A highly anticipated attempt to climb a new route on Everest ended in tragedy Wednesday morning when Russian climber Alexey Bolotov fell to his death.
According to a dispatch by his climbing partner Denis Urubko on Mountain.ru (Google translated from the Russian), Bolotov’s rope was frayed by a sharp rock and broke, sending him 1,000 feet down into a rocky ravine at the notoriously deadly Khumbu Icefall at 5,600 meters (18,372 feet). The Sherpa assisting them discovered his body after a search, a Nepalese official told Agence France-Presse.
Bolotov and Urubko were about to begin their ten-day alpine-style ascent up a new line on Everest’s sheer Southwest Face. The Russian-Kazakh duo was one of two teams trying new routes this year. The other attempt, by Simone Moro, Ueli Steck and Jon Griffith ended in a confusing brawl with Sherpas at 7,200 meters during which the climbers’ lives were reportedly threatened and they fled.
Bolotov, 50, was one of the world’s top mountain climbers. He had twice ascended Everest, once without oxygen, and had climbed on two Piolet d’Or-winning teams for ascents of Makalu and Jannu.
Bolotov is survived by his wife and two children.