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Russian climber Alexei Bolotov dies on Mt. Everest

Russian mountain climber Alexei Bolotov died Wednesday in a fall on Mt. Everest as he was trying to open a new route to the summit on the peak's southwestern face, the Russian Federation of Alpinism reported. The climber fell off the side of the mountain when his safety rope broke at an altitude of 5,600 meters (18,200 feet), federation spokesperson Anna Stolbova told the Interfax news agency.
Russian climber Alexei Bolotov dies on Mt. Everest

"Bolotov, along with another well-known alpinist from Kazakhstan, Denis Urubko, were trying to open a new route up the center of the southwestern wall of Everest. Nobody had ever done that route before," Stolbova said.

Urubko sent a message to the Web page regarding his companion's accident, saying: "I don't know how to write this. Alexei Bolotov was making a descent on a rope. The rope broke after fraying against a sharp rock outcropping. Bolotov fell ... some 300 meters (975 feet). His death was instantaneous."

The 50-year-old Russian climber was one of the best-known figures in the world of mountaineering after receiving two Piolet d'Or awards, the risky sport's highest international honor awarded by a French panel since 1991.

He won his first Piolet d'Or for being the first to climb the western face of Makalu in 1998 and the second for first climbing the north face of Jannu in 2004.

Married and with two children, Bolotov had climbed 11 of the world's highest 14 peaks, all of them over 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) in height.

He participated, along with Urubko, in the fruitless attempt to rescue Iñaki Ochoa de Olza on Annapurna in May 2008, after the Spanish climber fell ill at 7,400 meters (24,050 feet) and then died of exhaustion five days later.

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