Adilet Imambekov died on Khan Tengri in his tent, I learned today.
I met him through the Harvard Mountaineering Club when he was a physics graduate student and I was an undergraduate. His ambition and willingness to share his mountaineering skills with the rest of us made the club a livelier place those years.
I will miss him whenever I think of top-roping at Quincy Quarries (he’d climb in mountaineering boots for training), a long sub-freezing vigil he and I once held at the top of Huntington Ravine waiting for George and Chris, and our expedition in Kyrgyzstan. During that expedition he and George put up the crown jewel route on a peak they eventually named Peak of Theoretical Physics. It was all we could do to stop Adilet from naming it for an obscure Russian textbook of quantum mechanics.
His parents, older brother, and younger sister hosted us seven Americans on our way through Almaty toward Kyrgyzstan. They met us at the airport in two cars, strapped our overpacked luggage to the roof and ran a shuttle service from the airport to their home from midnight until 3am or so. There they served us a feast I’ll never forget. Even braver, they allowed us to stay there again after three weeks of expedition living.
Later he became a physics professor at Rice University and had two children with his wife. I hope Adilet’s strength is with them now and I wish he was with us still.
Messieurs Goldman and Davenport, in Switzerland for the McCombie nuptials, invited Ms Crockett and Mr Laursen to an attempt on the Jaegihorn, above Saas Grund in the Swiss Valais region. Goldman and Davenport charmed the hut mistress into providing extra victuals. With full bellies and a 4am start, Laursen led the team on a circular tour of a neighbouring moraine in a suspected effort to escape the climb.
When the fog cleared and the sun rose, however, the team identified the start of the Alpendurst route and commenced climbing activities culminating in a successful summit. From here the evidence grows patchier. The two rope teams lost sight of one another. Subsequent reports from CUMC Zurich stationmaster Kavanaugh place Goldman and Davenport on a dance floor at a castle outside Basel ca. 3am. Davenport failed to report to the post-climb debriefing in Dietikon while Goldman reported to Dietlikon instead. Kavanaugh relieved all parties of their duties in disgust.
See the original as it appeared in Cambridge Mountaineering: [pdf]
The snow under my tentatively placed left boot gave way and I scampered back onto my perch. I leaned heavily on my ice axe with one hand and cheerlessly on the snow with my other hand. I pawed the snowy slope like a misguided rhinoceros charging up the wrong mountain. When I hazarded a look at my leg, I noted a dismaying gap between its boot and crampon. Continue reading
The photo: Kane skiing the Vallée Blanche on the Mont Blanc Massif, France, February 2008.
The outlet: Cover of Cambridge Mountaineering, the journal of the Cambridge University Mountaineering Club.
The catch: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but nobody paid me for this one.