In summer 2001, a group of Czech and Slovak ski alpinists, telemarkers, and a snowboarder took part in a month-long expedition to Central Asia's Pamiro-Alaj mountains. The aims of this tour were: to reach the summit of Pik Lenina through Lipkin's rock, to make the first Czech ski descent through the north face of Pik Lenina and the third worldwide descent on snowboard, to do some white water rafting at Chu river, and finally scuba diving at Issyk-kul Lake.
The 22 member group arrived at the Lukova poljana base camp at an altitude of 3800 meters at the end of July 2001, but it was not without problems, because Swiss Air had lost some of their baggage during the flight from Prague via Zurich to Moscow. Crampoons, sleeping bags, an avalanche beeper, ski bindings, and a GPS device were among the missing equipment. Members from other Czech expeditions provided some of this equipment so we could continue.
Finishing some basic acclimatisation around our base camp we moved up to the morraine of Lenin's glacier at 4470 meters, where Camp 1 was set up. This place offered an incredible view of the north face of Pik Lenina with a width more than 15 kilometres and altitude difference of almost 2700 meters.
During the next few days we paid closer attention to acclimatisation, because our next camps will be set up at altitudes 5450 and 6080 meters. The first summit attempt on August 6th was unsuccesful, when a group of three ski alpinists could go no higher than 6400 meters. Day after the snowboarder Petr Adamek on the K2 Zephyr suffered of altitude sicknes and physical exhaustion during his own ascent at 6600 meters. Finally on August 11, a group of seven people (Petr Novak, Alice Korbova, Milan Hurtik, Jiri Pleskac, Ludek Kopecky, Jiri Kalousek and from Slovakia Peter Kollar) took a new route through the north face of Pik Lenina between the Lipkin's rock route and the Dirretisima of the North Face
, and reached the summit at 7134 meters late in the afternoon (exactly at 5 p.m.). They took many photos and prepared to descent on skis. The snow conditions were difficult - hard icy snow combined with hard crust, ice stones, stones and extremely deep powder snow to 6500 m. Under this altitude the snow improved and skiing was quite enjoyable. After that, alll altitude camps were packed up and expedition moved down to the north part of Kyrgyzstan.
Half of us do some white water rafting at Chu river (degree IV). Furtheron, our expedition stayed in Cholpon Ata - a small city on Issyk-kul Lake. The water level of Issyk-kul is approximately 1620 m. That's why it was really extremely exciting to make scubadiving there. On the other hand, the trouble was that the Yacht-club's scubadiving equipment was prehistorical. It was absolutely impossible to think about typical diving to 50 m, so we only dove to 4 m.
The expedition succeeded with making new route through the north face of Pik Lenina. Seven people reached the summit and descended to the Camp1 on skis. Moreover, one member of the summit team was a female - Alice Korbova - supposed to be first ever woman to do climb through the North Face with skis, and she was also second ever woman (first woman was Arganovskaja from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskij in year 1969) to ski downhill the North face
. It may have been the greatest ski alpinism and snowboard expedition in the history of the Czech republic and Slovakia, because 14 of 22 people were equipped with skis or snowboard.
In fact, the six member Slovakian part stated, that they are separate group partly cooperating with the whole expedtion. Most of their members try classical Razdelanaja route, three of them suceeded. Only one, telemark skier Peter Kollar, employed the route, and camps prepared by us, and behind Petr Novak with help of Alice Korbova he summited.
His article is at Telemark skiing of the North Face of Peak Lenin at Couloimag.com
Camp 2, the North Face of Peak Lenin, behind far away Peak Razdelnaja (6210 m) and pass with Camp 3 on the normal route
Camp 3, the North Face of Peak Lenin, behind far away Lipkin's rocks
Our friends, Robin Baum and Vladimir Smrz from Karlovy Vary repeated that route in alp style in summer 2002. They reached range above the North Face at 6950 m, and skied down.
My photo of the route together with Camp 1 is at North Face Direct SP page
, in fact, it is not direct as the direct leads through the centre of the Face, it is in the middle between the Lipkin's rock and Direct.