16 May / My friend Alexei Bolotov…gone

Many events have transpired since my last dispatch, but the most important at hand is the death of my friend and climbing partner Alexei Bolotov yesterday. I feel that far more appropriate words can be written about Alexei than I am capable of right now- my fingers simply hover over the keyboard with tears and disbelief- but I will share with you some great memories of Alexei in the future. For now, sadness reigns in my heart over his loss, and my thoughts are with his wife, family, friends, and also with Denis Urubko.

I’ve asked my family to post a few pictures of us together, and you can find more images of Alexei in the Annapurna 2008 and Gasherbrum I 2010 image galleries on this website.

Alexei & Don, July 2010Alexei Bolotov, July 2010Alexei & Don, July 2010Alexei Bolotov, July 2010



(Click on pictures to enlarge)

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By Don Bowie in Blog
  • Eileen Bistrisky

    Deepest condolences. At a loss for words. Hugs from Vancouver. My thoughts are with you and Alexei’s friends and family.

  • Chris

    So sorry about the loss of your friend and climbing partner. Very heartbreaking. Please stay safe!

  • Dale Clymens

    A time to reflect and think about our own meeting with Jesus. Will he know me? It is the only chance I have.

  • Tom Bayes

    Hi Don,
    I am the interim pastor at your parent’s church. I follow your blog as well as your adventures. I am saddened by the death of your friend. I am sure it is a heartbreaking experience. A good skier friend of mine was killed a number of years ago skiing on Christmas Day. I still find it hard to believe that such an excellent skier could have lost his life on a ski slope.

    Please know I pray for your safety and for comfort in your loss.


  • timothy killian

    So sorry for your loss

  • Marilyn Towndow

    Such a devastating loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue on your journey.

  • Sandy Stensland


    I am so sorry to hear this very sad news. I’m keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers that God will comfort and walk close to you.

  • Betty bowiev

    Please stay safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with you land also our love
    May god protect you

    Betty Bowies

  • Sarah Short

    Don… remember him, and what he said to you. Take it to heart, and let it lift you through your sorrow and tears.

  • Ely

    Very Sorry Don, it’s a really hard loss… I heard from Dani Ochoa de Olza, friend of mine here in spain. Mountain take the best people to her…please try to stay safe. Best wishes,


  • Greta Mikan

    Dearest Don!
    My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to you and Alexei’s Family…may you find peace n comfort…
    I pray to meet him in heaven one day!
    My prayers continue for you n your journey!
    blessings from Vienna

  • Drew Simmons

    DB … so sorry for your loss.

  • David Falt

    Dear Don

    Stay safe its so sad but I know Alexei must have many found memories of you with him. May he R.I.P and much love to his family.


  • Ru

    Dear Don,

    I’m so very sorry to hear of this tragic loss of your good friend. My heart and prayers go out to you and all friends and family of Alexei in your grief and anguish. I know you have been through many things together, good and bad. Remember them well. Love and prayers. Peace and protection.


  • Wendysue

    Don, I didn’t know what to write or even if I should. The air left my lungs when I checked your blog this morning. I am so very very sorry. I can say though that Alexei has a wonderful new friend to watch over him now, my brother Jake. You describe him the way I do my Jakers, my idol, my strength , my anchor and my best friend. It has been 15 years since he left to watch over me and I ask that now they both watch over you and keep you safe . My brother is the one always laughing so loud… And I am sure still eating. Come back safe Don.

  • Guy McKinnon

    Dear Don…

    I was very saddened to hear of the passing of your dear friend Alexei…my thoughts are with you. Kia Kaha…Stay Strong, as we say in NZ…

    Kind Regards
    Guy McKinnon

  • Willard Petersen Holland Landing

    I was told many years ago the ways and transgressions of life are exceedingly difficult. My condolences. Alexei’s spirit will guide you the rest of the way.

  • Erin Hand


    Words are barely a comfort with such a loss. However, I think John Gillespie Magee, Jr.’s poem “High Flight” is so eloquently written, and gives me a bit of visualization for what you and Alexei have experienced together. May God comfort you and Alexei’s family, and give you peace with knowing he inspired so many.

    “Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
    and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
    wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
    Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
    and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

    “Up, up the long delirious burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
    where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
    and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

  • John Evans

    Hi Don:
    I watched a video of you and Alexei joking-around at a high-altitude camp. It’s easy to see why you’ll miss him. Be safe…

  • pedro

    mi mas sincero pesame para la familia de alexei.en la vida intentamos hacer siempre lo que mas nos gusta para darle un sentido a nuestras vidas,alexei perdio la vida haciendo una cosa que el amaba,vivió como el quiso intensamente.en cierto modo le envidio.descanse en paz!!!

  • Barbara Overgaard

    Don, I was so sorry to hear of this tremendous loss. So difficult for you and Alexei’s family and friends. Grace, peace, comfort to you. The Lord is with you. Barb

  • Lidia Espinosa

    Today I saw (in Spain) the documentary about the rescue attempt of Iñaki Ochoa. When looking for information on the Internet I find the news of the death of Alexei. It makes me sad that a good man is gone.

  • Ignacio Corrionero Sánchez

    We need more “Alexeis” in the World!!!!

  • Lauren

    Sending you love and prayers and my deepest condolences over the loss of your friend and partner. Peace be with you as your journey continues.

  • Juan Manuel

    Siento mucho la pérdida de Alexei.
    Ánimo para la familia y para Don desde España.

  • Darla Heil

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Don. My condolences are with you and with Alexei’s family and other friends. Please be well.

  • oliver

    Great man! It is neccesary a film for his memory

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