/ DESTINATION GUIDE: Lenin Peak 7,134m - The World's easiest Seven Thousander?

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UKC Articles 29 Jul 2019
Lenin Peak, North Face: Standard route ascends middle of glacier then trends right and goes on to right ridge line via Camp 1. Lenin Peak, which sits on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, is widely cited as the world's easiest 7000m summit. While in a strict technical sense that might be correct, this remains a serious mountain that, during its short summer season (early July through the end of August), attracts many people from Europe, Asia and further afield, most of whom despite the mountain's "easy" reputation, fail to stand on its summit.

Though detailed statistics are missing, the frequently cited figure suggesting something in the range of a 15-25% success rate is probably about correct (my own research found it to be nearer 25%). So, for a reputedly easy peak, why is the success rate so low?

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Damo 30 Jul 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article. I climbed Lenin in August 2012 and would add a few points:

- it's possible to camp in the col down and beyond main C2, which was crowded into the lee-side of that top. The col camp was windy, but had at least ten tents there, and I was glad of not having to climb up to the other camp on my descent from the summit. If you need that 6400m C3 you probably shouldn't be there.

- yes, too many groups don't allow enough time. This is common on all guided mountains now.

- many guided groups I saw were going up and down at least once too much, going to C2 but then descending back to ABC, wearing out clients and wasting time down low. I prefer to spend more time at mid-level camps.

- yes, C1 is atrocious, and gets worse as the season wears on and the snow melts. It's gets hellishly hot there. Definitely boil or sterilise water.

- most people leave ABC after breakfast, which I and my partner found crazy. We left around 2-3am and were in our tent at C1 by 8am. A massive avalanche came down and wiped the traverse track around 10am - nobody would have survived it. Half an hour later around 20 people walked across the debris on their way up...

- the 'Knife' ridge section had no fixed rope on it when I was there and I didn't feel it needed one. There were no ladders or ropes on the lower glacier either, but there are plenty of crevasses - small obvious ones at the beginning and bigger hidden ones with soft edges higher up, before you traverse right across to C1.

- trying to find the summit in poor visibility would be almost impossible, likewise the descent. Use a loaded GPS or only summit in clear conditions.

richardhaszko 05 Aug 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Yes, a good article and right in many respects. I climbed Lenin in 2009, reaching the summit just 10 days after getting to Base Camp.We didn't have any acclimatisation problems, making one trip to ABC then another to the ridge above Camp 1 before returning to Base Camp for a rest. We were very lucky with a weather window, getting down just as a big storm came in trapping many people high up. One guy died and another was seriously injured falling into a crevasse an hour or so behind us on the descent (there but for fortune!) One thing that helped us a lot was hiring a porter to take heavy stuff like the tent, carrying all one's own gear takes its toll. It's well worth the Eur100 or whatever it was. One thing the author didn't mention was the rather scary traverse on the path to ABC. Maybe this has changed now. 

Damo 07 Aug 2019
In reply to richardhaszko:

> One thing the author didn't mention was the rather scary traverse on the path to ABC. Maybe this has changed now. 

You mean the trekking path with scree slopes and gullies up to your right, headed to ABC, before the stream crossing? Because yes, I was going to mention this above, but thought it might have just been a one-off when I was there.

It seemed pretty innocuous, but rocks came whizzing down and nearly took out a British woman not far behind me. Then we realised they were coming down regularly. Nothing major but enough to kill you with a head-shot, and not something I've seen mentioned anywhere!

richardhaszko 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Damo:

That's the one. Mildy terrifying and done very quickly.


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