Report from Peak Lenin climbers: Victims of 1990 avalanche surfacing in melting glacier

Posted: Jul 18, 2007 08:03 pm EDT

(K2climb.net) July, 13 1990 a huge avalanche triggered by a small quake caught 43 international climbers in camp at 5300 meters on Peak Lenin. A massive search for victims in one of the worst tragedies in the history of mountain climbing ended up empty.

In a report today, RussianClimb writes they have received a call from Alexander Chechulin, currently climbing Peak Lenin as a member of the Central Sport Club of Kazakhstan expedition. Chechulin stated that the expedition has found a large numbers of bodies at 4200 meters. Seems the remains of climbers caught in the 1990 avalanche, are now surfacing at the edge of the glacier as a result of its melting.

January 25, 2004 through wind, deep snow and -25ºC temperatures, a Peak Lenin expedition team kicked off in true winter style. The ten member team led by Nickolay Chervonenko was resurrecting an old Russian tradition - that of the Snow Leopard or winter ascents of each 7,000m peak in the former USSR.

Peak Lenin is famous for being one of the easy 7000 meters, but has suffered tragedies from avalanches, just as Khan Tengri (another Snow Leopard target). Khan Tengri was last avalanched in 2004, in an avalanche remarkably similar one that hit the same site in 1993. It fell from the side of Peak Chekalov, that is neighboring KhanTengri. It was a kind of huge ice falling -- according to later descriptions, a huge, megatons in volume, chunk of ice split from Peak Chapaev's side and dropped on the climbers.

The 1993, August 4 Khan Tengri avalanche killed three including Valeri Khrishchaty; a member of the Soviet 1982 Expedition on Everest, South-West Pillar route. Valeri summited Everest in the night of May 8, together with Kazbek Valiev. Valeri also participated in the 1989 Soviet Expedition on Kangchenjunga. The Kazakhstani group of the Soviet team included Anatoli Boukreev, Kazbek Valiev, Vladimir Suviga, and other very strong Kazakhstani climbers. The Soviet team made a traverse of all 4 summits of Kanchenjunga, and during the expedition Valeri summited the three summits of Kangchenjunga, including the main one, all without O2.

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The Winter Peak Lenin expedition reached the summit on February 1, 2004. On their descent, expedition member Daniyar Mynzhysarov disappeared. His body was found the next day at 6200m with a craniocerebral trauma. Image of Lenin courtesy of mountain.ru.
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