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EverestHistory.com: Christo Prodanov


In remembrance of Christo Prodanov 60 Anniversary of the Bulgarian alpinist of the XX Century

 

 

Photo: Christo Prodanov – the first steps in the mountaineering

Christo Prodanov was born on the 24 February 1943 in Karlovo and died, aged 41, on Everest in 1984. He left Department of metallurgy of the Bulgarian Technological University with a degree in engineering. But it was climbing that dominated his life and he had plenty of time to devote to it. He took his first steps in 1958 and by 1959 had climbed his first route in Pirin. He went on to make a reported 500 routes and variations throughout the mountains of Europe and Asia, a number rarely matched either before or since by any Bulgarian alpinist. He was best known as a connoisseur of elegant rock climbs. His climbing career spanned over 26 years and he was still putting up new routes in the 1958 and making interesting ascents up to 1984.

Prodanov climbed widely with many of the famous Bulgarian alpinists of the day, starting with the legendary Nikola Korchev, his first “master of rock climbing”, Georgi Atanasov, Blagoy Djivdjanov, Atanas Kovandjiev, Dragolyub Kostov, Ivan Vasilev, Trifon Djambazov etc.

He climbed insatiably throughout the Alpine chain, Caucasus and (at that time) Soviet Pamir. Prodanov made the first Bulgarian ascent on 8000er – Lhotse (8516 m) in 1981 (April 30), solo, without oxygen. This attainment very much paved the way for the Bulgarian Himalayan successes the following year.

Other highlights:

1967 – North Face of Grandes Jorrrasses (Walker), first Bulgarian ascent,

1967 – Petit Dru (Bonatti Route),

1969 – Freney in Montblanc Massive,

1970 – “A cross of Ushba” (in Caucasus),

1973 – a traverse in Shhelda Massive,

1974 - North Face of Matterhorn, (Schmidt’s brothers route), first Bulgarian ascent,

1977 – Petit Dru (via “Route of Guides” on the North Face),

1975, July 28 1982, August 5 1982, July 13 1983, August 2 1983 – Peak Lenin (at that time, nowadays Peak Caufman, 7134 m),

1980, 1983 – Peak Communism (at that time, nowadays Peak Garmo, 7495 m), 

July 28 1979, July 31 1979, 1982, 1983 – Peak Korzhenevskoi (7104 m),

1976 – Noshaq (7492 m) in Afghani Hindukush. 

On April 20 1984 Prodanov ascended Everest via West ridge. He was the sixth man to climb Everest solo, the 13th without oxygen and the eight to climb west ridge (59 ascent, 159th  climber on the top) . He remained on the summit for a half hour and began the descent down the west ridge proper, which had not been done before. At 9:10 P. M. he contacted Base Camp and said he would bivouac because of darkness. The following day, April 21, Prodanov had voice contact with Base Camp although his voice was weak and the words could not be understood. At 7:45 a click of the switch of his walkie-talkie was recorder for the last time. No sign of him was ever heard again.

Prodanov wrote one book (“Lhotse 8516”) and many articles and route descriptions in the newspaper “Echo”.

He is a winner in the inquiry “A Bulgarian Alpinist of the XX Century”.

Peter Atanasov, Bulgarian Alpine Club and member of the Expedition Commission of the UIAA

 
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