Everest 2013 | "Alex Bolotov died today morning on Khumbu icefall at 5600m"

 "Alex Bolotov died today morning on Khumbu icefall at 5600m" - tweeted Russianclimb a while ago.

Update-1: 15-May-2013 1630Hrs PST
Inquirer News shares some more details:-
Alex Bolotov was found dead on Wednesday morning at Khumbu Icefall at 5,600 meters (18,372 feet), the official told AFP by telephone from Everest base camp.
“He seems to have left his tent at around three in the morning. When his Sherpa went looking for him, his dead body was found in the Khumbu Icefall” at the head of the Khumbu Glacier, government official Gyanendra Shrestha said.

Update-2: 15-May-2013 1655Hrs PST
And according to news, Alex died after suffering a terrifying fall because of his rope break at 5600 meters. Denis says. "I do not know how to convey this ... today May 15 at 5:00, Alexey Bolotov going to descend on a rope ... on the edge of a sharp rock has frayed, and Alexei fell 300m down a ravine filled rock ... death was instantaneous."

Update-3: 15-May-2013 1755Hrs PST
Denis' Message on mountain.ru

Denis Urubko: "I do not know how to write this.
May 15, 2013 at 05.00 Alexey Bolotov to descend on a rope. 
Due to scroll on a sharp rock edge frayed rope. 
Bolotov fell on the rocky gully to a depth of about 300 meters. 
Death was instantaneous.
Condolences to the family and friends, and everyone who knew Alexis.
I'm sorry ... "
Oh, Alexei, Alexei, how so?

Update-4: 16-May-2013 0940Hrs PST
It's still unknown what exactly happened up there; whether it was a rope break, stone fall or a sliding boulder.

Update-5: 16-May-2013 0950Hrs PST
Alexey Bolotov's body still stays in place, where the unfortunate incident took place. Simone Moro hoped flying to BC with his Fishtailair helicopter, this morning.
Montagna TV reporteat, "Helicopter probably will be taken pretty close to the body of Bolotov, taking into account, however, the dangers of Wall subject to discharge."

Weather seems to have denied the heli-flight to EBC this morning.
Russianclimb tweeted a while ago that, "Denis Urubko is still in BC, preparing to airlifting Alex's body. The weather's bad, no heli in BC in morning"

Update-6: 16-May-2013 1110Hrs PST
Strange ... very strange.
"Alexey perhaps had gone on that side of the glacier to take photographs." - Simone Moro
Apparently the incident happened well before the start of new route attempt and Denis Urubko was not with Alex.

Update-7: 16-May-2013 1435Hrs PST
"The body of Alexey Bolotov has been recovered; arrived in Lukla and will be in Kathmandu in an hour." Cho Oyu Trekking representative Beni Maiya Hyoju told Montagna TV, about one hour ago. Denis Urubko is also accompanying the body to Kathmandu.
No exact details yet.

Update-8: 17-May-2013 1530Hrs PST
Yesterday, weather around Everest BC area was not clear in early hours of the day and helicopter flight was delayed. Once conditions improved, pilots Simone Moro and Maurizio Folini flew to BC and went on to incident site with Denis Urbko, Lakpa Sherpa and Damien Benegas. After recovering the body, Moro, Urubko and Folini brought him to Kathmandu. Now the Russian ambassador is working to take Alex back to home.
"Denis is better, today. Being involved in the recovery has definitely helped. In any case, he will fly back to Moscow in a few days, where he lives with his wife and daughter who is 3 months old. And where he will find the daughter of Alexey." - told Simone Moro.

Images of recovery operation, posted at mountain.ru.

Demian and Lakpa under the wall; image source: mountain.ru
Demian and Lakpa under the wall; image source: mountain.ru

Flying back; image source: mountain.ru

Update-9: 19-May-2013 0600Hrs PST
Body of Alexey would be taken to Moscow today, and then to his hometown Ekaterinburg in the evening.
As per mountain.ru, funeral details will be announced later.


News of Alex's unfortunate demise is not just tragic but shocking. I was expecting to see him at the summit in a matter of few days. But as they say, death is inevitable. May his departed soul Rest In Peace. He would always be remember for his daring climbs and selfless rescue efforts.

Below is the post I drafted about Alex and Denis' climb earlier today (15th May).

If everything goes as per plan, (Alexey) Bolotov and I will leave Base Camp early in the morning on 15th May”, wrote Denis Urubko.

After several rounds of acclimatization on Southeast ridge route, Russian duo went down to Deboche village for some rest in green-zone. Now they are back for the final attack on the Southwest Face via a new route and it would be in pure alpine style once they rise above Western Cwm (at around 6550m). They would be negotiating an extremely challenging section Rock Band (at 8200m-8400m), which also marks “a point of no return”. After reaching the summit, the duo intends to descend via standard Southeast ridge route. (Read full details about route here.)

The Route; Photo Simone Moro

Russianclimb shared a rough sketch of their climbing schedule, “Denis and Alex are planning 8 days ascent and 2 days descent. But they take food only for 6 days”. Major reason behind taking only 6 days food seems the weight of their backpacks. Also, they would not be carrying any communication equipment to go light weight, but their progress can be observed from C2 if weather is clear.

How does a premium mountaineer feel before a starting a challenging climb? - Denis shared his candid sentiments a couple of days ago, which can be read here.

Alex and Denis before the start of expedition; Image: Russianclimb.com

Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner, the man who changed the course of altitude climbing in Himalayas, thinks Everest is no longer the same. But at the same time, he seems pleased with efforts of climbers like Denis and Alex. In a recent interview he said,

“Just now two very good climbers are trying to climb a new route in the Southwest Face. Which is very difficult in the upper part. If they are successful in Alpine style, I would be the first to congratulate.”

Reinhold Messner (right) recently visited Everest BC; Source

New route attempts on Everest are limited. There have been only two successful new route climbs in the past decade (2004 Russians/Uzbek and 2009 Koreans). This year two teams were going for new routes, but unfortunately, the C2 attack incident thwarted the ‘different’ route expedition of Simone Moro and Ueli Steck. Weather Forecast predicts a week long summit window starting from 17th May. During this period hundreds of climbers are expected to reach summit via standard routes. Denis Urubko, who was previously belonged to Kazakhstan, has become a Russian citizen now.

Alpine style can be defined as “no porters, no ropes & camps set up in advance, and no supplementary oxygen”.

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