The oldest climber in Ukraine Ivan Kashyn is 100 years old! More than 60 of them - together with Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute

The Kyiv House of Scientists honored the 100th anniversary of the climber Ivan Kashyn and presented him with a certificate from the National Register of Records of Ukraine in the nomination "The oldest climber in Ukraine". The outstanding athlete, coach, and legend of Ukrainian sports worked at Kyiv Polytechnic from 1959 to 2023.

Ivan Andriyovych's whole life was connected with sports. He was a prize-winner and winner of the USSR and Ukrainian SSR championships, a master of sports in mountaineering, a great acrobat and gymnast. The veteran has a long and difficult professional and life path, thousands of students and followers. On Saturday, January 20, 2024, at the Kyiv House of Scientists, the jubilee was generous with smiles and communicated naturally with the guests. He enthusiastically told stories from his sporting past, with the same sparkle in his eyes that his students and colleagues remember from the day they gathered to congratulate him. Together they watched movies and photos from the past - the key one, of course, was a photo with a handstand against the backdrop of Mount Elbrus. Ivan Andriyovych said that it was his specialty - he did it on every peak. And how did he get to those peaks?

A boy from the neighborhood. Ivan Kashyn was born in Kyiv on January 18, 1924, into a working-class family. In 1941, he graduated from the 9th grade of the 71st school. In the summer he worked on the construction of defensive lines on the outskirts of Kyiv. Until 1945, he stayed in the city, neither working nor studying (according to the version published in the time of independence, he was taken to Germany for forced labor, and after returning he kept this fact quiet for fear of reprisals, for the same reason he could not enter leading universities, and later - go to international competitions). 

In 1945, he graduated from the preparatory department at the Kyiv Hydromelioration Institute, where he entered the university (according to another version, he completed preparatory courses at the KPI). The following year, he transferred to the Kyiv Institute of Physical Education, graduating in 1950, and was sent to work at the Vinnytsia Medical Institute at the Department of Physical Education. Later he transferred to Kyiv Medical Institute and moved to Kyiv. Since 1959, he has been working at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, with breaks for recovery and treatment after injuries, until 2023. 

The KPI archive has a characterization dated 1972: "I.A. Kashyn proved to be a qualified teacher who is well versed in the methodology of conducting practical classes. He trained several dozen athletes, including: candidates for master of sports - 3, athletes of the 1st category - 29, 2nd - 67, 3rd - 129, youth category - 187, instructors on a voluntary basis - 89, sports judges - 77. He is a coach of national teams in acrobatics and mountaineering, which under his leadership have repeatedly won prizes at city and republican competitions. 

In winter and summer, he organizes and conducts training camps in skiing and climbing in the Carpathians and the Caucasus. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the USSR, together with a group of KPI climbers, he climbed Kazbek (a five-thousand meter peak in the Caucasus) and installed the KPI sports club pennant there." 

He is in love with the mountains. Ivan Andriyovych gladly tells about his first acquaintance with the mountains: "At the Institute of Physical Education, I studied gymnastics and acrobatics. I trained together with Volodymyr Monoharov, and with him I got to the Caucasus in 1947. First, they traveled to Kharkiv, then on the roofs of freight cars to Rostov and Nalchik. From there, they traveled by "one-and-a-half" (as a 1.5-ton truck was called), clearing away rubble along the way. 

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The Ukrainian school of mountaineering instructors (one military tent), headed by Mykhailo Pogrebetsky, was located in the Adyl-Su Gorge. Mykhailo Tymofiyovych was much older than us, he had served in the army before the revolution and was an officer. He was known as a researcher of "white spots" in the Tien Shan. For the night, we were given trench bags (trophy ammunition - a cotton bag with straps, lined with waterproof fabric at the bottom, designed to fight while standing in a trench). They had no sports equipment or clothing: instead of backpacks, they wore ordinary sacks with straps, their clothes were sweatshirts, and their shoes were work boots. But I fell in love with the mountains for life, they are amazing." 

V.D. Monoharov, who headed the Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing of Ukraine for thirty years, also recalls that period in his book "The Peaks of My Life": "Vanya and I came to mountaineering together. He is a strong athlete - an acrobat, calm, balanced and reliable. He has a great sense of humor. Vanya peacefully resolved acute issues in the most heated disputes. I always listened to Kashin's opinion on any issue."

Peaks. Ivan Kashyn was obsessed with mountains: "Mountains are something special. When you get to the top, it's so quiet there that you're afraid to move. It feels as if the Lord himself is watching you." He is a member of Volodymyr Monoharov's star team Avangard, which in 1961 became the champion of the USSR after traversing the Bezengi wall in the Caucasus. It was the first Ukrainian team to become a champion. Ivan Andriyovych was injured, with broken ribs, because during the preparation of the route he fell into a cone-shaped crack and made incredible efforts to get out of it on his own. There were 2 weeks left before the start of the assault on the 5 peaks. During this time, he recovered and went with the team.

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The peaks in his life are countless. In 1962, he became a bronze medalist after the first ascent of 5B to Shchurovsky Peak. Champion of Ukraine in 1962 in the high-altitude class for climbing Abu Ali ibn Sina Peak (Lenin Peak) from the south, three times silver medalist of the 1959-1960 Ukrainian championships for climbing the peaks of Ullutau, Shchurovsky, Karakai, and so on and so forth... 

From his memoirs. Ivan Kashyn: "I remember Vitalii Abalakov came to our camp. He would bring his experimental climbing equipment, ask us what we thought, and offer to try it out. I remember the traverse of the Bezengia Wall peaks in 1961, because it was already high and we had to walk with a heavy backpack for many days. Then, on the crest of the Dichtau peak, we found a note from his brother Yevhen on the tour. It was dated 1938. V. Monoharov then sent this note to Vitalii Abalakov in Moscow. 

I remember well Lenin Peak, which was climbed by all 38 participants. It was the first high-altitude ascent by Ukrainian climbers under the leadership of V. Monoharov, and no one else has repeated it. The climb was hard and exhausting, the altitude was affecting me, but at the top I did a handstand (I was doing acrobatics and gymnastics at the time and could do a double flip). But the most technically difficult and unforgettable peak for me is Ushba."

Members of the Globus hiking club: "In the 1980s, in the Globus (KPI camp in the Caucasus), we used to say: look, this small, always smiling guy with a slight limp due to a serious injury is our chief rescuer Kashyn, he is incredibly cool and the first to run to the rescue, he is a master of sports and a living legend of mountaineering. And they quietly told a story about how he allegedly flew off the wall of Ushba because of some incomprehensible story with a carabiner. And miraculously, he stayed aloft by grabbing the rope with his bare hands, stripping the meat to the bone, and he was as agile as a cat because he was a gymnast."

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"The word "mountaineering" carried a mystical and heroic meaning for me, an 18-year-old. And in my youthful imagination, the masters of this sport had to be tall, broad-shouldered athletes with their heads proudly raised and their eyes directed toward the snowy peaks. Ivan Andriyovych, who was stocky and small in stature, destroyed all the stereotypes that existed in my head. I look at a photo of him doing a handstand against the backdrop of Elbrus. He did the same handstand on Lenin Peak in 1962. At the top of 7134 meters. Where the majority of mountain climbers just want to lie down in a layer with their breathing intermittent due to lack of oxygen."        

Unbreakable. Only after his last serious injury in a car accident, from which Ivan Andriyovych barely recovered, did he "betray" his passion. But he still dreams about the mountains: "I take my backpack, rope, hooks, and go, and then you wake up and your heart is full." But despite all his injuries, which he had many during his life, and all the hardships that fate threw at him, Ivan Andriyovych smilingly steps forward and reminds us all that we should always move, never give up, and be optimistic and hope for the best. We wish this incredible man health, happiness and long life. You are an example. For everyone. No doubt about it.

Н. Liebert, V. Mikhailenko

Ivan Andriiovych Kashyn is a coach of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, master of sports in mountaineering, candidate for master of sports in acrobatics, gymnast. Champion and prize-winner of the USSR and Ukrainian SSR mountaineering championships.

Ivan Andriyovych has a certificate from the National Register of Records of Ukraine in the nomination "The Oldest Mountaineer of Ukraine".

Since 1958, he has worked as a coach at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, and since 2009 as a training master.

He survived the Second World War and the Holodomor. He still does exercises every morning.

Despite the many injuries he has suffered in his long life, all the hardships that fate has thrown at him, Ivan Andriyovych smilingly steps forward and reminds us that we should always find time to move, and most importantly, never give up.

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