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Who rings the bell at altitude? (aut. Galina Mulenkova)

Once a famous mountaineer Denis Urubko said: «The adventure is sharper than the bridge, by which you can go back.» On the question — for what purpose do people climb mountains, there is no unequivocal answer. And if Urubko said that for him climbing new unexplored routes in the highest mountains of the world — it’s rock and roll at an altitude of 8000 meters, then honored master of sports of the USSR, master of sports of international class, two-time «snow leopard» and Honored Coach of the Republic of Kazakhstan for mountaineering Rinat Khaibullin looks at this kind of human activity without emotion. He recognizes that athletes are driven by vanity, selfishness, a desire to be stronger and superior to others, but without this there is no evolution.
He went to the team of Yervand Ilinsky, who was the multiple champion of the USSR, where the first Everest climbers Kazbek Valiev and Valery Khristyatyy trained (the 1982 expedition), as well as the legendary Anatoly Bukreev, whom Rinat was looking for in December 1997 in an avalanche on the slope Annapurna in the Himalayas. Losing friends and teammates, Rinat Khaibullin knew: they all received their «bells», but they did not dare to break free from the well-established machine of Soviet mountaineering. He was recognized as the best climber of the USSR on the results of ascents for 1990. He had thirty ascents to the seven thousandths, participated in the second Soviet Himalayan expedition to Kanchenjunga, participated in the expedition of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions on Lhotse along the South Face, ascent to the Dhaulagiri team along the Western wall, and ascent to McKinley. Kazakhstanis were famous for conquering great heights on the wall routes, and he was one of the best climbers in the country and easily tolerated the height.
In the summer of the 94th Khaibullin could perish three times in one day. And he had an incredible experience that made him stop sports climbing. He was in fantastic form, when the illusion of omnipotence arises. «Running» alone on Khan-Tengri, I decided to make a high-speed ascent in the Alpine style to the Victory Peak — the northernmost seven thousandth of the Earth, many of which did not return from the slopes.
It is the highest mountain of the Tien Shan, on the crest of which there are three peaks: the Eastern (7079 m), the Main (7439 m) and the peak Vazha Pshavela (6918 m). Rinat made a mistake with the height of the Pass Wild, he did not take a tent and hoped to spend the night in a snow cave, but by the evening a blizzard took place, the relief was getting steeper, and it was far from cover. Not seeing the ice under the snow, he flew on the slope, but lingered in the snowy supercharging and remembered the feeling of death in the middle of the stomach. The climber decided to excavate a small shelter in the thickness of the snow with an ice ax, although he realized that at such an altitude in the bad weather he could not wake up.
He lay down on the snow and put his head on the backpack. And suddenly he saw that someone was coming along. Nearby, squatting, sat the second Rinat. Khaibullin closed his eyes and thought that it was a hallucination, but he stayed in the mountains for about two months, before he descended from Khan-Tengri and was perfectly acclimatized to «swim» on some five and a few thousand. He began to repeat the multiplication table, recalled his childhood, checked whether his hands and feet were listening. The body and the brain worked well.
The double spoke. Opening his eyes, Rinat thought that he was facing the wind. It’s unreasonable … That night the uninvited guest gave Khaybullin four useful advice. He demanded that he put his hand under his side, forced to unbind his shoes to increase blood supply, insisted that Rinat take a gas torch from his backpack and melt the snow, noticed that he did not eat anything. When Rinat was making solodization, he took nothing but gas and chocolate bars, and canned food was always found in caves along the route.
It may seem strange, but the climber began to argue, asking, but did he try himself to kindle a fire in such a wind. And how to eat chocolate, which turns to sand in forty-degree frost and scrape the throat? But in fact, the astral double, or some essence, or guardian angel, saved him from pneumonia, from frostbite of limbs, from dehydration and lack of glucose. Rinat turned off. And when he opened his eyes, no one was around. Hands-feet survived, he suffered a cold night without loss. But the story went on.
On the descent fell. He was detained by an iceberg, presented by a professional French mountaineer Pierre Bijan, who by that time had died on Annapurna. Was it a coincidence that in that season Rinat practiced with self-confinement on ice with young athletes? Flying four meters, he stopped over a four-hundred-meter wall. He was pounding, but he had to go further. Here the rocks appeared, and there was a saving rope. In the esoteric literature it is said: a meeting with an astral double promises death to a person, and for the third time he nearly died, flopping his feet into an ice crack without a bottom, but he stopped by the edges with his hands.

That day, the mountaineering veteran from Russia Yuri Borodkin fell in the same place as Rinat. He had an ice pick of the old model. The mountain took its prey.
In the 94th, my friends and I spent Rinata on the Victory Peak, and then we met at the base camp. It was obvious that something extraordinary happened to him, but he could tell about it only after years. And two years earlier the Kharkov mountaineer Gennady Kopeyka, who together with Khaybullin was a member of the team in the expedition to Lhotse in the 90th, went with the famous Russian alpinist Vladimir Balyberdin to the second peak of the world K 2. Balyberdin stayed on top to find any evidence of their stay at an altitude of 8611. Kopeika went down one steep slope and had to get to the «bottle neck» — the only passage to the pre-hill plateau, otherwise it could be on rocky faults. The forces were running out, and then someone clearly commanded: «Stop!» He began to peer into the darkness — maybe he was caught by Balyberdin? But he saw that he had passed by his tent. It happened at three o’clock in the morning on August 2, 1992. A partner came only in the morning.
R.S. Today, Rinat Khaibullin heads the Skyranning and Trairlanding Federation, working on the creation of a voluntary Rescue Service of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Galina Mulenkova