Hristo Prodanov, the first Bulgarian to climb Everest and the first climber to scale West Ridge solo without the use of supplementary oxygen
Hristo Prodanov

On the 20th of April in 1984, Bulgarian climber Hristo Prodanov made history by becoming the first climber from his nation to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He also made history by becoming the first climber to ascend West Ridge without the use of supplemental oxygen. During his descent from the West Ridge, Prodanov tragically passed away for unknown reasons.
This episode has been causing a stir among people today, particularly since they are resonating with the words that the climber Radoslav from the First Bulgarian expedition repeated to Prodanov over the radio: “Do not fall asleep, you are a Bulgarian! You are the centre of attention, and people are running after you; please do not go to sleep!
There is a powerful feeling that accompanies the sacrifice of his buddy, the alpinist Lyudmil Yankov, who participates in the rescue effort to look for Hristo. During his quest for Prodanov, Lyudmil Yankov accomplished a remarkable feat by climbing a height of one thousand meters in a record amount of time. He is only able to locate his backpack. Despite the challenges, he does not retreat from his efforts.
In addition to becoming the thirteenth person (and the first person from the West Ridge) to climb Everest without the use of bottled oxygen, Prodanov was the first person to climb Everest in April, which is often considered to be an unsuccessful month for expeditions due to the weather conditions. He had to descend overnight after climbing the peak at 18:15 local time, and shortly after that, he became disoriented and lost his balance. The next day, he reported that he had misplaced his gloves and that he would soon be unable to press the radio button for a sufficient amount of time to communicate. Never once was his corpse discovered.

The beginning of Prodanov’s involvement with climbing occurred while he was still a student. It was in the year 1976 that he started working as a metallurgical engineer in Kremikovtzi AD. On August 6, 1967, he climbed Lenin Peak, which was his first ascent of more than 7,000 meters in height. A number of the peaks in the Alps had been conquered by him in the past.

The most significant achievements he achieved were connected to Hindu Kush (1976) and Lhotse. He made history by climbing Lhotse in 1981 without the use of any supplemental oxygen, making him the first Bulgarian to do so.

On the twenty-first anniversary of her uncle’s passing, his niece, Mariana Prodanova Maslarova, attempted to ascend Mount Everest without the use of any supplementary oxygen. Just twenty years and thirty days after her uncle, Maslarova passed away as a result of exposure at an altitude of 8,700 meters.

A memorial plate was placed at Thugla by friends and relatives in honour of this courageous individual who passed away unexpectedly. Due to the passage of time and the effects of the elements, the memorial plate finally became misplaced. This autumn, however, Christo and Dorte Enkov, who are friends of Pradanov and are from Denmark, decided to travel to Nepal to install a new memorial plate in honour of their friend who had passed away.
Exploring Himalaya was the company that arranged for them to go to Thugla and to EBC. After returning from Lukla, they stopped by our office to tell us about their trip and share their thoughts with us. And this is what they had to say about it:


8000m ascents

  • Lhotse (8516m) – 30 April 1981, solo, without supplemental oxygen
  • Everest (8848m) – 20 April 1984, solo, without supplemental oxygen

7000m ascents

  • Lenin Peak (7134m) – 2 August 1975, 28 July 1982, 6 August 1982, 13 July 1983, 2 August 1983
  • Communism Peak, today known as Ismail Samani Peak (7495m) – 29 July 1980, 24 July 1983
  • Peak Korzhenevskaya (7105m) – 28 July 1979, 31 July 1979, 8 August 1982, 29 July 1983
  • Noshaq (7492m) – 30 July 1976


  • North face of Matterhorn (4471m) – 21–26 September 1974, together with Trifon Djambazov
  • North face of Grand Jorasses on the Walker Spur (4208m) – 30 July – 1 August 1967, partnering with Atanas Kovandzhiev
  • Petit Dru (3733m), Bonatti route – 16–18 July 1967; “Route of Guides” – 3–8 September 1977
  • Mont Blanc (4807m), Freney Pillar – 15–16 July 1969


  • Pillar of Ushba – 25–28 July 1970
  • Traverse in Shkhelda (4320m) – 24 July – 1 August 1973


Prodanov received several awards, including:

  • No. 1 Bulgarian Mountaineer of the 20th century.
  • “Hero of People’s Republic of Bulgaria” (1984 – posthumously)
  • “Georgi Dimitrov” order (1981; 1984 – posthumously)
  • “People’s Republic of Bulgaria”, second class (1977)

He got lost on Good Friday before Easter and his body was never found

On Saturday, three rescuers made their way toward the pinnacle of Mount Everest to locate a fellow climber who had vanished immediately after he had conquered the highest mountain in the world on Good Friday.

Hristo Prodanov, who is 41 years old, became the first person to mount Everest without the use of oxygen by climbing up a challenging west ridge known as the “cruel way.” He reached the summit on Friday evening, which is 29,028 feet high.

The peak was summited by Prodanov, who was the first person to do so successfully. May was the month that documented all of the other spring victories.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the Bulgarian, whose first name means “Christ,” radioed his base camp four hours later to inform them that he had fallen to a height of 28,000 feet and intended to set up camp because it was growing dark.

Prodanov, an engineer who was originally from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, did not show up for work again within the subsequent twelve hours.

At an altitude of 25,000 feet, the rescue team consisting of three individuals started their ascent from the fourth camp of the trip. After they had reached the upper base, four other Bulgarians started climbing up from the second camp to take their position.

Prodanov is the first climber to spend the night on the west ridge, which had previously been successfully climbed by a Yugoslav team in 1979. Prodanov completed the climb that took place in 1979. On the other hand, that team utilized oxygen.

A significant number of climbers have made it through an overnight stay on the top parts of the southeast ridge of the mountain when temperatures were extremely low.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Prodanov, who was accompanied by a Sherpa guide, started his last push to the summit from a fifth assault camp that they had erected on Thursday at an altitude of 28,000 feet.

The Bulgarian opted to continue on his own, even though the guide, who was also without oxygen, had to turn back between the last camp and the summit for “technical reasons.”


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