Gender in détente and disaster. Women climbers in the Soviet International Pamir Camp 1974

Maurer, Eva (2020). Gender in détente and disaster. Women climbers in the Soviet International Pamir Camp 1974. International Journal of the History of Sport, 37(9), pp. 748-770. Routledge 10.1080/09523367.2020.1722644

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In the summer of 1974, the Soviet Union first opened its borders to a large number of climbers from the west. In a special camp in the Soviet Pamir mountains, climbers from ten different Western nations, were to climb and live side by side with each other and with Soviet and Polish climbers nearby. Inscribed in the context of political détente, the Pamir camp allowed for more cultural contact across the Cold War divides. It can thus be seen as a microcosm of different climbing communities, sometimes overcoming, but sometimes also divided by the lines of nationality, language, political system, and last but not least by gender. From the camp, two all-women groups attempted to reach Pik Lenin: a Soviet team of eight women led by El’vira Shataeva, and a mixed international women’s team composed of the Swiss Heidi Lüdi and Eva Isenschmid and the American Arlene Blum. Their attempts ended with the tragic death of all eight Soviet women and of Eva Isenschmid. This article looks at the camp as an intersectional place between political systems and gendered climbing by analyzing and comparing the women's climbing biographies, their interaction and the interpretations their all-women climbing parties were attributed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


13 Central Units > Administrative Director's Office > University Library of Bern

UniBE Contributor:

Maurer, Eva


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment
900 History > 910 Geography & travel
900 History > 940 History of Europe
900 History > 950 History of Asia








Eva Maurer

Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2020 09:06

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:36

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Mountaineering Alpinismus Pamir




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