Global Voices Online
Friday, May 19, 2006
Aleksandr Antonov (aka LJ user caesar_rb)
Aleksandr Antonov's last LJ post was a very happy one: he was going on a two-week vacation to conquer Mount Elbrus. Here's what he wrote on April 30 (RUS), as LJ user caesar_rb:
I'm going to Elbrus!
So, my dear comrades, I'm leaving LJ for the next two weeks today.
Beer, vodka and womenMountains and fresh air await me. And yesterday we had banya [sauna] and shashlyk [barbeque], there was a family holiday in the evening, which lasted till 3 am. And I forgot to go to bed because at 3:40 I took an elektrichka [commuter train] to the capital :)
Bye bye to you all :)
I hope no one is going to un-friend me ;)
On May 12, someone posted a comment to this post, with a link to a Russian tabloid story about two groups of alpinists (Russian and Ukrainian) who vanished on Elbrus; the story mentioned Aleksandr and his younger brother, Nikolay (the only one who survived).
First, there was disbelief; then there was despair mixed with hope. Finally, rest-in-peace notes began to arrive.
Currently, there are 285 comments on Aleksandr's last post: ten pages.
Below is a rare exchange (RUS) that occurred on May 16 and 17, breaking the edless flow of RIPs:
ya_anka: He hasn't conquered the mountain peak... :'(
chealsea: He has.
ya_anka: But didn't come back.
chealsea: [...] I still can't believe.
skvoznik: You can't conquer a mountain peak. The elements can either let you in or not. When you're standing at 4,000 meters and there are only mountains and the sky around, you are nothing but a tiny spot: one slight push and you cease to exist. No alpinist would say that he has "conquered" the Mountain...
chealsea: Very correct words...
volk: They were at the peak at 8 pm. No one can understand how that could happen. You start out towards the peak at night, and by 10 am you are there, and then you go down, and by 5 pm you are at the cableway [...].
Here's part of a separate post (RUS) by LJ user volk (Andrei Travin), an experienced alpinist who took part in an "Internet expedition" to the peak of Elbrus in summer 2005:
Death vs Internet
On May 9, nine people died and two more disappeared on their way down from the peak of Elbrus. Sixty rescuers, including volunteers, took part in the search, and so far, some 389 journalists have written about it. [...] They weren't writing this much about our expedition, even though the appearance of the Internet at Russia's highest point seems to be pretty newsworthy. But people are more interested in corpses.
Approximately 30 people die every year in the mountains of Russia; of them, ten or so die on Elbrus. This time Elbrus has gathered its annual norm in one serving. [...]