Today the International Mountaineering Day is celebrated. This holiday appeared thanks to two brave Swiss – the doctor Michel-Gabriel Packard and the mountain guide Jacques Balma. On August 8, 1786, they were the first of all climbers to reach the highest point of the Alps – the Mont Blanc peak, whose height is 4810 meters above sea level.
In Tajikistan, for the first time in the history of Tajikistan, without the participation and help of foreign climbers, the ascent to a difficult height was made in July 2018. A group of Tajik climbers led by Rashid Takhmuradov climbed Karl Marx Peak.
Photo from personal archive
“Each member of our expedition has a goal of becoming a snow leopard,” he says. – We are preparing for this, and we are going to conquer the three highest peaks of the Pamirs first. And to become a “snow leopard” you need to conquer 5 peaks, the height of which is more than 7 thousand meters. Three of them are located in Tajikistan – these are the peaks of Ismoili Somoni, Ibn Sina and Korzhenevskaya, as well as Khan Tengri (7010 meters) and Pobeda (7439 meters) in Kyrgyzstan, ”explains the veteran climber Rashid Takhmurodov.
Pioneers of Tajik mountaineering
Prior to that, Tajik climbers mainly climbed with foreign teams, often Russian ones.
As evidenced by open data, mountaineering began to develop in Tajikistan in the 50s of the twentieth century.
In 1953, it was decided to organize the first climbing camp in Tajikistan in the Varzob gorge. The first routes were not difficult, corresponding to the strength of novice climbers.
Pupils of the local club “Varzob” worked as instructors in the camp together with visiting coaches: Rustam Simonazarov, Ernest Abdullaev, Leonid Korzhavin, Boris Fadeev, Valery Lavrushin and others.
In 1955, a group of climbers climbed to the top of the Dream (local name – Khoja Lakon, 4767 m). It was the first difficult route of the 4A category. The group was led by the instructor of the alpine camp “Varzob”, the Minsk climber Ivan Romashevsky. Among the first climbers were two athletes from Tajikistan, then still Dushanbe students – Anvar Shukurov and Rostislav Pankov.
In 1959, this path was repeated by three Dushanbe residents: Vladimir Mashkov, Anvar Shukurov and Svetlana Kolenkina. This was the first ascent of Tajik climbers of the highest category of difficulty, which they dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the republic. Memories of this memorable ascent were described in his book “The Tops of My Republic” by Vladimir Mashkov.
The tragedy of the first Tajik climber
The fate of Anvar Shukurov, the first Tajik mountaineer, whose bright but short life was dedicated and devoted to the mountains, turned out to be tragic. He was born on December 24, 1934 in the village of Chikhokhi, Vanj region, GBAO.
He was a candidate of economic sciences, worked at the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, but the mountains were his inspiration, and mountaineering was his favorite hobby.
In the summer of 1966, the season ended in the alpcamp on the Fan Mountains, everyone fulfilled the grade norms, training ascents without incident, a few more days – and everyone will begin to disperse.
The highway is on the other side of Iskander-Kul Lake, the camp is on this one. Each time, the products brought by car from the city were carried along the shore, there was no road around the lake at that time.
It was decided to buy a motor boat “Kazanka” with an outboard engine. This time the deputy was supposed to drive the boat back. A few more people asked for it – a change of cooks, a caretaker. Everyone needed to go to the city …
In the middle of the lake, the engine stopped, the boat capsized. People in wet clothes were holding on to the overturned boat and did not know what to do: wait for help in the cold water of a mountain lake or, breaking away from the boat, sail to no one knows where.
Vladimir Mashkov swam for help – in complete darkness, only occasionally turning his head towards the boat, the duralumin bottom of which reflected the moonlight. In unconsciousness, he made it to the shore, the student girlfriends who were walking after lights out accidentally found him.
Winter 1960. North-Eastern ridge of the Komsomol settlement. Route 5-a
They turned on the lights in the camp, started the engine on another boat. After a while, the boat returned, but only at the very shore did they find one of the cooks who could not swim – he simply slipped bread trays under him, even the hood of the puff did not get wet.
Everyone else died in the icy water. Including Anvar Shukurov.
Vladimir Mashkov himself passed away in 1998. He created the first mountaineering section in Tajikistan, became a master of sports, and then a “snow leopard”.
In 1990, on the Moskvin glacier, Mashkov organized an international camp “Navruz”, from which climbers went to the two highest peaks – Ismoil Somoni (Communism) peak and Korzhenevskaya peak.
Mountaineering in Tajikistan is not developed
In recent years, interest in mountaineering and mountain tourism in Tajikistan has been growing. But the issue of training national mountaineering personnel remains unresolved at the proper level.
There is the Federation of Mountaineering, Rock Climbing and Paragliding, a number of clubs for the development of mountaineering and mountain sports tourism. Each of them contributes to the development of national mountaineering, but without significant support from the state and sponsoring organizations, the results are not very noticeable.
Photo courtesy of Timur Dzhurabaev
According to experts, the Year of Tourism and Folk Crafts is a good reason to draw the attention of leaders to this problem. All over the world, mountaineering brings a good income to the treasury, and in order to organize commercial ascents to the peaks of Tajikistan, national personnel are needed.
All mountain lovers hope that in the year of tourism and folk crafts, the relevant authorities will nevertheless pay attention to the development of national mountaineering. In the meantime, we congratulate our climbers on their International Day!