To Cho-Oyu for the perished friend

(click to zoom photos)

May 15. Michael Gavrilov. St.Petersburg.

At last Victor came home from the Himalaya and is buried in Novgorod. Everything is over.

May 10. Michael Gavrilov from Petersburg.

Our guys and the Victor body landed yesterday in Moscow. By 23:00 custom checking had been overcome and everything and everybody got to leave for Novgorod, where today the funeral will take place.

Humanitarian action of Petersburg climbers is close to be completed.

May 6. Dimitry Sergeev from Katmandu.

Almost all problems related to the body transportation to the Russia seem to be resolved. For the whole day of May 6 Shustrov and Sergeev were sealing zinced coffine under revenue police officers' supervision. The body has been medically processed and coming out permission has been obtained, but body's state will not allow to open the coffin at the funeral.

Everybody of Russians around was involved into process of paper preparation: the Embassy staff, Aeroflot representatives and even russian helicopter personnel in Nepal.

M. Gavrilov in Petersburg: Preliminary date of the funeral in Novgorod is scheduled for May 10. The guys should fly down to Sheremetievo-2 airport in Moscow on May 9 at 19:55.

May 3. Dimitry Sergeev from Katmandu.

All of us and the Victor Stepanov body are in Katmandu. Our Consulate personnel helped us very much. They met the expedition at the Tibet-Nepal boundary and promptly resolved all the problems.

However some medical problems may arise concerning body processing before its transportation to the Russia: though being not affected with putrefaction it is strongly overfrozen.

The flight home will occur most probably on May 09 - according to the initial plan and the tickets already purchased.

M. Gavrilov in Petersburg: we begins preparation to the meeting and organization of the funeral in Novgorod.

April 30. Konstantin Astanin from Base Camp (BC) via satellite phone.

We have descended down to BC having brought the body. This night plan to get start to Katmandy by jeeps. The day of May 1 scheduled for arrival to Katmandy seems to be reality.

April 28. Dimitry Sergeev from Advanced Base Camp (ABC) via satellite phone.

...The body is moved down in ABC. So far it is conserved inside the ice, near the Camp. The further transportation, to Katmandu, is now under the preparation. Everybody feels well, and the weather conditions are good. Approximately for one-two next days all the members will be in ABC preparating the transportation. Scheduled time of arrival to Katmandu is May 1 or 2. The Embassy is activated to help in bringing the body to the Motherland, to Russia.

Conditions in ABC and higher on the mountain are substantially better than in last year and climber crowds head to the summit directly from Camp 3 passing by the higher one.

April 25. Dimitry Sergeev from Advanced Base Camp (ABC) via satellite phone.

The action develops in accordance with the most quick schedule: we has come to V.Stepanov's body; it is in a good state and ready for lowering. The route down to ABC and further is prepared for the transportation. All the participants are in good physical conditions and feel well. If everything will follow the plan, the body may be carried to Katmandu as early as by 1st of May.

April 16. Alexey Shustrov from Katmandu via e-mail.

From: [Asian Trekking (P.) Ltd. Fax: 00 977-1-411878]
Date: April 13, 1999   18:21

Hello Misha!
Tomorrow morning we depart. We completed almost all preparations well. The only item is very difficult to be arranged. This is transportation of the dead body from the China border to Katmandu. The cause is Nepalis: this is against their religion, and in addition to that, a part of the way near the border, about 20km long, is very bad and dangerous. Thus, nobody wants to help us for any money. The embassy promises its support but how difficult is to receive their final confirmation for the transfer - they are too special persons!..

Tomorrow is Nepalian New Year 2056, so Happy New Year!
Our best regards to everybody, Alex.

April 14, 1999

A.Moshnikov (summited Mt. Everest in 1990 and 1998, Dhaulagiri in 1996 (expedition leader), all 3 ascents without supplementary oxygen, CET Neva agency director): "Following to my calculations, about 30 climbers from the Russia and post-Soviet republics lay now unburied on Himalayan eight-thousanders. The members and organizers perform the first expedition in our country aimed to find out and bring home from the Himalaya our friend's body."

From declaration of Petersburg's alpinism and rock climbing Federation:

"...Bringing home V.Stepanov's body and the funeral in accordance with russian traditions are considered by St.Petersburg Federation of Alpinism and Rock Climbing to be its duty. In this connection the Federation will render all necessary help, technical and organizing, to the expedition planned, will prepare a crew of sportsmen, etc.."

The expedition staff is composed by Alexey Shustrov - expedition leader, Konstantin Astanin and Dimitry Sergeev, all three being members of the last year Cho-Oyu expedition.

The expedition fund (about US$40000) has been collected by Petersburg and Novgorod climbers, friends and relatives of Stepanov.

(On the pictures: the last photo of Stepanov taken at the altitude of 8000m, Mt.Cho-Oyu general view, planned expedition route - notes on this photo are: the summit - 8201m, place of the burial - 6800m, Base Camp - 5700m.)

The information, except for the Moshnikov's words, is furnished by M.Gavrilov,
last year expedition member, one of organizers and
sponsors of the expedition.

April 11, 1999

April 10, 1999 an expedition departed from Petersburg to Cho-Oyu via Katmandu-Tibet. Goal of the expedition is to find out and bring home body of Victor Stepanov perished last year during the asent of Cho-Oyu and provisionally buried at the altitude of 6800m. Planned return time of the expedition is May 10.

(On the pictures on the right are a moment of lowering the body and the place of inhumation)

The information is furnished by Alexey Shustrov, expedition leader.

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