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Last updated- 08/03/2003
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50 Years of Climbing Competitions in Russia (1947-1997)

Alexander Piratinsky, Vice-President ICC and Prof. at Ural State Technical University


Opening ceremony of the Trade Union Championship, Yalta, 1966

The world first official climbing competitions with the program, regulations, rules and prizes announced in advance, were organized by Ivan Antonovich for the mountain guides in the summer of 1947 on the rocks of Dombai (West Caucasus).

The guides had to pass 2 routes of individual climbing. One route was ascending-descending and the second was a 30-m traverse on a low height. The time of passing every route decided on the result. The competitions were witnessed by large numbers of spectators.

Since 1949 a climbing competition settled in Krasnoyarsk Stolby in Siberia where since late XIX century climbing pillars were popular. The competitions for the Evgeny Abalakov Prize took place there every year from 1964 to the present time. He was the first who climbed solo Peak Stalin in the Pamir, 7495 m, now Peak Communism.

At the beginning of the 50s. climbing competitions continued their development. Since 1952 judge categories began to be awarded. Judge courses were held annually by the All-Union committee of Physical Training and Sport Affairs. The number of popular competitions of climbers became considerably higher.

Training and climbing competitions were held not only at natural rocks. Climbers used the walls of buildings, other building constructions, trees and etc. So in Moscow Palace of Tsaritsyno, now destroyed, was very popular. It became clear that competitions stopped playing a subsidiary role and turned into an independent action sport. A lot of experience was contained in I. Antonovich's book „Climbing competition" in 1955. The first Championship of the USSR took place in Crimea in autumn 1955. Mountaineers from Moscow, Leningrad (now S. Petersburg), Georgia, Armenia, Krasnoyarsk, Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg), Osetia, Dagestan and some other regions took part in the competitions.

After these competitions there was a 10-year-long break in holding Championships of the USSR. Trade Unions took the initiative and in 1956 they held their 5th championship, and they were held regularly till 1984.

    
  Mikhail Khergiani


Beginning in 1959 the rock Olympus has witnessed the star of a legendary „Mountain Tiger" from mountainous Svanetiya (Georgia), M. Khergiani.

Mikhail repeatedly became the champion of major climbing competitions.
The title of „Mountain Tiger" was given to him in Great Britain, where he amazed local mountaineers by his ability of climbing quickly on difficult rocks.

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