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Alexey Bolotov died in Khumbu Icefall

Posted: May 15, 2013 12:09 pm EDT

(By Raheel Adnan) "Alex Bolotov died this morning in Khumbu icefall at 5600m [18,372 feet]," tweeted
Russian Climb on May 15.

A Nepalese government official, Gyanendra Shrestha, told AFP, Bolotov 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.

Details suggest that Alexey has died after suffering a terrifying fall because of his rope broke at a height of 5600m. According to Maountain.ru Denis Urubko said [Google translated], "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 it has frayed, and Alexey fell 300m down a ravine filled with rock ... death was instantaneous."

Climbing plan

After several rounds of acclimatization on Southeast ridge route, Alexey and team mate Denis Urubko went down to Deboche village for some rest in green-zone. Urubko reported “If everything goes as per plan, Bolotov and I will leave Base Camp early in the morning on 15th May.” They were to attempt their 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 about 6550m).

They would have been negotiating an extremely challenging section, Rock Band (at 8200m-8400m), which also marks “a point of no return”. After reaching the summit, the duo intended to descend via standard Southeast ridge route. (Read full details about route here.

Russian Climb shared a rough sketch of their intended climbing schedule, “Denis and Alex are planning 8 days ascent and 2 days descent. But they take food only for 6 days”. The major reason behind taking only 6 days food seems the weight of their backpacks. Also, they would not have been carrying any communication equipment to go light weight, but their progress could have been observed from C2 in clear weather.


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.

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 the first to congratulate.”

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”.

Based in Lahore, Pakistan telecom engineer and mountaineering enthusiast Raheel Adnan is contributing reporter for ExplorersWeb's mountaineering sections. He shares regular updates on Twitter and runs his own blog at AltitudePakistan posting initiated climbing news from Himalaya and Karakoram

Mount Everest attack: Denis Urubko sounds off

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Alexey (50), while acclimatizing at Deboche village.
Image by Denis Urubko courtesy Denis Urubko, SOURCE
Alexey Bolotov and Denis Urubko before they left on this expedition.