimatise and manage a very long summit day. Picture more than 1000 vertical metres over 5.5 kilometres from Camp 3 to the summit!
Warren, Russ, Roydon and the World Expeditions team travelled from the Kyrgyzstan side of the peak, beginning from the village of Osh. With long periods of calm conditions and little to no precipitation, our mountaineers were blessed with more settled weather this season and were able to acclimatise to Base Camp and C1 with ease on the mountain.
The weather itself was quite warm, though not as hot as it was in 2017. Even so, it wouldn’t take long for top snow to melt and expose the glacier underneath. Towards the end of the month, large crevasses were beginning to open up, particularly at around 4,000m between C1 and C2.
World Expeditions’ acclimatisation program was quite different from most other groups, spending extra days at BC and C1 to properly acclimatise before moving up higher. This involved walked up nearby hills to adjust with the jumps in elevation between each campsite. Warren, Russ, Roydon all acclimatised well, but they still found the first visit to C2 at 5,400m a challenge.
Unfortunately for Russ and Roydon, they decided not to go further than C2, but it was a fantastic effort from both gents!
Everyone was involved at camp, which made for a true expedition-style adventure; carrying loads, setting up camps and cooking meals up in C2 and C3 from a variety of foods carried. Soren particularly enjoyed the sliced ham and biscuits!
The night before summit day was a restless night though. Intense, howling winds outside their tents interrupted their slumber and with strong winds predicted for the day, they decided to delay their departure until 5am (rather than 3.30am).
Their early rise welcomed a brisk, morning chill. It was cold, but not unbearable. The team made great progress at a nice, steady pace before their first drink break where they were greeted by a spectacular sunrise.
The expected winds of over 40km didn’t materialise and conditions were clear, so they continued en route, each settling in to a comfortable rhythm. By late morning they emerged onto the plateau at 6,900m – the scene of last year’s rescue. But it was onwards and upwards from here, with just two hours to go until they reached the top of the peak.
It wasn’t until 1:45pm on Saturday July 21, 2018 when Warren, expedition leader Soren and Russian guide Rinat set foot on the summit of Peak Lenin. It was a picture-perfect day at 7,134m in the incredible Pamir mountain range. A huge congrats to Warren and the team!
For those feeling inspired, we plan to revisit Peak Lenin as well as Khan Tengri in 2020, so stay tuned! Can’t wait ’til then? Check out our range of mountaineering expeditions – from beginner climbs to more technical ascents >