V. Biryukov / E. Kolokolnikov
In the Central Tien-Shan
situated a wonderfully beautiful pyramid covered by a snowy-iced veil.
That is Khan-Tengri (6995 m; by the translation from Mongolian -
"Imperator of the Heaven")
The description of mountainous land made by
P.P.Semyonov - Tien-Shanskiy attracted compatriots' attention &
attention of many foreign explorers & mountaineers to it.
Expeditions to Central Tien-Shan had begun in 1864 - N.A. Severtsov, in
1869 - A.V. Kaulbars, in 1876 - A.N. Kuropatkin, in 1886 - A.N. Krasnov
& I.V. Ignatyev, in 1889 - Hungarian zoologists Borgeze
& G. Brokherel, in 1902-1904 - botanist from Tomsk University
V.V. Sapojnikov, in 1912 - Russian topographers. In the beginning of XX
century German scientists G. Meltzbakher & M. Phridrikhsen have
also explored the Central Tien-Shan.
In 1900 Italian geographer & mountaineer
Ch. Borgeze has tried to ascend on Khan-Tengri, taking with himself an
alpine guide - M. Tzurbriggen. The expedition could not go further the
Not little role in exploring the Tien-Shan has
played the German geographer & mountaineer G. Mertzbakher. His
first attempt to approach to Khan-Tengri was made in 1902. Together
with the guides, Mertzbakher climbed until the summits of 5500 m, but
could not find a way to Khan-Tengri's foot. The next year Mertzbakher
was on Tien-Shan again.
Further efforts he directed on passing the south
branch of Inylchek glacier. Soon after, he saw a monumental pyramid -
Khan-Tengri - from the foot until the apex. In his opinion, Khan-Tengri
looked so frightening that there were no little hope to subjugate it.
That time Mertzbakher wrote in his daily: "Tien-Shan is not a place
for... mountaineers' animations".
The schemes of the district made by Mertzbakher's
expedition & topographical maps drawn up by Russian
topographers on the base of surveys made in 1912, for a long time were
the only documents of Central Tien-Shan. The point of Khan-Tengri's
situation remained conventional on them.
A systematic exploration of the Central Tien-Shan
began in 1929 by holding of complex expeditions, the initiator of which
has become an indefatigable traveler & mountaineer M.T.
Pogrebetskiy. By that time an idea of Pogrebetskiy to subjugate the
Khan-Tengri has grown strong. Exactly such an aim has been set to his
expedition of 1931.
At midday of the 11-th of September 1931 Mikhail
Pogrebetskiy, Boris Tyurin & Frantz Zauberer were standing on
the apex of Khan-Tengri. We, with the full right, can call that ascent
The second ascent on Khan-Tengri in which the
author of these lines had taken part took place in 1936.
The joy of the victory was great. I, topographer
by specialization, would like to look round Tien-Shan from the height
of Khan-Tengri, to observe the situation of its mountain ranges,
glaciers, canyons, rivers, but, unfortunately, because of bad weather I
couldn't do that.
Shortly after by our trace another group of
mountaineers set off for storm of Khan-Tengri. They were led by E.M.
Abalakov - the first subjugator of Communism Peak. The group consisted
of V.Abalakov - subjugator of the peak of Lenin, L. Saladin, M.
Dadiomov & L. Guttmann. The traveling companions of E. Abalakov
distinguished by physical & sportal preparation knew mountains
better than we do.
Luck accompanied five of the climbers until the
apex. They have reached it even earlier, than they have planned.
The descent by powdered by snow rocks turned out
to be difficult. The consequences of their storm turned out to be
tragic. In consequence of frostbite one of the participants has died
from gangrene, two other members got serious traumas.
During next 18 years since that triple victory, no
one has climbed to Khan-Tengri.
In 1964, the first storm of Khan-Tengri by a new
more complicated way has been undertaken. That time mountaineers from
Moscow, led by. Romanov, had undertaken a storm of the apex from South
Inylchek glacier by a steep south edge (it got a name - Marble edge).
Their compatriots, led by K. Kuzmin, were the first who planned the
ascent from North Inylchek glacier. Both teams have successfully passed
In 1968 was the first woman-mountaineer - L.
Romanova. In 1968 Kazakh spartak-players, led by B. Studenin &
Yu. Golodov won a victory over Khan-Tengri.
Among many storms, made during these years, we
should firstly mark the passing of South wall (1974) & two
traces (1971 & 1974). In the trace of 1971, climbers from
Kirghizia headed by V. Kochetov have distinguished themselves. They
have passed trace of Middle range from Gorky's peak to Khan-Tengri.
Our climbers to Khan-Tengri have attempted
In 1975, it was 75 years since the day of the
first attempt to ascend on Khan-Tengri.
In 1980 on the apex of Khan-Tengri peak Kirghizian
team of mountaineers headed by V. Biryukov have set a land-survey
station - duralumin pyramid with height of 1,5 m & by
surveyors-topographers an exact height of Khan-Tengri of 6995 m has
been defined. Placing of the pyramid on such a height - is not an easy
deal, but that is another talk. The pyramid stands there nowadays.
Now the way to the apex's foot has been simplified
& takes only 1-2 days. One day by car from Kirghiz station
(Bishkek) to Karakol, 4 hours from Karakol to mountain passing base
Mayda-Adir in the Inylchek River's valley & 30-40 minutes of
flight by helicopter to Inylchek glacier to the Khan-Tengri's foot,
where comfortable base camps are organized. However, the way to the
apex as before lies by steep iced & rocked slopes. And the apex
subjugates to brave, strong, & persistent mountaineers.