Alex Maznev RIP!

Alex cutting a giant mushroom for on the pizzaI’m deeply saddened about the news that has just been confirmed. My friend Alex Maznev has been killed by an avalanche on the 22nd of july with two other Chilean climbers on the slopes of Piramide de Garcilaso ( 5.885 m) in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range of Peru’s central Andes.

I met Alex this winter in El Chalten,Patagonia. In the two months I was there we spend a lot of time together. On the day we arrived Alex was in the mountains. On one of the few good weather days he climbed the Comesana-Fonrouge on Aguja Guillaumet. He came back with tangled hair, his glasses tilted and his hands severely scratched and a shining, blissful look in his eyes. Proudly he told about the climb and the joy of being there in the mountains. In the following weeks we ate innumerable amounts of self-made pizza’s. We just loved it! Afterwards we smoked tobacco on the porch with Hugo. But, as you told me, only tobacco without preservatives!! Alex talked about his adventures in Torres del Paine and about Alaska, where he lived. There he had a bad accident with a stove that caused severe scars on his hands, arms and face. This caused some trouble with rock-climbing but Alex never ever complained. One night Alex came into the hostel with a big bucket of ice-cream of Domo Blanco’s. He shared it with everybody in the hostel :) Alex climbed Superdomo and came back with a soaked down-jacket. Alex showed me the long boulder-traverse which he could climb up and down on his bare-feet! Alex convinced me to climb up a buttress to get a better angle while taking pictures of Alec climbing this stunning rock face. You we’re right Alex, the pictures turned out great!!

 

In January Alex tried to convince me to come along to Chili Chico for some stellar crack-climbing. Unfortunately I wanted to sit out the last weather window that seemed to be on the horizon. But we met again in Frey! Here you waited in the night for Zhen and me to come back from a long climbing day. “Hey Niek”! A headtorch blinded me before I saw the big smile on Alex’s face, what a surprise! The next day we climbed Aguja El Abuelo in the scorching sun and in the evening we enjoyed the ever changing colours of the lake and the rocky peaks surrounding it. We finished the day in style with pizza, beer and some tobacco :) The next morning you made me coffee before I set of in the dawn of day to catch my flight back to the winter on the northern hemisphere.

Alex and Zhen having breakfast in Frey

How was the rest of the trip in Frey Alex? Did you ever tried to apply for work again? ;) Man you lived the dream and enjoyed life to the max! And as you wrote me it would have been awesome to run into each other again in the future. But for now we have to postpone that. Alex you have a great heart and personality and you were inspirational for me. I will truly miss you. Take care my friend!

Alex and me on top of El Abuelo after climbing El Techo

Alex and me on top of El Abuelo after climbing El Techo

My last message from Alex:
Hey man, good climbing – would be awesome to run into you somewhere in the future. Translated this poem of M.Y. Lermontov’s during my 10 hours on the dusty road past Gualjaina – thought you might enjoy it. Take care,

Alex

 

Rendezvous
    
    1.
Already beyond the misty mountains
    The evening light is dim,
Barely a passing sparkle
    Alights the rolling stream;
The gardens are filled with air
    Freshened, sweet and chill,
Tbilisi: shrouded in silence there,
    The valleys are dark and still.
The sinful person’s sleep
    With tormenting dreams is haunted,
And guardian-angels keep
    Watch over little babes.

    2.
There beyond an old citadel
    Along a gloomy hill crest
Under a young sycamore
    Upon a rug I make my rest.
I lie alone and wonder:
    “Was it a dream – that I did see
A rendezvous in this grim night
    You had arranged with me?
And in this hour mysterious
    But for sweeter still for love,
You, my one and only,
    are what I’m dreaming of.”

    3.
Below the only the watch lights
    Glimmer along the bridge,
And church-steeples in the night
    Stand as guardsmen in the dark;
And with a wary stride
    From saunas on all sides
Emerge as links of white
    Pairs of Georgian wives;
There along a deserted street
    They plod, passing through…
But under the long chadar
    I cannot recognize you!..

    4.
Your house with it’s flat roof
    I spy from far away;
The porch with a rickety step
    Moves with the river sway;
Among the coolness airing
    As the blue Kura flows,
Around your house a green
    Net of climbing ivy grows;
Beyond a tall aspen tree,
    Your window pane I mark…
Only without a single candle
    It is entirely dark!

    5.
I wait, I’m dazed, confused,
    My gaze is at a loss:
With a dagger from impatience
    In the rug I’ve carved a cross;
I wait with fruitless longing,
    A heavy, unrelenting grief…
The cold breeze from the east
    Does not bring relief.
Mountain peaks beyond the mist
    Glint red – it’s almost day,
From the city, merchant’s caravans
    Emerge upon their way.

    6.
Away, away, shameful tear,
    Burn, my soul, shake!
It was a black betrayal,
    I know it you snake!
I know with what glad tidings
    Along the cobbled way
Galloped as if a madman
    A young Tatar yesterday.
It’s no chance he dallies
    Beside your window wide
And even your father fancies
    The Persian steed he rides.

    7.
I’ll take a long barrelled rifle
    And venture from the city gates
To where under a desert cliff
    A narrow turn awaits.
Till mid-day by the cemetery
    Chapel – I will laze
Then onto the dusty road
    My rifle I will raise.
In vain the chest is heaving!
    Among the rocks, my aim is true;
Che! hoove-beats are nearing…
    Bastard! I see it’s you!
    
    M.Y. Lermontov, 1841.

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