|David Pougach||Alexandr Bulanov|
Мир праху и телу, мир мыслям и делу,
Мир дому, мир детям, мир свету и тени.
Чего вы искали? Чего вы хотели?
И ради чего в тепле не сидели?
Уж вам не ответить, чем миг лучше века,
И не описать уж, как чудны рассветы.
Что гонит нас в горы? Чем манят нас реки?
Все это осталось опять без ответа...
А нам остаются лишь горечь потери,
И поиски смысла, и наши сомненья.
Все те же вопросы, все те же рассветы....
Все те же проблемы, и те же советы...
И нам остаеться лишь пить в дни рожденья,
Считать уходящих, рыдать в отчужденьи.
Сновать и крутиться, жалеть, огрызаться....
И снова ответов вечных пугаться....
Костя Буряк, 28-29 июня
On June 25, 2000, we lost two lives to the North Ridge of Mount Baker. David Pougatch and Alexander Bulanov, members of the First Russian Alpine Club on the Internet, perished while attempting that route. While only few of us knew these great people very closely, all of us feel great sorrow and regret.
To our profound dismay, we will never know what exactly happened on that harrowing morning. David and Alexander were climbing alone, away from the well trodden routes on the mountain. The heart breaking news reached us only through the reports by their families on June, 27. A courageous rescue operation had been undertaken by Lt. Chris Cote and a team of climbing rangers. Despite our hopes, Alexander Bulanov, whom they found still alive on the mountain, passed away on June, 29 2000. Our deepest sympathy goes to the David's and Alexander's loved ones.
David Pougatch is survived by his father, his wife Galia, and two children Viktor(18) and Katia(13). Alexander Bulanov is survived by his wife Tania.
Friends of the fallen climbers have established a memorial fund to support the mourning families. Please help us share with them the unbearable grief. Your kindness and support is greatly needed.
A perilous flight in icy-slope rescue
Wednesday, June 28, 2000, 12:00 a.m. Pacific
by Eli Sanders, Seattle Times staff reporter
Navy Lt. Chris Cote had been aiding an already-dicey rescue effort on Mount Baker since midmorning Sunday when, around 6:20 p.m., the radio in his helicopter brought more bad news:
An ice climber named Alexandre Boulanov of Renton, the lone survivor of a two-man fall from a sheer ice wall on the mountain's north slopes, had just gone into cardiac arrest.
It was Cote's first live rescue mission, and he faced an urgent and dangerous choice: risk taking the 30-year-old chopper to altitudes already deemed unsafe in order to pluck Boulanov off the mountain or risk losing him.
Already, the 31-year-old Cote, a Detroit native stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, knew the other climber, David Pougatch of Bellevue, was dead. "We had to make a split decision" about the survivor, Cote said yesterday. "Either we do this or give up on him and he dies." Rescuers think the two climbers early Sunday morning tumbled from the ice wall, crashed onto the hard snow 100 feet below and then began a treacherous slide down 60-degree slopes.
The ice wall, about 1,500 feet below Mount Baker's summit, is well off the normal route to the top, said Whatcom County sheriff's Deputy Scott Huso, who supervised the mission. "There's a lot easier ways to get to the top of Baker, but for some reason they were over there." Pougatch, 40, died, his slide halted when he became wedged in a crevasse. His body was removed yesterday.
Boulanov, 35, who was in a coma and in critical condition yesterday at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, had his slide abruptly stopped by the rope connecting him to Pougatch. "If he wouldn't have gone in that crevasse and stuck, chances are they would have kept sliding, and both of them would have been dead," Huso said. After early Sunday's call for assistance, Cote flew a rescue team to the 10,778-foot mountain, dropping them off at the 8,000-foot level. From there, Cote flew to Bellingham to refuel. The rescuers climbed up 1,000 feet, across two crevasses, and reached Boulanov at 9,000 feet. The rescuers were assisted by four hikers who had spotted the fallen climbers from the summit around 10:30 a.m., called 911 on a cell phone and then climbed down to help. Together, hikers and rescuers brought Boulanov down to 8,700 feet. That's when his heart stopped, and rescuers began CPR. That's also when Cote faced the choice.
Boulanov was at an altitude too high for Cote's helicopter, dubbed the Firewood Six, to hover safely. Cote had had to jettison fuel earlier just to be able to hover at 8,000 feet when he dropped off the rescuers. In the warm, thin air, Cote and his co-pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Scott Parrish, thought maybe they could hover at 8,400 feet. But 8,700 - "we weren't sure if we could," Cote said. They did it anyway.
Cote brought the Firewood Six into a low hover about 50 feet below Boulanov and the rescuers, the chopper's 30-foot blades coming within just 3 feet of the slope.
The wind wash created by the maneuver, which eventually blew some of the rescuers down the slopes, gave the helicopter's blades more air to grip.
This allowed Cote to slowly inch the helicopter up the slope until he was hovering over Boulanov - who was still undergoing CPR - and hoist him into the helicopter.
On board, other rescuers continued CPR and within 15 minutes, Cote had delivered Boulanov to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, where he was resuscitated. "He just risked everything to make the rescue," Huso said. "It was one hell of an effort by a very fine pilot."
Boulanov's wife remained at his side last night, hospital staff members said, while his family declined comment. Records show Boulanov moved to Renton from Illinois in August.
Yesterday, Pougatch's family remembered an easygoing family man who had a real passion for mountain climbing since his first climb three years ago. Pougatch and his family moved to Bellevue from British Columbia in September, when he got a job at Microsoft, said his 19-year-old son, Victor Jitlin of Bellevue. The family, which also includes his wife, Galina Jitlina, and 13-year-old daughter, Katia Jitlina, emigrated to Canada from St. Petersburg, Russian, six years ago.
Meantime, saving the injured climber was not the end of Cote's day. After dropping Boulanov off at St. Joseph, Cote had to go back for the rescuers still on the mountain. That was just as tricky as getting Boulanov off the slopes, but he managed to do it. "On a scale of one to 10, this one was a 10, all the way through," Huso said. Sunday's drama did shake Cote's nerves a bit. "I was thinking, `Don't screw this up.' " But he also said risks come with rescues. `We train to do this mission," Cote said. "This is our job." Seattle Times staff reporters Ian Ith and Charles E. Brown contributed to this report.
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