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Bulgarian National Everest Expedition - 1984


Everest West Ridge and Traverse: (cont.)

 

April 20 was splendid but cold.
At 5:45 A. M. Prodanov and Ringie started for the summit without oxygen The Sherpa felt the technical difficulties were too great and returned to Camp 4. Prodanov, who had many fine solo climbs, including Lhotse (April 30, 1981) continued alone.  At 11:10 he radioed Base Camp and said he was at 8500 meters.

Everest from the southwest –

photo by Nikolay Petkov


At 6:10 P.M. he called a second time to announce that he had reached the summit where he found a pyramid of empty oxygen bottles left by the Soviet mountaineers and the red flag.  He tore some small fragments off the flag and like the first Russian climbers, he left his 8-mm camera to be used by the teams who would climb later to the summit.

He was the sixth man to climb Everest solo [depending on how one defines solo], the 13th without oxygen and the eight to climb the west ridge (59 ascent, 159th climber on the top). He remained on the summit for a half hour and began the descent down the west ridge proper, which had not been done before. At 9:10 P. M. he contacted Base Camp and said he would bivouac because of darkness. The following day, April 21, a rescue began. Yankov reached 8500 meters at nine P.M. but did not find any trace of Prodanov. Until 5:30 P. M. that same day Prodanov had voice contact with Base Camp although his voice was weak and the words could not be understood. At 7:45, a click of the switch of his walkie-talkie was recorder for the last time. No sign of him was ever heard again. Meanwhile the weather worsened. Yankov had to spend a sleepless night at 8400 meters but returned safe to Base Camp. On the following days bad weather kept the climbers in their tents.

On May 1 in sunny weather a new attack began. Camps 4 and 5 had been destroyed but were reestablished On May 8 Savov and Valtchev started at 3:20 A.M. from Camp 5 with oxygen, finding a foot-and-a-half of new snow in the gullies. In the afternoon the summit had begun to smoke, a sign of worsening weather. At 5:15 they were on the summit (60 ascent, 160 and 161 climber in hierarchy). After 23 minutes they began to descend the southeast ridge. Two hours later, at 8700 meters, they decided to bivouac. On May 9 Doskov and Petkov left Camp 5 and in the record time 7 hours 38 minutes were on the summit (62 ascent, 162 and 163 in hierarchy). They took Prodanov’s camera and the Soviet flag and hastened to descend the southeast ridge. Soon they met a member of the Indian Mount Everest Expedition, Phu Dorje, who climbed alone to the top after the two Sherpas who accompanied him quit. They then met Savov and later Valtchev and with the help of Doskov and Petkov, the two climbers who had bivouacked succeeded in reaching the South Col. Continue

 
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