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Daily News: 10/19/99 Report
Everest Spring 98:
"The story that must be told."
They were called Romeo and Juliet of the Cold War.
You know him as Sergi .
Serguei Anatolievich Arsentiev was born 1958 and
was a native of St. Petersburg. He along with Fran would become the first husband and wife
team to Summit Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen.
But who was Sergi? The Russians knew him, but the
world knew little.
We asked Robert Link, American climber, who reached
the Summit of Everest with Sergi on the 1990 Everest Peace Expedition. How good was Sergi?
Robert, replied, "The Question is, Was he the best!". With question we paused.
You mean in the likes of Messner? Recalling that Robert Link is a partner with Ed
Viesturs. Robert replied, "Yes." We discussed Sergi at length with Robert. He
recalled the Peace climb where Sergi was chosen to go to Everest to represent Russian over
such climbers as Anatoli Boukreev. Where Sergi, along with Robert Link, was chosen for the
first team to attempt the summit from the Peace Expedition, an indication of his strength
and greatest. Robert told us of Sergi great strength and endurance of Summitting Everest
without oxygen. Others had told us that Sergi was to use oxygen that day, and that some
climbers were critical of Sergi was not doing so. Clearly, Robert Link was not critical of
Sergi actions. Robert was clearly proud to have climbed with Sergi. In Robert Link mind,
the only Question was, Was he (Sergi) the best?
We discussed with Robert the issue of little press
for many of the eastern European truly great climbers, and what a shame that was. The fact
that American was not aware of many of these climbers.
EverestNews.com then reviewed Sergi history.
We found a climber and a man. Sergi was an
intellectual man of great intelligence. A man who was an electrical engineer that assisted
in manufacturing spy satellites in Russian. No this was not an ordinary man, nor an
ordinary climber on Everest.
Sergi earned the Snow Leopard name for climbing the
5 highest mountains in what was know as the USSR. Sergi summited all three tops on
Kanchenjunga in a traverse, an achievement few men on this plant could accomplish, one
that most experienced H.A. climbers would not even consider. Sergi was on the elite
Russian climbs to Kanchenjunga, Everest and Annapurna. In 1991 he made quick work of
Annapurna I, ascending the north face to the Summit in alpine style and of course without
the use of supplemental oxygen. However, on Annapurna something happened that forever
changed his life. He met a beautiful American Woman. Sergi, first wife had been killed in
an automobile accident. Fran and Sergi were clearly in love from the start. In 1992, Fran
and Sergi were married and after their climb of Elbrus, where Fran skied down from the
Summit. They soon moved to American. The love was strong. They earned the nickname of
"Romeo and Juliet of the Cold War."
EverestNews.com found a climber who made the first
winter ascent of Peak Korzhenevkaya (7105m), peak Lenin (7134m). Sergi received the
National Friendship Medal from President Gorbachev for Summiting Everest and was a
national hero in his homeland. The greatest of these achievements were not known to the
However, Sergis new wife had a dream, to
become the first American woman to Summit Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen.
This dream was not hidden. If Fran could become the first American woman to Summit Everest
without the use of supplemental oxygen, she would be famous.
To be continued .
Daily News: 10/18/99 Report
Everest Autumn 99:
Heavy snow has hit BC in the last several days as many of
you know. EverestNews.com does not track BC treks, therefore
EverestNews.com has no information on BC trekkers. However, the only climbers we
know of that have had problems in the last several days are 2 German who were trekking to Dhaulagiri that have been missing since Wednesday
German who were trekking to Dhaulagiri that have been missing since Wednesday
from Myagdi district, northwest of Kathmandu. The missing German trekkers are
Annegret Winkler and Franc Peter Zuenderh. Their whereabouts and condition are not known.
Snow in the Autumn is not usual.
BC Pictures from EXPEDICIΣN CASTELLANO LEONESA AL EVEREST 1999 Expediciσn
Samuel Rubio http://server3.servicios.retecal.es/everest99/
Ang Rita Sherpa, the great climber who has
reached the Summit of Everest ten times, was admitted to the hospital for treatment for a
possible case of tuberculosis. Ang Rita became sick in his home and was admitted to
the hospital a week ago.
The Snow Leopard, climbed Everest the last time in
No word from Chris and Brad as they were planning on
attempting Shishapangma via the 1990 Swiss/Polish route which Alex Lowe was lost on.
EverestNews.com has a great project in the planning
stage . But before it can begin another one must end .
Everest Spring 98
"The story that must be told."
They were called Romeo and Juliet of the Cold War.
To give us an insight into what happened on Everest Spring
98, lets first look at who these climbers were.
You know her as Fran .
Francys Yarbro Distefano-Arsentiev was born Francys Yarbro
on January 18th 1958 in Honolulu Hawaii to John Yarbro and his wife Marina
Garrett. At six her father took her to the Colorado Mountains. She was forever hooked.
Growing up she attended school at TASIS, The American School
in Switzerland as well as school in the US. Fran attended Stephens College before
graduating from the University of Louisville. She then received a Masters degree
from the International School of Business Management in Phoenix. Fran found a way to
return to Colorado in the mid 80s and became a business accountant in Telluride
Her father was from Columbia; her mother, we are told, now
lives in Lexington KY. She had a son, Paul of Telluride Colorado. Paul now lives with his
father in Telluride.
In 1992 she married Sergi (Serguei) Arsentiev.
Fran climbed many of the Russian peaks including the first
ascent of Peak 5800m (with Sergi, they named it Peak Goodwill) as well as Denali via the
West Buttress. Fran became the first US woman to ski down Elbrus. She reached the top of
both the east and west summits of Elbrus.
Her mountaineering record continued to grow....
But she had a dream, to become the first American woman to
Summit Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen. A goal which some thought
Her death was listed as May 23 in the obituaries in the US,
stories in the local papers, and many other places. Suppose they know now she really died
on May 24th ???
That is one of the many questions: "Why would the world
not know when the first American woman to Summit Everest without the use of supplemental
oxygen died?" This question will be answered .
To be continued .
EverestNews.com does not have the time
not the talent to write this story, but we know it must be done. Our
Russians friends frankly do not understand why Americans "do not get it". We
have some ideas: "American need the dots connected and the first story is usually the
one remembered." We ask for your patience and understanding as EverestNews.com attempts to tell this story. Our journey will be difficult. We
encourage Your e-mails with questions, but please understand we cannot answer them as
there is simply not enough hours in the day. Some have asked why we don't just publish the
whole story. That one is easy. For it is not yet written.... With the assistance of our
Russian friends and many climbers who were on Everest in 1998, we will try to connect as
many dots as we can for you. Along the way, you will understand some of what
EverestNews.com has been doing, as we tell that side of the story also. Then You draw the
Canadian Climber: Bernard Voyer, "1999 Expedition Everest"
reached the Summit of Everest in Spring 1999. This is his Q&A...
Q.) Tell our readers a little more about You, Bernard. What
do you do for a living?
A.) Having a dream! Between my expeditions, I give
conferences for enterprises and schools. (see the link in our web site).
Working as a speaker is very important for me since it is my source of revenue and
it helps to finance my expeditions.
I love to communicate and be able to meet thousands of
people every year, with whom I share my passion of adventure. My life is well
balanced between my adventures, my communications and my work-outs.
Q.) And what are your goals?
A.) I have always dreamt of pitching my tent on the largest
lands of ice on our planet. Dreamt of Everest because of its fabulous symbol, the
highest mountain on earth, but mostly because it would be cold and that I would see
marvelous glaciers. Today I know the three poles and I still dream of climbing other
mountains. We are nourishing a project for next spring, we will you tell about it
when it is confirmed.
Q.) How was it climbing Everest with your wife at BC ?
A.) It was marvelous to climb with my wife at base camp.
We work together and she organizes and co-ordinates my expeditions.. She was
at base camp in 1997 as a manager, in South Pole she managed the logistics and in
Greenland she staid a full month in Nuuk the capital. Knowing that she is waiting
for me and that at every moment she is there to assure my security gives me a lot of
energy. She always supports me and I am lucky not to have to negotiate each of my
departures. We do our training together and we climb more and more often together,
and next spring project is her project.
Q.) What was it like climbing with Goran Kropp?
A.) He is a fantastic guy. We did not discuss about
mountains but more about my success of reaching South pole. This is his next goal.
He his suppose to come to Montreal to discuss about it. We shared my
gastronomic freeze dried meals, which he appreciated.
Q.) Tell us about Summit day ? Did you know for sure you
were going the night before ? How did summit day go ?
A.) We were suppose to go on the fourth of May to the
summit, but the weather predictions were not good and we decided to stay at camp IV
to sleep at 8,000 meters and make the attempt on the fifth. Most of the climbers
quit and returned to camp II. Pete Athans and his team-mate and sherpas stayed with
Goran and Renata and two climbers who returned at south summit with sherpas and Elsa the
Mexican with the American girl and the guide Andy and also with an English man and my team
Dorjee, Chouangba and I.
I left South col at 11:00 and arrived at the summit at
12:10, it was long we had to wait and wait for fixed ropes and back to camp IV at 18:00.
Q.) On the way down from the Summit, how hard was it ?
A.) On the way down, I was exhausted like everyone and I had
a little problem with my eyes. I also had no oxygen to sleep and to get down.
Q.) Was it a real plus, being at Everest a second time ?
A.) Yes, experience counts a lot, I was faster this year and
I knew a part of the route and I felt more secure on ladders etc. . .
Q.) How is Renata Chlumska doing ? Sounds like she had a
hard climb...How hard of time did she have...
A.) About Renata, she made it with Goran, both using oxygen.
Renata was strong and really well prepared. At the beginning of the
expedition she had little problem with acclimation but after everything went well.
8.) What was your most interesting climber on Everest ?
Inaki the Spanish climber. He is funny and human.
I have spent quality time with him in 97 and last spring. Strong and fast.
He would deserve to make it. He was strong enough but not lucky with the
weather. He is now in Himalaya for another big climb. We wish him the best of
I was met in 97. Two Italians climbers world renowned
, Fausto Stefani and Sergio Martini both completed the fourteen 8 000 meter summits.
EverestNews.com plans to go slow on this story,
with the hope that this complex story can be understood. The
conclusions however, will need to be Yours, as EverestNews.com does not intend to place
blame, assign guilt or point fingers at any climbers for the loss of
these two great climbers. EverestNews.com feels strongly that
one takes their own life into their own hands when one chooses to enter into H.A.
Went finished we believe You will understand
why EverestNews.com has waited so long to publish this story. Frankly, this is a strong
powerful very sad story, like none we have seen before. It is a story you should think IF you want to read... Everytime we
touch it, we become overcome by it...