Route through the icefall
The normal route on Pik Lenin is the easiest route on one of the easiest 7000 meter peaks in the world.
Technically speaking, it's a very straight forward climb, but nevertheless it's a high peak and there's a lot of things to think about before heading off for "an easy summit".
The peak is high. Nothing over 7000m is easy.
There are some objective dangers along the way, namely crevasses and a small risk of avalanches.
The area is infamous for bad weather and many climbers have died in blizzards and intense cold.
It's a long route, which has defeated many determined climbers during the years.
Heavy snowfall can stop even the most advanced and experienced climber, as parts of the route are long walks on quite flat terrain.
The summit percentage is just below 25%, so many alpinists have severly underestimated the easiness of the route.
That said, there are few mountains of this elevation which is easier.
Army truck to BC
Kyrgyzstan/Bishkek --- Osh --- Sary Tash --- Pik Lenin BC.
For a full description of how to get there, look at the main page.
Lower BC to "Onion Fields BC/High BC"
There's a bumpy dirt road in between the two camps and you can either walk it or get a ride with one of the many vehicles heading there.
If you go with a local jeep; ask for the price before you go. Over-charging is common and usually your camp's staff offer you a ride for free.
The walk takes about 1½-2h.
BC at Achii-Tash
Elevation gain from BC to summit: 3550m
High BC/Onion Field: 3750m
Onion Field to C1
The Onion Field or Lukova Polana Camp
Follow the easy-to-find path on the right hand side out of the camp. There are some small rocky sections, but most of the trail is an easy walk on meadows and the altitude gain is small until you reach the first uphills leading up to Puteshestvennikov Pass. The trail switch-backs up some steep scree hills to the top of the pass (4050m). You have excellent views, both back to the valley you left and of Pik 19, the impressive Lenin Glacier and The Lipkin Ridge of Pik Lenin.
Walk down the pass and head right up paralell to the glacier. There are some slide zones here, so be careful, especially if it's raining. You'll gain some altitude on the traverse up to a ridge, but from there the trail takes you down to a stream. The current can be quite strong sometimes and you better look carefully for the best place to cross. If the weather has been warm this river can be very hard to ford and you better try early in the morning. Some rolling hills takes you over some rocky ridges and then you enter the glacier. Most of the time you walk on morraine, but at times also on ice. There are some small crevasses just before arriving in C1.
C1 below the icefall
C1 is fully equipped with toilets and most organizers have their own camp base, complete with restaurants. Running water is easy to find in the melt-off streams from the surrounding glaciers.
C1 to C2
C2 seen from the icefall
The Lenin glacier now has to be entered and in the beginning it's an easy walk. After a short while the small cracks becomes larger and you better rope up. There are large crevasses in the beginning of the glacier. Some of them are bridged with ladders, some have fixed ropes and sometimes you have to jump.
Some easy walking on quite flat fields take you to the foot of Pik Lenin's north face. If it has been snowing recently the face can be avalanche prone. Talk to climbers who knows the area well if in doubt.
The last part to C2 usually has less crevasses, but there may be some hidden so don't relax completely. A short, but steep hill leads up to a flat, little flat spot where C2 is located. If you're here during the peak season it can be very crowded and camp spots can be hard to find.
Running water can be found here.
C2 to C3
Climbing Razdelnaya's NW face
From here on the route is free from crevasses if you stick to the main trail. Head straight up the steep hill on your right and aim for the ridge. At some points it can be up to 45 degress. It can be quite icy here and crampons is of help. When you reach the top of the ridge, walk left along the ridge. In front of you is the Pik Razdelaya's NE face. Climb to the top on the middle of the face. It is said to be about 50 degrees at its steepest, but I personally doubt it's more than 45. The face is said to avalanche sometimes, so be careful with the snow conditions.
When it flattens out walk left and traverse until you arrive at C3. Most teams set their camp just below the snow fields of Pik Razdelaya to avoid the winds from the west, which seems to be the prevailing direction.
If you want to avoid snow camping, you can walk a bit further towards the Razdelnaya Col. If it's not too snowy, you will find good camp platforms all along the way down to the saddle.
No running water.
C3 to C4
The distance to C4 for is not long, so many climbers prefer to skip a camp that high. From Razdelnaya saddle the route gets steeper. Walk and climb along the path of least resistence. Usually this is very close to the highest point on the ridge. There are some rocky sections with easy scrambling, but most of the time you're better off walking in the snow beside.
When you have passed the steep section an open plateau is found. It's quite large, several hundred meters long and there are many possible places to set up camp. The preferred spots are behind large boulders as it can be extremely windy up here.
Camping here or going straight from C3?
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I a fast climber?
2. Do I sleep bad on higher elevations?
3. Is the route free from too deep snow?
If you answer "yes" on these three - go straight from C3 to the summit.
The final part to the summit
Over a crevasse
After C4 there are once again some steeper, rocky sections. You can also here avoid most of the scrambling by going in the snow on the sides. When on top of a sharp ridge which terminates on a "horn" look for the easiest way to get past some rocky areas on quite flat terrain. A wall is now in front of you.
You can either climb up the rocks, which sometimes can be quite tricky if not finding a good route through. I would guess there are some class 4 scrambling here. I went as far as I could to the left to avoid the rocks and instead I had to deal with a section of steep snow up to 55 degrees. Don't fall here, as if you gain momentum you'll fall down the full height of the north face.
On top of the steep part you arrive to a huge snow field. Head towards the highest point on the other side of it. If the vision is bad, try to stay quite close to the left hand side. After a couple of hundred meters it once again starts to get steeper. There are plenty of rock outcroppings and scree slopes in front, so plan your route well. Rolling hills with higher and higher summits continues until you finally can't find a higher point ahead. When you see a little stick on a hill and another one of equal height marked with a metal memorial plate very close by, you're at the summit of Pik Lenin!