THE LAST «WHITE SPOT» OF PAMIR
Under the book by Kalinin (MS of the USSR) “Fortambek and its peaks”, 1983, Tashkent. Published with reductions, edited by
The first mention about Pamir or Karategin country located in the beginning of Syr-Darya and Amu Darya rivers appeared in Suan Tzan China Buddhist monk’s notes in VII century. In Russia Karategin name appeared in «News of Russian Imperial Geographical Society» in 1870. The author of a sketch «The Note about Karategin land made on asked data» was a chief of Zeravshanskiy district of Turkestan edge A.K. Abramov general-major.
In 1876 Alajskaya military expedition of Skobelev general entered to Pamir limits. This way Alexander II wished to prove to his vassal, emir of Bukhara that the authority of Russia extends up to the most remote suburbs. Spot-check of daring cossacks could remain only demonstration of power if not L.F. Kostenko lieutenant colonel and Zhilin military topographer. They were the first researchers of Karategin east suburbs. They with a small group left from Alajskaya valley, then crossed Trans Alai Ridge through Tersagar pass and saw three huge snow peaks in the south. L.F. Kostenko named it Gou mountains. A powerful dirty-brown stream of the Muksu river rushed at the bottom of the peaks. There were some small Kirghiz pise-walled small houses framed with tiny fields of undersized wheat, a poor cemetery and lonely construction above a burial place of Muslim sacred in a valley. Zhilin made a schematic plan, designated a tomb (Altyn-Mazar) and three streams Sauksay, Kaindy, Selsay making the Muksu river on it.
In a year there was a new expedition in these places, headed by I.V. Mushketov geologist. He did not go down from a pass, just surveyed a panorama. He estimated a height of a ridge on the opposite cost of Muksu River as 5800 m and made a description of Trans Alai Ridge geological structure.
In 1878 V.F. Oshanin carried out the first Russian travel to Karategin. His expedition began at Samarkand city. They overcame Hissar mountains, entered Karategin limits along Vakhsh valley. There were red-brown waters, a mighty generation of unknown Pamir highness, and the name of the river Vakhsh was abrupt and sonorous, as a name of a deity. The river was named so only up to the place where two other ones Obihingou and Surhob connected its waters. Sources of Obihingou River lay within the limits of Darvaz grounds. And sources of Surhob River? Maybe that is Kysylsu that changed the name after Kirghiz mountain? But the stream was very great compared with one observed by Oshanin two years ago in Alayskaja valley. Abrupt slopes without forests of orange-yellow color of burnt out grasses lasted on northern board of a valley. Occasionally, there where the lateral gorge broke this monotony, the rests of snow were seen on a far ridge. From the south the other Pamir ridge rose up its narrow rocky peaks, and the further to the east, the more powerful its snow-ice peaks were.
Every day of a way enriched the expedition with openings. Vasily Fedorovich added rare and absolutely unknown kinds of insects to entomology collection, the herbarium of M.I. Nevesskiy botany also increased with new kinds of plants, a military topographer captain G.E. Rodionov drew new lines on a map. Oshanin described surrounding ridges and peaks in details and named them. Thus such names as Karateginskiy Ridge, Peter the Grate Ridge, Darvaz Ridge appeared. Outstanding peaks surpassed both Alpine and Caucasian on height and power received names in honour of great scientists of a century (Severtzov Peak, Agassis Peak, Tidal Peak).
Expedition came nearer to the beginning of Surhob river. There was a deep valley pressed by a huge glacier, the intricate pattern weaved by waters of the river on a grey basis of pebble. Two Pamir rivers Kyzylsu and Muksu forming one Surhob River spread freely. After a ferry through Kyzylsu loops of a horse track deduced on a huge terrace, where from the grandiose panorama of east part of Peter the Grate Ridge opened.
The East peak. Some researchers suppose that V.F. Oshanin opened a predominating peak of Peter the Great Ridge. This peak appears as Communism peak on modern maps.
Further Oshanin expedition tried to pass through Muksu valley, but the way appeared to be impossible for horse group. Then Oshanin decided to bypass Muksu’s bottlenecks and to come to the river by round way. The group turned to Kysylsu valley, then rounded the western part of Trans Alai Ridge and through Tersagar pass leaved to the beginning of Muksu River. The names of three peaks Muzdzhilga, Sandal and Shilbe mentioned by L.F. Kostenko appeared in V.F. Oshanin's descriptions for the first time. Oshanin not only visited the picturesque natural boundary as his predecessors did, he went further. According to the plan, the expedition should pass from the beginning of Muksu River to Shugnan, to the Jashilkul lake to connect shootings of Russian and English topographers and to find out ways to a valley of Indus through Hindu Kush. But the route was interrupted in Baljand-kiik gorge where packs were broken about rocks on an abrupt and narrow track, horses stumbled and fell down. The third part of a group suffered from a fever. Vasily Fedorovich decided to turn back not to risk with people. The group receded to Altyn-Mazar, and he together with Rodionov and Nevesskiy forwarded through Seldara River to visit a glacier. Openers decided to name the glacier in honour of Alexey Pavlovich Fedchenko, the first Russian researcher of Pamir, who studied with Vasily Fedorovich in the Moskow University, whose life in the blossoming of physical and a creative power has tragically broken on a glacier of Mer-de-Glas in Alpes1/.
Six years after Oshanin’s expedition the geologist and ethnographer G.E. Grumm-Grzhimailo visited lower reaches of Muksu. He also did not manage to rise on a valley, but he got to Darvaz and firstly came out with an assumption that there was «a vastest raising, unit from which ranges of unequal length» departs in «northern part of Pamir uplands». Together with G.E. Grumm-Grzhimailo a military topographer G.E. Rodionov already known to us took part in a travel, but results of his work do not appear anywhere. Thus, visiting Darvaz by two travellers did not make high-mountainous orography of the central part of Pamir clearer. The fullest representation about the grounds to the south from Peter the Great Ridge could give two-year (1881-1883) travel by A.E. Regel botany and P.E. Kosjakov topographer. Unfortunately, A.E. Regel was ill and died soon after returning to Russia, not processed up to the end the results of the expedition. And it was he who first of researchers got to Rushanskoje and Shugnanskoe Khan land. P.E. Kosjakov had to come back from the valley of Vanch because of illness.
In the beginning of 90th of XIX century political conditions on Pamir became so difficult, that it caused military collisions between Russian Cossack groups and armies of Kashgari and Afghani khans later. After this the English-Russian negotiations about borders of influence of two powerful powers at Pamir took place in London (1895). The incorporated commission arrived to Shugnan and established a state border which exists until now between Kashgar, Afghanistan and areas subject to Russia. There were well educated advanced officers among the Cossack including B.L. Grombchevskiy, A.G. Serebrjannikov, S.P. Vannovskiy, P.A. Kuznetsov who left works on description and making Pamir maps.
In 90th of XIX century drawing up of Pamir map began. Three sheets of a map were finished in 1897. G.E. Grumm-Grzhimailo, lieutenant colonel G.E. Rodionov also participated in drawing the map. On a map, at Darvaz territory the Garmo river and Garmo peaks in its top are designated. That was its first mention in geographical literature about Pamir.
In 1897 Vladimir Ippolitovich Lipsky crossed the western part of Peter the Great ridge for three times. In spite of travelling alone he investigated some valley glaciers originating from northern slopes of a ridge. Lipsky convinced from the stories of inhabitants that there was a significant congelation to the east of Peter the Great Ridge. Glaciers lie in the sources of the Shegazy, Kashmuk, Irget, Sygran, Fartamuk rivers. Fartamuk is a first mention of Fortambeck valley. It is possible to conclude that Lipsky was more exact than the latest researchers. The syllable "muk" is present at many toponims of East Karategin: Muk settlement, the Muksu, Kashmuk, Katta-Karamuk, Kichi-Karamuk rivers. A.A. Bobrinskiy, the researcher of a life of Pamir mountaineers, in his book «Mountaineers of the beginning of Pjandzh» makes an assumption that all these names are «the traces left by ancient Muk people» which left these places and migrated to the West for the unknown reasons.
In 1899 Lipsky undertook a new travel. This time he visited Darvaz, visited and described glacial areas of the Arzyng and Mazar rivers, crossed Peter the Great ridge and moved upwards Muksu. He tended to survey glaciers of the east part of the ridge. But horses impassability of Muksu’s bottlenecks stopped the researcher. Obviously, Lipsky observed many peaks surrounding Fortambeck glacier including Evgenii Korzhenevskoj peak. Lipskiy surveyed a significant part of northern slopes of Peter the Great ridge. He published his descriptions of the travel in three-volume work «Mountain Bukhara» in St.-Petersburg in 1902-1905.
In 1903 the lieutenant colonel of the Joint Staff of Russia V.F. Novitsky passed through Karategin and Darvaz. In the report of a trip he wrote: «on the 3rd of August we reached last settlement of Vahiya Pashim-garm village located at merge of three great mountain streams, forming Hingou River». And further: «From here it is possible to investigate an east, still absolutely not investigated part of a ridge (Peter the Great Ridge - author), filled by snow peaks and glaciers. Sagrun and Garmo Gorges (Kirgizob Gorge - author) get into a ridge so deeply, that if it was possible to reach sources of current there streams the general character of these mountains would become clear», - but gorges were inaccessible. Thus neither V.F. Oshanin, nor G.E. Grumm-Grzhimaylo and V.I.Lipsky, nor V.F. Novitsky and B.A. Fedchenko with B.A. Majtov (1904) could not pass upwards Muksu to investigate its middle current.
The first one who investigated a middle current of inaccessible Muksu was Nikolay Leopoldovich Korzhenevsky. He left to Pamir from Osh on the 19th June, 1904, in 10 days he left Alayskiy ridge and Alayskaya valley, and admired with always snowed Muzdzhilga, Sandal and Shilbe from Tersagar pass. Kirghiz lived in the Altyn-Mazar warmly met the traveller, but categorically did not advise to go downwards a valley. Korzhenevsky doubted himself because there was too much water in the river, its dirty-brown stream rolled huge stones and it was impossible to hear a voice on a coast. Tohturbay Kirghiz advised him to come back in the autumn when water considerably falls down and Muksu becomes accessible for a horse ferry. Tohturbay told that he passed on gorge being a boy with his father and promised to accompany with the traveler.
At September 16th N.L. Korzhenevsky arrived to natural boundary again and Tohturbay was much confused. But excuses of the old Kirghiz did not help him, and next day horsemen departed. Details of a trip from Altyn-Mazar up to settlement Irgaj are described in detail by N.L. Korzhenevskiy in a sketch «On the Muksu river» in a year-book of Russian Mountain Society (volume V, 1906). In a travel he made the scheme of average watercourse of Muksu river where he designated all its inflows and their names according to Tohturbay. On the scheme Korzhenevsky designated only glaciers seen by him, among them were Karasel glacier renamed by Korzhenevsky to Mushketov glacier. He didn’t mention Fortambek glacier. In the same volume of a year-book where Korzhenevsky’s sketch was published the editor Alexander fon Mekk offered «The Experience of the cartographical image of pool of the Muksu, Arzyng and Mazar rivers». There he put on a map the glaciers within the limits of pools of these three rivers opened and mentioned by all researchers for the first time. He designated the Fortambek glacier with a special sign. Fon Mekk also designated the Garmo peak on the scheme and legendary Kashal-Ajak and Tanymas passes mentioned still by Oshanin.
Captain N.I. Kosinenko with a group of cossacks went to search for these passes in 1908. He went alone Fedchenko glacier where he found out a large inflow and named it Bivachny glacier. They could not pass to the depth of Bivachny glacier, but four cossacks rose upwards Fedchenko glacier and went on Kashal-ajak pass which they named Scouts pass. Undoubtedly, Kosinenko saw a pyramid of present Communism peak from the east, but there were no mentions in its report about it.
On a map executed by G.E. Rodionov an axial part of Peter the Great ridge and the Central Pamir areas looks like a huge white spot. Mapping of Peter the Great ridge began in 1906 with an expedition of William Rikmer-Rikmers, the German geographer and climber. Climbings on Ljuli-Harvi and Big Achik peaks were done during the expedition. These were the first climbings on peaks of Peter the Great ridge and, probably, the first ones on Pamir.
In 1910 N.L. Korzhenevsky traveled again. The researcher was still attracted with unknown mountains laying to the south from Muksu. He tried to cross the rough river to survey the gorges which he crossed six years ago together with Tohturbay. But Muksu waters didn’t let him go. After the failed attempt, Nikolay Leopoldovich decides to look at treasured glaciers from the opposite part of a valley. Thus, he has appeared opposite to Mushketov glacier. «We were divided only by the river and massive old moraines on that coast. The first that amazed me was the huge file towering on a background of Karaselsky gorge». So an opening of Evgenii Korzhenevskoy peak, the third peak of Pamir on height took place.
In 1913 the German researchers came to Pamir again. They continued mapping of area of Peter the Great ridge. R. Klebelsberg, the geologist of the expedition started to do geological shooting. Photoillustrations in his book «Introduction to geology of the Western Turkistan», published in 1922 in Innsbruck, give clear representation of orography of a significant part of Peter the Great ridge. It was absolutely unknown before. A map published in this edition supplemented a Russian map. The predominating role in area of Garmo glacier was allocated to Sandal peak which height was measured as 7050 m. Klebelsberg was based on the data, told to him by Tadjiks from Garmo valley. Garmo Peak is put on the scheme according to its present site. As well as the previous expedition, German researchers have done some climbings. There were the first climbings on Sagunaki mountain in Peter the Great ridge and anonymous five-thousandth peak in its southern spur (nowadays it is OPTE ridge). This peak was named Mirzatash peak in honour of the official (Mirza) of Bukhara emir who accompanied with the expedition as emir’s representator. The professor Rikmer-Rikmers and V. Daimler took part in a climbing on Mirzatash peak.
R. Klebelsberg results the isolated panorama of four pictures from top of Mirzatash peak. Two of them represent Peter the Great ridge with present Moscow peak and other peaks to the West belong to Rikmer-Rikmers’ camera, and two others to Daimler’s camera. They represent a Darvaz ridge to the west of Garmo peak, the bottom part of Garmo glacier and peaks in the beginning of Fedchenko glacier. The site of mountains to the east is absent. Perhaps, it is not visible from Mirzatash peak? It appears not. The missed picture were found out in the collection of the Austrian Alpine club, 1928. It was published by R. Finstervalder, and was made in 1913 by Daimler who died during the First world war. The signature under a picture says, that it is «Garmo peak (nearby 7500), the highest in Seltau». Daimler photographed three tops. The right one, covered with the clouds, with a characteristic triangle of a rocky wall is a present Communism Peak. Thus, a picture by Daimler is the first photo of the highest top of Pamir. From Rikmer-Rikmers’ letters to Russian geographical society in 1913 follows, that German researchers having visited Garmo glacier concluded that its beginning lead to southern slopes of peaks towering above Muksu near Altyn-Mazar.
In 1916 Garmo valley was visited by J.I. Beljaev astronomer and P.I. Besedin geographer. The researcher published two separate sketches in one number of "News of Russian Geographical Society» where they don’t have a uniform conclusion on a question of a site of Garmo peak. J.I.Beljaev states doubts concerning Garmo peak on a Russian map, but does not undertake to solve this question finally. Both researchers mention also the peaks in the beginning of Garmo glacial system, presumably identifying them as «Altyn-Mazarskiy heights».
In 1925 N.L. Korzhenevsky made a hypothetical scheme of glaciers and ridges of high-mountainous area of Northwest Pamir arrangement. He puts Garmo peak in the center of mountain unit from which he draws ridges, puts Garmo, Fortambeck, Mushketov and Kashal-Aiak (Bivachny) glaciers between them and applies it to the next work on Pamir (1926). Next year Korzhenevsky published a new work «Muksu and its glaciers» where he wrote: «The sources of Mushketov glacier lie in huge complex circus, organized by connection of east part of Peter the Great ridge and Academy ridge. From the south this part of mountains is adjoined with northern sleeves of Garmo glacier». Before this publication he drew a new specified variant of the scheme on which he spends one ridge which he suggests to name «a ridge of Academy in honour of the Academy of sciences of the USSR instead of unit of ridges » on general meeting of the Central Asian department of Russian Geographical Society (2/25/1927). Thus the name laid down on Seltau ridge.
On ceremonial meeting in honour of 200-years anniversary of the Academy of sciences the German scientist, the researcher of Caucasus and Pamir mountains, the professor of the Viennese university William Rikmer-Rikmers suggested to carry out a joint Soviet-German expedition for final Pamir research. Expedition took place in 1928. Best scientific forces of young Soviet republic and the strongest geographers of Germany were involved in the expedition. The best climbers of both countries carried out some works.
The Soviet part of expedition, 33 persons was presented by known Pamir researchers. There were the Central Asian State University professor N.L. Korzhenevsky, astronomer of Pulkovskaja observatory J.I. Beljaev. There also were some scientists and climbers, whose names later became famous thanks to many geographical openings on Pamir, and in other areas of the country. Gorbunov, a colleague of V.I. Lenin, the future academician (ed.), carried out his assignments on a science, technique, culture; geologist D.I. Scherbakov (also the future academician - ed.); Geodesist K.V. Isakov, topographer P.G. Dorofeyev. N.V. Krylenko who held a post of the Supreme public prosecutor of RSFSR at that time, was the head of a climbing group. In structure of this group also were O.Ju. Schmidt, the future became the well known researcher of Arctic regions, the well-known mathematician, the astronomer, the geophysicist, state and the public figure, the academician, the Hero of Soviet Union. Together with men there was a climber E.F. Rozmirovich (the first wife of N. Krylenko, ed.). During the Great Domestic war she was the keeper of A.S. Pushkin’s, L. Tolstoy’s, M. Gorky’s heritage. V.A. Schneiderov supervised over a filming group. In structure of a German part of expedition there were an initiator of expedition Rikmer-Rikmers, and also the strongest climbers of that period Borhers, Alvein, Schneider, Win. There among many important geographical opening and height definitions of many peaks was defined a height of one peak in Academy of sciences ridge equal 7495 m. On the basis of these works maps of various scale were made both in Russian and in German languages. At a mutual consent the height of 7495 m was placed on them as Garmo Peak.
After opening of 1928 a significant «white spot» area still remained at Pamir. It extended along northwest part of Academy of sciences ridge. Three years later a new high-mountainous expedition under supervision of N.V. Krylenko came here. The task of the expedition seemed to be easy. They had to mark from the West reference points-heights already known from the east, to find out glaciers positions in relation with Academy of sciences ridge and with Garmo peak (7495 m) using certain astroitems. Neither N.V. Krylenko with climbers, nor I.G. Dorofeyev with topographers found out the Garmo peak.
Next year a group of N.V. Krylenko was borrowed again by searches of Garmo peak from the west. N.V. Krylenko again was guided the same way as the previous expedition, persistently avoiding searches of Garmo peak (7495 m) in the beginning of Garmo glacier.
The resume of imaginary «mystery of Garmo Unit» was brought by Gorbunov, the head of the Tadjik complex expedition of 1932. «In the center of this unit, on crossing of Peter the Great ridge and Academy of sciences ridge there is the inaccessible highest peak of our Union towering above sea level on 7500 m. This top was incorrectly accepted as Garmo peak. Researches of N.V. Krylenko group and A.V. Moskvin group from the west and N.P. Gorbunov group from the east established this mistake in 1932». Group of A.V. Moskvin in structure of the Tadjik complex expedition worked on glaciers of southern inflows of the Muksu river, including Fortambek in 1932.
Researches of A.V. Moskvin group in Pamir openings of the Soviet expeditions are especial. Geographical group of I.V. Krylenko as a part of the Tadjik complex expedition of 1932 was devided into two groups. One of them headed by Krylenko directed to a valley of the Garmo river, another one, under supervision of A.V. Moskvin (northern geological) should survey all left-bank gorges of the Muksu river and make a geological map of the area.
The huge area, which group of Moskvin had to research was the geographical «white spot » with no data about it. Topographer Ju.V. Walter, A.A. Soldatov and P.A. Traube collectors, B.I. Frid and V.D. Nedokladov climbers were in structure of A.V. Moskvin group. Only Moskvin and climbers were at high mountains conditions before. Probably, Alexander Veniaminovich reflected about forthcoming problems of the group much. There was a remote, absolutely uninspected mountain area with unknown glaciers and transcendental peaks. Fortambek was the most especial glacier. What stopped the previous researchers on a way to it? Absence of tracks? But local residents assured, that there was a way to Fortambek through Kuraj-Shapak pass which began from next Hodyrsha valley. But in the end of summer the way is dangerous and difficult, with lot of ice. Whether climbers can lay a way to the glacier? Or to pass along Muksu and to look for road at Fortambek gorge? But before it was necessary to make a map of Muksu inflows below Fortambek.
On August 17th, in the early morning northern geological group left Devsiar settlement. It was necessary to photograph Shegazy gorge. The summer came to the end and there was no time for supervision from the raised points. The theodolitic course with the purpose of the greatest review was laid in the middle of a valley. Slopes of a valley in parallel a course were surveyed simultaneously, the geological scheme was made. Some most important items on boards of a valley were marked by a theodolite on signals of geologists.
Jury Vladimirovich Walter, recollecting expedition years, told. «I was 23 years when I have got acquainted in Leningrad with the head of chemical laboratory of Physico Technical Institute (Ioffe, ed.), geochemist Alexander Veniaminovichem Moskvin. The geology was Alexander Veniaminovich's hobby, he was engaged in it during the periods of holidays and evenings after work. In Lesnoe where Alexander Veniaminovich lived, samples of rocks, bags and boxes with samples were kept, the microscope and the other equipment filled nearly all apartment. I very much was surprised, when Moskvin suggested me to take part in Pamir expedition as a topographer. I worked in Hyprovodtrans, was engaged in shooting of northern rivers, but had no concept about mountain shooting.
With assistance of N.V. Krylenko I was translated from Hyprovodtrans to geological group of the Tadjik expedition and got to Central Asia for the first time, moreover at once on «a white spot» of Pamir. To tell the truth, I was afraid, that I shall not work well though I prepared thoroughly. I read much, consulted with experts, familiarized with Pamir maps and publications of former years. But I was calmed by Alexander Veniaminovich. He assured me, that if theodolitic shooting will detain a geological inspection we shall pass on shooting with a compass». All was solved on a place. Walter and Traube topographers did not lag behind geologists, laying a continuous tool course from astroitems on the Muksu river, but also had time to do notches on neighboring tops. Shegazy, Tashlyk, Irgat, Sugran Valleys with two lateral glaciers Byrs and Shini-Bini were investigated completely. At Sugran researchers rose to Peter the Great ridge for the first time, it appeared that all the greatness and power of Pamir concentrated in its eternal-snow peaks. Whether trailblazers thought, what they will enter the heart of severe Pamir in some days?
After Sugran inspection the group divided. Because of lack of time Moskvin sent Soldatov and Nedokladov to go forward. They should pass by Fortambek gorge to Mushketov glacier and to Aju-Djilga, wherefrom they should try to find a way to Fortambek. The basic part of a group investigated Irgay and Hodyrsha gorges and on September, 19th reached a valley of the Fortambek river at its confluence to the Muksu river. A thin bridge of two poles with thin cross-beams and some flat stones above probably was built long time ago and nobody used it for many years. To pass it without a safety cord was simply dangerous. Having turned to Fortambek, the group entered little-used places. Inhabitants of small settlements near Muksu came there seldom because to dig a handful of gold sand or to kill an animal was possible closer to the house. There were no tracks. The edge of a coastal terrace breaked downwards where the rough stream hooted. Grey slopes were covered with rare yellows of grasses, not of a season the hot sun, blocks of backpacks. It was heavy beginning of a heavy way to a white spot. Soon the slope has rested against plumbs of insuperable rocks, somewhere there should be a stone bridge about which Kirghiz gold diggers told. They assured, that a gang of kur-bashi Azam gangsters, pressed by group of Red Army men to Fortambek canyon, has blown up the huge rock which has blocked gorge and has left from prosecution. But if the reader should see the bridge own eyes, he will doubt of force explosion. Most likely, the collapse occured as a result of the river coast washout , or as a result of earthquakes.
...Boris Fried was the first who stepped on a "bridge" with the insurance. It went slowly, cutting down small steps. Any careless movement threatened with serious trouble. When Fried overcame "bridge", Walter’s turn came. It recollects this episode so: «I bent around an acting boulder on the track done by Boris, nestling to it with all body. Also suddenly I felt, that my huge backpack with a theodolite draws me in a precipice. It took a boulder by both hands, and it easily moved from the jack. I lost balance and, probably, started to fall. But Alexander Veniaminovich did not confus and pressed me with the theodolite’s tripod to a rock. So we stood, being afraid to move. Boris Fried came to the aid, he took my hand and drew me on a safe place, and we safely got out on "bridge". Peter Traube got difficulties. He bore a bag with products, a rifle, and three-meter strip.
When at last we all have together gathered on other cost, we realized, that we safely got out from enough complex situation, and tried not to think about way back across this "bridge". After the "bridge" there was no track. We went through prickly thrickets of sea-buckthorn berries, through the dense willow interlacings subject only to an axe. Growth of trees decreased, and they grew already as huge pillows of an amazing emerald-green shade with celestial-blue cover on needles. The glacier began. Powerful ridges of a final moraine covered it with dirty cover. A stony hillsides with rare islands of a withered grass were around. Probably, there was a way to «Garmo unit» or to mysterious Aju-Djilga. It seemed, here were terrestrial life limits…
The valley widely opened. The small glacier opened with precise cut of pass in high part on the right. Kuraj-Shapak? Yes, it was the pass which mountaineers went to Fortambek occasionally. It was just one long transition from gorge Kuraj-Shapak up to this place. To the left from Kuraj-Shapak they saw a vast object with top disappeared in grey clouds. Evgenii Korzhenevskoj Peak? Yes, it was the top opened by N.L. Korzhenevsky. And what was the trapezoid top in gorge’s depth? On N.L.Korzhenevsky's scheme there was the huge octopus weaved feelers of ridges in this place. Walter wrote the next letter with which he designated tops in the field magazine. On named it with the letter «å». How many kilometers are up to top of? Whether is it probably to approach closer to it? The mountain panorama more widely swung open before trailblazers with each step. New powerful glacier with sources somewhere behind Evgenii Korzhenevskoj peak did not reach Fortambek. It looked like Fortambek to be the whole glacial system! A.V. Moskvin suggested to survey up to the end the basic glacier in the beginning, and then to rise on opened one.
They went on humps of a median moraine, continually broken with huge cracks. Soon the glacial labyrinth became so confused, that it was necessary to leave on the left board of a glacier. It seemed that in one more kilometer they will see the unknown peak with letter “e” behind peaked yellow-red top. But the glacier suddenly abruptly turned to the west, and behind yellow-red top there was two-kilometer height wall of plump rocks. Only in one place the wall of rocks interrupted, and in this break there was a big cascade glacier went down from a platform (Tramplinny glacier - a comment by editor). It broked not reaching a bottom, and there was a huge white cone formed by collapses of the ice cascade. From the West there were a platform (later named Pamirskoe firnovoe plateau - a comment by editor). Rested against a mountain ridge, new mighty tops rose there. But where was a top «å»?
Sources of Fortambek went to a pass saddle behind which Sugran or its inflows could lay. And how to be with top «å»? Probably, there are ways to it on that glacier what runs into Fortambek from the south-east? Whether forces and time will suffice to survey it? Products were on an outcome. There was no fire wood, and they could not prepare much on a spirit-lamp. Inventive Traube thought up an original way of preparation of concentrates from groats. For example, the buckwheat cereal prepares, then it is put on a stone where it dries up, and the concentrate is ready! If necessary it was filled in with boiled water and that was a dinner.
The summer was over. September. Nights were cold. What Moskvin thought about in tent blown through it when he processed the field magazine? Moskvin breathed on the cold hands, hid them under a sweater, warmed a little and again accepted to records. September, 20th. This day four of trailblazers were on a new glacier. After snow night when a snow covered all around, the sun was shining from amazingly dark blue sky, and scattered mirror patches of light everywhere. Each snowflake was as the small sun. The glacier shared on two sleeves. And the small group of only four was again broken to survey both glacial stream. Moskvin and Fried went to the east, Walter and Traube went to southern sleeve.
At 1974, after a forty-year break Ju.V. Walter again visited on Pamir and wrote: «…I recollected, how I stood near the theodolite at a final point of a forked glacier. Two tops - now it is Evgenii Korzhenevskoj peak and Communism peak - from two sides were shone on a background of the cloudless sky. Peter Traube stood in the distance on next picket with a strip. Somewhere behind a turn Alexander Veniaminovich and Boris Fried went, behind a ridge on Mushketov glacier Sasha Soldatov and Nedokladov were. Other groups of expedition ploughed glaciers of Pamir too. But here we were the first and alone... No, never in my memory this day arose so extremely precisely, as this morning in August, 1974 when I got again in these places thanks to Victor Timofeevichu Galkin. Thanks to him...».
The glacier where A.V. Moskvin went to, in the top part «passed to extensive firn fields up to cone-shaped top». This characteristic peak similar like the fallen asleep volcano, trailblazers named peak of Four. After difficult roads on unknown glaciers the four of researchers, which day by day had a half-starved ration, still had enough forces and courage to prolong not finished course at Turamys, that allowed to understand its position on a map in relation to Sugran system of glaciers. And then they united with Soldatov and Nedokladov to pass other glaciers to the east from Fortambek as Mushketov, Aju-Djilga, Borubash Glaciers.
Again back to Ju.V. Walter's memoirs. «In Leningrad at shooting processing I watched worrying, how the chain of a theodolitic course on a whatman paper turned from Muksu and went deep into Fortambek valley. It would be necessary to begin an overlay of notches on tops. What my delight was when notches to Evgenii Korzhenevskoj Peak laid down on peak very precisely. It proved, that the highway of a course is exact enough, and heights of the certain tops keep within admissible limits. And suddenly notches on peak «å» began to lay down on Garmo peak of a German map of 1928, and calculations of height of peak «å» to come nearer to «7500» value. Despite of late evening I threw an overlay and went to Moskvin. We sat together and looked at a tablet. Then again and again we compared shootings, descriptions, photoes. It was unexpectedness for us that we rested to German «Garmo».
Decision of Sovnarkom of the USSR ¹638 from 4.04.1933 was to organize new expedition to Pamir. Tadjiko-Pamirskaja expedition had to continue geographical researches in Peter the Great ridge. For this purpose an independent expedition of the Academy of sciences and the Society of proletarian tourism and excursions was organized. A.V. Moskvin group in structure of expedition continued topographical and geological works. They went a last year's way again, they went to both pass points under peak of Four. At last Fortambek’s pool and Aju-Djilga’s pool closed on a map orographically. It was found out, that Mushketov glacier and Fortambek’s pool are separated by file of Evgenii Korzhenevskoj peak, and it the top part of Mushketov glacier also incorporates with Aju-Djilga. So the sites on a map of all neighboring peaks were finally certain.
Thus, three cartographical leaves of Pamir were coordinated: western one (Klebelsberg’s, Beljaev’s, Dorofeyev’s shootings), east one (the Soviet-German expedition of 1928) and northern one (Walter's shootings of 1932 and 1933). Last stroke on «a white spot » was put when N.V. Krylenko with group rose to Shini-Bini glacier from Hodyrshy valley, bypassed the northern spurs of Peter the Great ridge up toSugran. V. Vorobjev also came there passed through a spur from Hodyrshy to Byrs. So geographical opening system of Fortambek glacier was completed.
Results of two-year-old work in this area A.V. Moskvin united in his work «The Geographical sketch of northeast slopes of Peter the Great ridge», issued in 1936. After the expedition of 1933 was over the names of the opened glaciers system of Fortambek river pool were approved under the offer of Pamir expedition heads N.P. Gorbunov, D.I. ShCherbakov and N.V. Krylenko. They received names of their pathbreakers: Moskvin's glacier, Walter's glacier, Traube’s glacier, Soldatov's glacier.
1933 became a year of end of Pamir expedition’s works ïàìèðñêèõ at Fortambek, and also a mark of the Soviet mountaneering history. On September 3rd, 1933 the lord of Pamir, the peak carrying today the name of Communism peak was obedient. The way to its top was laid from east side. The part of a route, namely, from height of 7300 m lays on border of Fortambek’s pool. It is impossible not to not tell about a remarkable episode of a peak conquest.
So, September 1933. This day events in the 33rd group of Tadjiko-Pamir expedition which task was to climb at height «7495» reached the culmination moment. A long storm, a bad weather, technical difficulties and limiting height fairly affected on climbers. The climber Nikolaev and porter Dzhambaj Irale were lost during storm preparation. Some strong climbers refused to rise and stayed in the bottom camp, at height of 6400 m Tzak, Shiyanov and the injured Guschin stopped rising and went downwards. Getje halfminded laid in tent in assault camp at height of 6900 m. Only two went to the top, there were a young climber Evgenie Abalakov and the head of group Nikolay Petrovich Gorbunov.
The last two hundred meters. Forces leave Gorbunov, it does last efforts, but overcomes only ten meters up to a snow shoulder. He lowered on a snow and waved with a hand to Abalakov stopped ahead. He waited for some seconds êîëåáëåòñÿ: «To return? And top? – it’s close!.. And the grown weak comrade on a snow...». But Gorbunov waved again with his hand: «Go, go forward!». And Àáàëàêîâ does a step to top, - the thin crust of a snow surface breaks under his weight. Abalakov accelerated a step, and then stopped because height knocked in temples and breath got off. But he does again a step, then more and more - there is no end of rise… At last, a plate of rocks. Really top? Àáàëàêîâ lays down on hardly tepid, wonderful stones. Pamir - the country of mountains, glaciers and legends was at its legs, legs of the first person who towered above the maximum point of Pamir!
P.S. If to address to history of world mountaneering E.M. Abalakova's achievement becomes rather significant. Up to the moment only four seventhousand peaks on the planet were subdued in spite of the fact that at the highest top of the world to Chomolungma the boundary of eight thousand was reached.
In summary I would like to tell about the further destiny of Fortambek trailblazers. Unfortunately, it was possible to track not all vital routes until today. So, the destiny of B. Fried and Nedokladov are unknown. The life of Tashkent citizen Alexander Soldatov (the photo is printed for the first time) terminated tragically: it was lost from a knife of the hooligan, when interceded at night for the stranger. Its name was given to a glacier beginning from southern slopes of Evgenii Korzhenevskoj peak. His son Gennady was lost at climbing to Pobeda peak. Peter Traube (the photo is printed for the first time) was lost on the Leningrad front, protecting native city from fascist aggressors1/. Alexander Veniaminovich Moskvin continued geological researches at Pamiro-Alay after expeditions to Pamir. War found him in Leningrad where spend some time, and then he was evacuated to Moscow. By the way, the geology never was A.V. Moskvin's trade. He is widely known to a world physical science as the professor, the largest expert in helium optics. A.V. Moskvin lived till 78 years in Leningrad where he died on March, 2nd, 1974.