site.btaBTA Hosts Press Conference on Occasion of 40th Anniversary of Bulgaria’s First Expedition to Everest

BTA Hosts Press Conference on Occasion of 40th Anniversary of Bulgaria’s First Expedition to Everest
BTA Hosts Press Conference on Occasion of 40th Anniversary of Bulgaria’s First Expedition to Everest
A snapshot of the event (BTA Photo)

The Bulgarian Tourist Union (BTU) and the Bulgarian Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (BCMF) organized a press conference at BTA’s National Press Club on Wednesday on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Bulgaria’s first expedition to Mount Everest.

On April 20, 1984, Hristo Prodanov became the first Bulgarian to summit Everest. The next to set foot on the Mount were Ivan Valchev and Metodi Savov on May 8, and Nikolay Petkov and Kiril Doskov on May 9.

The anniversary will be marked by a series of events that will culminate in a commemoration in Sofia under the auspices of President Rumen Radev on April 24.

At Wednesday’s press conference, BTU Chair Ventsislav Venev said: "The iconic ascent of Everest was a feat not only for its time. Several records were set during that expedition. It was one of the highest-funded sporting events in 1984. It was dedicated to several important events of the time: the 40th anniversary of [the communist coup in Bulgaria on] September 9, 1944, and 80 years of revolutionary trade unions in Bulgaria".

One of the participants in the expedition, Metodi Savov, said that the whole thing involved a very tough preparation, adding that it started off with some 100 people, but quite a few dropped out, and only 30 remained eventually.

Altitude tests were then conducted in a barochamber in Moscow, the mountaineer noted. The final composition of the expedition was determined after their return to Bulgaria. It included 24 people in total - 19 mountaineers and a staff of five people.

As to the expedition itself, Savov said that the West Ridge route (which is the most challenging) was picked because the traditional route was taken by an Indian military expedition. He added that three rescue operations were carried out.

Prodanov decided to climb to the top without using bottled oxygen. "We were very surprised because, apart from being long, the route is also incredibly difficult," Savov said. He stressed that no one else has climbed that traverse of Everest to this day.

Prodanov died on the descent from the summit of Mount Everest.

Savov reached the summit on May 8 together with Ivan Valchev, but on the descent, they were forced to spend the night at an altitude of 8750 m, caught by the darkness. They ran out of oxygen and had to do without it for the night. "This is the only such instance in the world," Savov said. The next day, Kiril Doskov and Nikolai Petkov reached them and provided them with oxygen so they could continue their descent.

On their way back home, the expedition members were welcomed in India by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Another mountaineer who took part in the expedition, Nikolay Petkov, said that "40 years is a good amount of time for the participants themselves to see such an expedition in a new way". He pointed out that this was one of the most well-prepared high-mountain expeditions in the world, and the ascent of the West Ridge, besides not being repeated, was also a world-class achievement.

Petkov is the only person in the world who has walked three different routes up to Mt. Everest.

BCMF Chair Petko Totev, also a member of the expedition, said that Bulgarian companies had provided the mountaineers with high-quality items of equipment back then, but having been chocked off by the competition of other countries, this industry did not develop over time in Bulgaria and eventually died out.

/RY/

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By 18:16 on 20.05.2024 Today`s news

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