Soviet, U.S. Climbers Reach Mountain Summit to Mark Goodwill Games
Jul. 23, 1990
SEATTLE (AP) _ A team of eight U.S. and Soviet climbers unfurled national flags and peace banners atop Mount Rainier before completing Sunday the first of four climbs in honor of the Goodwill Games.
The team reached the 14,410-foot summit at about 10 a.m. Saturday, the day of opening ceremonies in Seattle for the Olympics-style athletics competition, said Bryan Rozewski, one of the American climbers.
The team carried flags from each country, Goodwill Games banners and a memorial wreath for 40 Soviet climbers who died in an avalanche last week on Peak Lenin in Soviet Central Asia, Rozewski said.
They also unrolled a banner that said ''Peace'' and its Russian equivalent, ''Mir.'' Team members stayed at the summit for about seven hours, enjoying the view and napping on rocks, Rozewski said.
They began climbing the state's highest peak Friday and stayed at a base camp 9,510 feet up on Friday and Saturday nights.
''It was fun when we got to the top,'' Rozewski, 28, of Seattle, said from a celebration party. ''There was a lot of energy. Everybody wanted to pick up a flag and wave it.''
The climb was led by Paul S. McKinney, 32, of Seattle, a Mount Rainier veteran who also has scaled the other major peaks in the state, Rozewski said.
Other U.S. climbers were David Lewis, 28, and Don Mason, 32, both from Seattle.
Two other Americans joined them at the top but were not official members of the expedition.
The Soviet group was led by Andrei Rozkov, 29, and included Alex Slutjuk, 28, Vassily Elagin, 37, and Irina Miller, 35, all of Moscow.
Rozewski said the climb was sponsored by the Mir Corporation, a Seattle- based firm which organizes U.S.-Soviet exchanges, and Profsport, a Soviet sports organization.
The Soviets plan to join other American mountaineers and climb three more Washington peaks later this week, Rozewski said.
Just hours after the Rainier climb was completed, the mountaineers headed south to the 8,364-foot Mount St. Helens, an active volcano that erupted in 1980. That ascent will begin Monday.
Climbs are also planned for Wednesday up 9,415-foot Mount Stuart and Friday up 5,979-foot Mount Index, two peaks in the Cascade range.
''They want to try and climb all the mountains here they can,'' Rozewski said.
The visit by the Soviet climbers is one of several international exchanges being held in conjunction with the games, which run through Aug. 5.
Rozewski said the Soviets are experienced mountaineers, while most of the American participants were recreational climbers and relatively inexperienced.
The Americans, linked by ropes during much of the expedition, took about seven hours to complete the final leg of the climb, while the Soviets, who climbed separately, took only four hours, he said.
''They had more stamina than we did,'' he said.