I have been an avid mountain climber since 1952.

This shot of myself was made in 1954, on the slopes of Yakum mountain, Gissar mountain range, Pamiro-Alai area, Central Asia.

When I lived in the former USSR, I had climbed over 200 peaks in Pamir, Pamiro-Alai, Tien-Shan, and Caucasus. I had also been an instructor of mountaineering. This used to be my second profession, in addition to being a scientist and university Professor.

I had also been a rock climber, in particular in Siberia, where in 1961-1963 I often went into the Siberian forest, the so called "taiga," to climb the famous "Stolby", which are beautiful rocks of various shapes and heights, not far from the city of Krasnoyarsk. The word "Stolby" literally means "poles" or "columns". Some of them are relatively easy to climb, while others are among the most difficult in the world. From the summit of each "Stolb" a breathtaking view opens of endless forests, with a multitude of colored rocks of fantastic shapes protruding from among tall cedars and pines, while a cool wind whispers in the trees' tops.

To be a mountain climber one has to keep very much in shape, as mountain climbing is the most taxing activity, both physically and mentally.

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