Mt. Everest '98 via Classic Route from the North

 

"In every man's life a moment arrives when it becomes necessary for him to express himself thoroughly, to reach
a limit of his capabilities... Every man has an intrinsic appeal that must manifest some time or other.
And then a very high measure is produced in the man, the highest possible for him, and he yearns
for to test himself with this highest trial. He will achieve no consonance with himself
nor with the world circumjacent if he will not ascend up to the altitude
which seems to be the limit for him."
These words are quoted by R.Messner in his "Crystal Horizon". They belong to one
of leaders of three first British expeditions to the Mt. Everest.

 

November 1999

A news has come about possible Serguei's body finding...

November 1998.

Serguei and Fran

Returning again to this tragic history we are not going to retell the chronicle. It is perfectly made in Risk Online. Neither we would like to complete the description of the Russian Everest Expedition'98 with a narration about other members' summiting - when the friends die, exploits of others fade and depreciate.

Recently we broached a new division in our site, "In memoriam", which is fast, too fast unfortunately, filled in with new and new names. Let us merely address to it and recollect once more that in the month of May this year Serguei Arsentiev and his wife, Francis, had not returned back from Mt. Everest...

May 25. Risk Online informs:

May 24 Francis Distefano-Arsentiev died and Serguei Arsentiev disappeared after their oxygenless ascent of the summit at approximately 18:15, May 23. The ascent was preceded by 3 nights in the Camp "8200m". Descending from the top they spent a night on the summit crest without tent.

There are no words to comment that occurred. Formerly Serguei was member of Leningrad (Petersburg) Electrotechnical Institute mountaineering club and Francis came to Petersburg... They are in our memory...

May 22. Russian climbers are on Mt. Everest's top! All the CET Neva people, Anatoly Moshnikov's family, all his friends are sending their congratulations!

Pursuant to Risk Online communication, on 18th of May four climbers from Ekaterinburg and V.Kulbachenko reached the top and A. Moshnikov together with Gilles Roman summited May 22 at 1p.m. local time.

May 10. Fourth information from Mt. Everest (A.Moshhnikov via telephone).

Until the present there were no summit attempts. Only Moshnikov alone could reach the altitude of 7800m, and there are no camps higher. (In the information of April 22 "7800m" is likely to be replaced by "7500m" - editor's note.)

In the Russian Expedition many climbers are sick of quinsy, bronchitis, etc.

Chinese meteo-service forecasts bad weather till May 14. At the present it is snowing in the BC.

Moshnikov and his team (Gilles Roman, S. and F. Arsentievs) plan their summit attempt on May 14. Sedusov, Pershin and Klimin supported, may be, by Arsentiev will try to begin earlier.

Climbers from Sverdlovsk and Krasnoyarsk, members of the Joint Slovene-Chinese expedition intend to reach the summit with no more stationary camps above 7800m.

There is a very short time for all of this because leaving BC for home is scheduled on May 22.

Mt. Everest, the North Ridge.

April 22. Third Moshnikov's communication from the Base Camp via telephone

We all are in good health, the weather is OK.

There are 15 expeditions in the BC. The Russians together with the Joint Slovene-Chinese expedition are leading.

Ropes are fixed up to the Camp 7800m on the North Ridge. Tomorrow we start intending to install the camp 8200m.

March 28 or 29. "Namasté" from Katmandu - second Moshnikov's communication

Expedition personnel (corrected in accordance with Risk Online):

No.

Name

City, country

Day.month.year of bitrh

Family

Eight-thousanders climbed

1.

Boris Sedusov

Perm'

05.05.50

married, 2 sons

Dhaulagiri-93, Cho-Oyu and Shisha-Pangma-96

2.

Vladimir Karataev

Divnogorsk

21.08.54

ummarried, 2 sons

Kanchendzonga-89, Lhotse-90

3.

Alexei Bolotov

Ekaterinburg

20.01.63

vain

Makalu-97

4.

Serguei Bychkovsky

Ekaterinburg

26.10.56

vain

vain

5.

Eugene Vinogradsky

Ekaterinburg

15.09.46

married, son, daughter, grandson

Kanchendzonga-89, Cho-Oyu-91, Everest-92 and 93, Shisha-Pangma-96

6.

Valery Pershin

Ekaterinburg

05.11.48

married, son, daughter, grandson

Cho-Oyu-91 and 96, Dhaulagiri-93, Shisha-Pangma-96, Lhotse-97

7.

Serguei Timofeev

Ekaterinburg

18.06.57

married, son, daughter

Lhotse-97

8.

Serguei Bastin

Krasnoyarsk

18.11.60

vain

vain

9.

Nikolai Zakharov

Krasnoyarsk

29.04.53

married, son

Dhaulagiri-92, Cho-Oyu and Shisha- Pangma-96

10.

Kolesnikov Konstantin

Krasnoyarsk

09.01.64

married, son, daughter

seventhousanders and Everest-96 up to 8000m

11.

Alexander Kuznetsov

Krasnoyarsk

11.04.57

married, daughter

seventhousanders and Everest-96 up to 8000m

12.

Peter Kuznetsov

Krasnoyarsk

19.05.58

married, son, daughter

Dhaulagiri-92, Everest-96

13.

Anatoly Moshnikov

Petersburg

25.03.53

married, son, daughter

Everest-90, Dhaulagiri-96

14.

Alexei Klimin

Petersburg

13.10.59

vain

Cho-Oyu-96

15.

Alexei Paskhin

Petersburg

08.11.61

vain

Cho-Oyu-96

16.

Alexei Sedov

Petersburg

25.01.60

vain

Cho-Oyu-96

17.

Alexei Koval'chuk

Tallinn, Estonia

29.09.57

vain

Cho-Oyu-96

18.

Boris Slepikovsky

Tallinn, Estonia

07.09.48

vain

seventhousanders

19.

Guia Tortladze

Tbilisi, Georgia

12.07.60

vain

vain

20.

Serguei Arsentiev

Telluride, USA

10.09.58

married, daughter

Kanchendzonga-89, Everest-90, Annapurna-91

21.

Francis Arsentiev-Distefano

Telluride, USA

18.01.58

married, son

seventhousanders

22.

Fred Barth

USA

06.06.52

vain

Gasherbrum

23.

Gilles Roman

France

04.09.69

vain

seventhousanders

Expedition leader is Boris Sedusov, physicians are Serguei Bychkovsky and Boris Slepikovsky (the latter is climber as well), Serguei Bastin is painter, the others are climbers.

In this premonsoon 16 expeditions plan climbing Mt. Everest from the North: Russian, International (participants are from France, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal), French, German (after climbing Manaslu), four Japanese, New Zealand, Polish, African, Slovak, Spanish (Basque), American, two men from Switzerland and Uzbekistan(?). All of them have choosen the classic route except for the Basques. Besides 8 expedition are expected to climb the Everest from the South.
The Russian expedition organizer is Asian Trekking Ltd. (ATL), Katmandu, Ang Tsering Sherpa being the Director. It deals with many expeditions and provides a good service.
Contacts with Nepal customhouse, receiving the expedition cargo and sending it to the Tibet took much time. This was a genuine blackmail: you don't pay - you may visit them until...
There are some difficulties due to the avalanches between Zangmu and Neolam col. These imply some unexpected work and danger for Tibetians. This is why they are not disposed to open this way for expeditions now. But in spite of their protesting the russians are going to start tomorrow.
Further communications to the expedition (to BC) will be performed via opportunities occuring owing to expedition traffic and through ATL.

Katmandu

It is "a spirit of labor" that governs the expedition, there are no conflicts so far. Good company, we have many mutual friends - what do you need more for being happy!

Katmandu lives as always: rupee drops, a lot of tourists, dirt, poverty and... palaces. A new communist party has emerged...
 

March 26. First Moshnikov's communication from Katmandu.

The Russian International Expedition led by B.Sedusov works according to the plan. It consists of 21 persons including physician and painter. Departure from Katmandu is scheduled on March 28.
Totally 17 expeditions from the North are expected in the premonsoon 1998. The first of them, 7 Spaniards, is already on the way: it stuck in Zangmu where the road is piled by avalanches. Our expedition goes second but they will be first in BC, probably, because the Spaniards will be waiting for a new satellite communication device instead of the broken one for approximately 5 days. Our guys hope to have carried their load in hands and on backs across the 200m snow heap and then to continue by cars. The journey up to BC is expected to take some 4 to 5 days.

In response, from CET "Neva" went away the congratulation to Anatoly: March 25 he got 45 years old.  

Gilles and Moshnikov

On March 20 Anatoly Moshnikov, CET "Neva" Director (on the right in the picture) flew out from Petersburg to Moscow together with french climber Gilles Roman. In Moscow three american citizens - Sergei Arsentiev, formerly member of the Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute Mountaineering Club, his wife, Francis Distefano, and Fred Barth - will join them. Also there this Moshnikov's group will be included in expedition led Boris Sedusov from Perm' thus having it transformed into the international one. The group is sponsored by Gallina Blanca and Petrospec.

On the same day other four members of the expedition left Petersburg for Moscow by train. They were four Alexeis: Klimin, Paskhin, Sedov from Petersburg and Koval'chuk from Estonia.

Totally 22 persons are expected to take part in the expedition. A number of experienced climbers, experts in high altitude ascents, are in the team: Eugene Vinogradsky and Valery Pershin from Ekaterinburg, each of two, have 4 eight-thousanders climbed, both Arsentiev and Sedusov have 3; Arsentiev, Vinogradsky and Moshnikov have already been on the Everest top.

Anatoly, Sergei and Francis hope to reach the summit with no use of canned oxygen. As well, the expedition members dream to think out a new route to the highest summit of the world on the North Face for a future.

The expedition plans to climb up the Chomolungma following the classic route from the East Rongbuk Glacier via the North Col. This way (and its variants) had been discovered as early as in epoch of great climbers of the past. Initial attempts to summit via this route were made during the Third British Expedition 1924, first, by the rope team of E.Norton - T.Somervell, and then by G.Mallory - A.Irvine. At the first attempt Norton, alone and with no oxygen (!), achieved an altitude of 8570m above the sea (!). Mallory and Irvine disappeared when their climbing, and the disappearance mystery keeps climbers of the world intrigued till now. First successful climbings up to the summit via this route were realized by Chinese climbers (along the North-East ridge) in 1960 and 1975. In 1980 R.Messner, solo an with no artificial oxygen, had reached the top by the North slope in parallel to the North-East Ridge and then having traversed the Norton Couloir.

The expedition plans the arrival to Katmandu on March 21 and leaving for Tibet on April 1. They intend to install Base Camp (BC - 5300m), Intermediate Camp (IC - 5800m), Advanced Base Camp (ABC - 6500m), and 4 upper camps: Camp 1 on the North Col (7000m), Camp 2 - 7800m, Camp 3 - 8200m, Camp 4 near the Second Step - 8600m. On May 30 - return to home.

In the last February, when training on icy rocks of Karelian Isthmus near city of Vyborg, Moshnikov said concerning his motivation to take part in the expedition:
"Mountaineering in Petersburg, sometime the most developed one in our country, is only surviving now together with whole the city. We have no such powerful plants needed by the contemporary epoch as, for example, Magnitogorsk or Togliatti have, nor petroleum flows pass through our town, at last, we are not the capital of the country where money rivers converge to. It's very difficult to find out sponsors. We, the city, have only military plants and institutions for science, education and culture. All they have no money now themselves. But we have to undertake some new steps, not only for ourselves, but for our city as well. We must do it not to lose that we still have, otherwise, can not retrieve.
Well, on the other hand, there exists the Everest... Together with Serioga Arsentiev we had been there in 1990 (in "Peace Climb", the American - Chinese - Russian Expedition headed by Jim Whittaker - editor's note) - it calls me, it's difficult to stand against its appeal."

All the photos here, except for photos "Gilles and Moshnikov" and "Serguei and Fran", are taken from Nasuh Mahruki's book "Everest´te Ilk Türk. Chomolungma-Dünyanin Ana Tanriçasi." Istanbul, 1995.

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