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Khan-Tengri Peak is 6995 meters!


Oftener and oftener newspapers, magazines, badges, pennants etc. indicate the height of Peak Khan Tengri - 7,010 meters. It is clear that the international alpinist camp leaders in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan want to enlarge the active of mountains over 7,000 meters high for ascending the mountain by foreign clients. But the truth is more important!

V. Racek (Vice President of the Geographical Society of Uzbekistan) in the newspaper “Pravdists” on 04th September, 1974, wrote: «...August 29 last year, “Pravda” reports that “Khan Tengri became higher.” To such a sensational conclusion the newspaper arrives on the assumption that the altimeter of Krasnoyarsk climbers had shown at the top of Khan Tengri 7,010 meters. It really could be, but any results of the altimeter require amendments to the barometric pressure, air temperature, otherwise the results couldn’t be reliable. “Old” height of Khan Tengri - 6995 m was obtained by geodetic measurements, and so far no one was in doubt».

In 1975 a physical map of the Soviet Union was published. At the request of V. Racek on March 30, 1976 a letter was sent:

«To the Deputy Chief of Geodesy and Cartography under the Council of Ministers of USSR, Comrade Ovchinnikov L.V.

Direction of Applied Sports Committee asks for a document confirming the actual height of Peak Khan Tengri (Tien Shan). In the physical map of the Soviet Union (1:8000000), compiled and prepared for publication in 1975 (ed. N. Fedotova), the height of Khan Tengri (index E-6) is 7,010 meters. Earlier on the maps of the Soviet Union and on the foreign maps the height was 6995m. For alpinist sport, where the exact zonality plays a crucial role, the official document of the actual height of Khan Tengri is absolutely necessary. State alpinist coach of USSR, V.Shataev».

In the letter from the Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography of USSR on May 10, 1976 № 2-472 is reported:

«To the state alpinist coach of USSR, V.Shataev. At Your № 07-11 on March 30, 1976. The height of Peak Khan Tengri is changed according to the newspaper “Pravda” 29.08.1973, where it was reported, that “… beside the victory over one of the highest peaks in Asia,  the climbers made a correction in the geographic atlases: the height of Khan Tengri  is 7010 m, on 15 m higher than it was considered earlier. Head of the Cartographic Service, V. Tochenov».

On this letter V. Racek sent to a Mountaineering Federation of the Soviet Union the following letter: «With regard to the letter I can only express regret, the cartographical service misleads not only you, but also numerous readers of a physical map of USSR, 1:8000000, published in 1975. To clarify the previously adopted height more accurate method should have been used. Determination of the new altitude was made with the help of equipment, that couldn’t be considered more accurate than previous one. Unfortunately, the comrades of GUGK hadn’t thought about that. Sincerely, V. Racek ».

In 1996, Eugene Gippenreiter at London's mountaineering conference read the story of the emergence of a new height of Khan Tengri. Hysterical laughter lasted for 15 minutes!

Material was prepared by Vladimir Shataev, this article is published in the magazine “Risk” # 1, 2001


“Khan Tengri - 7010m?”

Some facts: In 1886 Ignatiev I.V. defined the height of Khan Tengri -7,320 m, Sapozhnikov V.V. in 1902 - 6950 m, G. Merzbacher in 1903 - 7200 m, surveyors of the Turkestan Military District in 1912 - 6992 m and finally, in 1943, large topographic measurements led to the conclusion that Khan Tengri is 6995 and to the "discovery" of Victory peak, that rises to a height of 7439 m.

Gennady Starikov, Risk#2, magazine, 2001, page 28