Early reports are in that Alexey Bolotov, has died near Camp 1 in the Western CWM. He was climbing with Denis Urubko on a new route on SW Face.
It appears he was climbing towards the West Ridge but his body was reported to have been found near the top of the Khumbu Icefall at 5600m. Details are always difficult at this point but we have this direct quote from Denis Urubko as he told mountain.ru this:
I do not know how to write this. 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.
from Tim Rippel, Peak Freaks:
Alexi died at the base of a potential new route. He had apparently taken a helicopter over to an area as a reconnaissance. When the pilot went back to get him he was found dead on the glacier. He wasn’t actually climbing so they don’t know if it was rock fall or what happened. Other reports said something about a severed rope but facts are all unclear at this time.
The details remain unclear as his body was reported to have been found at 5600m/18,362′, but the base of the SW Face is near Camp 2 at 21,000′/6400m and not near the top of the Khumbu Icefall. In prior interviews they had said the new route would start at 6500 meters on the SW Face. They were planning on climbing alpine style. The last update had them starting their summit climb planning on 8 days up and 2 days down.
The Nepal Mountaineering Association made this statement:
Aleksle Bolotov (50), a Russian dies on Everest – 15 may
A Russian climber names Aleksle Bolotov was crushed to death by a falling boulder while he was undergoing rock climbing training in the Everest region on Wednesday morning. He was killed after he was hit by a boulder rolling down the hill. He was heading to Mt Lhotse’s base camp from the Everest base camp to partake in the rock-climbing training this morning. Mr. Bolotov was a member of the International Everest South West Expedition team that is on the expedition of Mt Lhotse.
I am sure details will come out over time and there is no need to speculate further. My condolences to his family, Denis and friends.
With this sad backdrop, teams continued to make their way higher positioning for summit bids. The latest forecast has the ‘window’ between May 18th – 21st.
The North teams have been patiently waiting but are now massing at Advanced Base Camp preparing for their summit push at the end of this week.
On the South, The US Air Force group climbed back to Camp 2 and reported calm winds but extremely hot in the Western Cwm. The Indian team from Pune made are now at the South Col as is Melissa Arnot.
Winds were still a bit high on the upper mountain but are expected to begin calming tonight as the jet stream moves north. Some teams may attempt their summit tonight, Wednesday.
Alpine Ascents are now at Camp 3 and gave this update:
The Team left camp 2 at 6am this morning with clear skies and crisp cold weather. They made good time up the Lhotse Face and have arrived safely in Camp 3. They report consistent winds up on the Lhotse Face with some stronger gusts, but nothing unmanageable. The climbers will spend the rest of the day eating, drinking, and relaxing as best they can on the side of the face. They will sleep on oxygen tonight for the first time which will help them get good rest before they push to the South Col tomorrow.
The are still many teams at Base Camp waiting for the next window. Adventure Consultants posted:
Today is the Lhotse Team’s last day at EBC before heading up for the big summit, and the Everest Team have one more day at Base Camp (tomorrow) before they head up. NOW everyone is beginning to get really excited. Lots has been happening, not at our base camp so much, but with people from other expeditions summitting in high and cold winds, a few having to turn around near the Hillary Step, few frostbite cases…
I will update this page later today as more news emerges. Meanwhile look for potential summits tonight.
There are 35 climbers reported at the South Col on Wednesday night. Winds were moderate but we can assume many will go for the summit arriving early Thursday morning, May 16.
Memories are Everything