References for Peak Lenin

Robert Craig, Storm and Sorrow in the High Pamirs (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1977; rev. ed., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980). The account of the tragic 1974 season on Peak Lenin.

Frith Maier, Trekking in Russia & Central Asia: A Traveler's Guide, rev. ed. (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1997). The only really comprehensive guide for most of the important mountain areas of the former Soviet Union, by an author with extensive personal experience there including a climb on Peak Lenin. In addition to a short section on climbing the peak, a lot of information on the region more generally and tips on how to plan your travel there.

Frith Maier, "A women's climbing tragedy remembered: Peak Lenin, 20 years ago," Climbing, No. 146 (1994), pp. 30, 32-33. On the deaths of all members of a Soviet women's climbing team in 1974.

Ian McLagan, "Worst accident in mountaineering history claims 43 lives," Climbing, No. 123 (1991), p. 30. On the 1990 avalanche disaster at Camp II.

Jill Neate, High Asia: An Illustrated History of the 7000 Metre Peaks (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1989), pp. 168-170. Information on first ascents of various routes.

R. Allen North, "Taking a Peak at Lenin," Summit, 20/10 (1974), pp. 1-5, 23 (reprinted from The Guardian). Account of 1974 events; includes on cover a classic photo of North's climbing partner holding up the bust of Lenin on the summit, a bust that has since disappeared.

Adrienne Rich, "Phantasia for Elvira Shatayev," in Rich's The Dream of a Common Language. Poems, 1974-1977 (New York: Norton, 1978), pp. 4-6. A lovely poem commemorating the leader of the tragic 1974 women's expedition.

Paola Pozzolini Sicouri and Vladimir Kopylov, Forbidden Mountains: the Most Beautiful Mountains in Russia and Central Asia (Milano: Indutech, 1974), pp. 70-72, 84-85, and additional photos, 6-7. A valuable basic reference source for peaks in the Caucasus, Pamirs, Tien Shan, etc., with brief route descriptions and sketch maps and many elegant photos.

Vladimir Shataev, Degrees of Difficulty (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1987). Essays by the former president of the Soviet Alpine Federation; the last two are on the 1974 tragedy in which he lost his wife, who was leading the women's team and then himself ascended the peak to identify the bodies and bring them down.


Pamir--Lenin Peak. Zaalayskiy Range (Tashkent: Asia Travel, 1999). A good quality topographic map in scale 1:100,000, withlegends and descriptive information in English, showing Peak Lenin and adjoining areas and including a schematic route map and day by day description of the ascent. For those interested in crossing passes in the region, there is a tabulation of all of them, with altitudes and difficulty rating according to the Russian system. Asia Travel can be reached at e-mail <> and has a web site. The firm offers expeditions to Peak Lenin as well as other climbs and treks.

Pik Lenina (Bishkek: Kyrgyzgeodeziia, 1992). A 1:200,000 scale map with Peak Lenin on the bottom edge, based on the old Soviet 1:200,000 military topographic surveys, but updated in 1991. One in a series of 1:200,000 scale maps for all of Kyrgyzstan which can be purchased at the shop run by the State Cartographical and Geodesical Service of the Kyrgyz Republic, 107 Kiev Street, Bishkek 720001, whose e-mail is <>. They also sell very nice large-scale topos for various treks in Kyrgyzstan.