December 25 marks the twenty years since the death of the legendary Kazakhstan mountaineer Anatoly Bukreev and the mountaineer operator Dmitry Sobolev in the Himalayas
Bukreev was one of the first in our country who approached the performance of the prestigious alpinist program “The 14 highest peaks of the world”. Annapurna could have become his eleventh eight-thousandth. The mountains with a height of more than 8,000 meters are only fourteen, ten of them are in the Himalayas, four in the Karakorum. In the elite club “14” at the present time are the Kazakhs Maksut Zhumayev and Vasily Pivtsov, as well as the former Kazakh Denis Urubko. Anatoly Bukreev claimed to be the first of the RK in this list.
Anatoly Bukreev and his Italian colleague Simone Moro were going to go to Annapurna in winter on the southern wall. Any winter expedition is always extreme, but if we are talking about climbing an eight-thousand meter, and even along a steep wall, then this is a far-off extreme. But in December 97 tons of snow hit the Himalayas, avalanches rumbled one by one, and all the snow fell and poured like peas from a leaky sack.
Everything left from under the mountain, including Sherpas. There were three left: Simone Moro, Anatoly Bukreev and Dmitry Sobolev, who was supposed to shoot a film about Bukreev. Dmitry could work with the camera in conditions of hypoxia and arctic cold – he had high-altitude experience, participated in Kazakhstan expeditions to Everest and Manaslu.
The Almaty artist Andrei Starkov joined the group for a short time, but he also went down, carrying the letter of Anatoly Bukreev to the producer of the film in the pocket of the puff, in which he reported a huge amount of snow and that they would still try to “make a mountain” and try to return to January.
Anatoly Boukreev was born in Chelyabinsk, was a skier, and after graduating from the institute he came to Kazakhstan to get into the army team of Yervand Ilyinsky, who repeatedly won the “gold” championship of the USSR in mountaineering in different classes. The athlete was unusually hardy and was jokingly called the best skier among climbers and the best mountaineer among skiers.
Bukreev was the first who began to “run” to the top in Kazakhstan, and was one of the first who introduced this practice in the world. He tried to set a high-speed record for climbing Mount Everest, in the 90th he made the first high-speed single climb to the northernmost 7,000-square-Victory peak in Tien-Shan, participated in the first winter expedition to this peak, worked as an assistant to the guide of the American expedition to McKinley (Alaska ), after which he made a high-speed single ascent for ten and a half hours and became incredibly popular in the US. In addition, he became the first mountaineer from our country who ventured into free swimming and worked in commercial mountaineering in the highest mountains of the earth.
Anatoly Bukreev was selected for the second Soviet Himalayan expedition to Kanchenjunga in 1989, in 1991 he participated in the first independent Kazakhstan expedition to Dhaulagiri, as part of the US-Russian expedition climbed Everest from the south, in 1992, as part of the German team, ascended to one of the most difficult peaks of the world K2. In the following years he ascended the Makalu, Everest from the north, went alone to the speed of Dhaulagiri, joined the national team of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Manaslu in the winter, in 1996 was assistant guide to the American expedition to Everest, made a solitary ascension to Lhotse, rose to Cho-Oyu, made a solo – an ascension to Shisha-Pangmu. In 1997, the Kazakhstan team climbed Mount Everest, and Anatoly Bukreev led a team of Indonesian soldiers who never saw snow. In a deuce with Simone Moreau, he ascended to Lhotse, alone made a rapid ascent to Broad-peak and Gasherbrum-2. He has many records on the account of the mountaineer, he visited the summit of Everest four times.
The Raging Storm on Everest
I had to write not only about his successes and ups. After participating in the German expedition “Northern Lights” on K2, where he was invited to strengthen the team, he recognized that high-rise Sherpa would cost the Germans more than a Russian climber.
They followed their pedantic plan, ignoring the recommendations of a professional who at that time had 27 seven-thousanders behind him, lost to Bukreev in acclimatization and tempo. “The German federation has three times more members than ours,” Anatoly said, “and they only had one climber on K2.”
The second peak of the world in Pakistan was called a mountain-killer. Bukreev warned that the group had passed the line of what was permitted, but nobody wanted to listen to him – there he simply did not have the right to vote. The Kazakh went to the top, on the “autopilot” descended into the tent of the assault camp, and when it got dark, he hung the flashlight on the entrance. Two Germans did not return from the ascent, but there was no point in looking for a needle in a haystack. He then also had a lot of chances to get lost on the slopes of K2.
“I’m training to survive,” said the climber, “this is my margin of safety.” And in 1996, Anatoly Bukreev was a participant in the tragedy that took place on the slope of Everest, when a sudden storm swept away several lives. Then he managed to find and bring to three tents, but the American journalist John Krakauer wrote first an article, and then a book about the joint ascent to the highest mountain of the world of two commercial groups. In them, he accused Bukreev of cowardice and the fact that he came down from the top, leaving customers. Opinions were divided. On the one hand, Bukreeva was presented to the award for the salvation of three Americans, on the other, many believed that he did not fully fulfill his duties as a guide. But Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, the Knight of the Order “For Personal Courage” became the winner of the American Alpclub Award named after David Souls, awarded to climbers who save people, risking their own lives.
This story formed the basis for two scenarios, in which blockbuster films were shot in the US, and disputes continue to this day. With the assistance of his American friend Linda Wiley and the journalist Weston de Walt, who was investigating, Bukreev wrote the book “Ascent”, which was a response to the book of Krakarueer. Currently, with the assistance of Linda Uiley, it is the second time translated from English into Russian.
Annapurna is the tenth mountain in the list of the highest peaks of the world and perhaps the first in terms of the number of alpinists who have not returned from its slopes. But it was this mountain that became the first eight-thousand-meter mountain, to which people ascended in 1950. The era of so-called “Himalayas” was opened by a French expedition led by Maurice Erzog.
Bukreev worked hard to pay himself the right to climb this peak, so he believed that it was necessary to ascend at any cost. The price was too high …
Shortly before that, Reinhold Messner, the legend of world mountaineering, and the first man to climb all 14 eight-thousandths of the planet arrived in the international climbing camp in Tien Shan. He talked with Anatoly on a glacier under the Khan-Tengri peak. He knew what the Kazakhstani mountaineers had achieved in the high-tech class, he knew that in 1988 Kazbek Valiev and Yuri Moiseev in the group with Czech Zoltan Demyan for the first time passed an alpine-style route along the South-West Ridge to Dhaulagiri and this ascent was was recognized as the best in that season in the Himalayas. Messner advised Bukreev to “make” an eight-thousandth along a wall route, which would have a huge resonance in world mountaineering. So: the peak is above 8000 meters, the wall, the winter period, but for Bukreev the impossible in the mountains was possible.
However, large snow packed Annapurna in a shell and the wall became absolutely inaccessible, the climbers decided to change the route and move to the top through the neighboring seven-thousand-meter Fang. At one of the exits, when all three were on the slope, an avalanche rattled. She “loosened the grip” and let the Italian go. He reached the tent, examined the place of the giant snow cover for a long time, shouted, but there was no answer. He called the helicopter and informed the Kazakh friends about what had happened.
Arrived in a few days, rescuers, led by a famous mountaineer Rinat Khaibulin, found only an empty tent in which documents and
some things. Sensing the snow with an ice ax, the rescuers realized that the chance is one in a million. It was very dangerous, avalanches could break at any moment.
“At the end of the year, none of us went to the mountains,” recalls Rinat. – We were not acclimatized, and the helicopter abandoned the group to a height of 6,000 meters. I crawled along this seven-hectare avalanche and I thought how Bukreev “did” me, which he put in front of me an impossible task. Life confronted us on the ground and in the mountains, we often argued, now I looked for his body and remembered how we met for the first time. I moved from “Spartacus” to the army club. We ended up in the alpine Varzob and through the pass we went to the army camp. I did not consider myself weak, but Bukreev went on tirelessly, as if there was no lifting, and when they climbed onto the pass, he took a melon from his backpack. Yes, – I thought then, a healthy guy …
In Kazakhstan, two documentary films about Anatoly Bukreev, whose name is widely known around the world: “The Unconquered Peak” (directed by Vladimir Tyulkin) and “Guide to the Unknown” (directed by Galina Mulenkova) were shot. In 1998 Anatoly Bukreev was posthumously awarded with the Order “For Courage” and was included in the list of the best athletes of the 20th century. At the foot of Annapurna, Linda Wylie installed a tablet on which the phrase dropped by Bukreev was carved: “The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambitions, they are temples where I profess my religion.” And on the path leading to Mount Everest, there is a stupa, where a sign with the names of all those who died in the Himalayas of Kazakhstanis hangs. Eternal memory to them.