Beshliaga Ruslan, brigade-leader of “Vysotnik” firm, city of Yuzhniy.

I came to Yuzhniy after military service and was absolutely unsure how to live next. 1994 was an uncertain time and I was young and careless. My mother has three sons and a daughter; therefore I could not rely upon her help. After I had been recommended to Slava Terzyul for industrial mountaineering works my life changed radically. I began to work with a team of climbers and understood that it is possible to earn good money honestly. And I fell in love with my work at once – it was varied and creative. This was probably due to Slava: he was a real leader – he could motivate us to work and inspire others with his enthusiasm. When we began to clean up our first vessels I could work two days and nights without rest and he gave me that energy.

Slava was a severe leader, he was able to manage and control. Climbing is climbing, but our work has its own particular skills. Not anyone could do this work even being an alpinist. Slava understood how to clean complex surfaces, how to move over them safely. “We achieve that which is beyond the strength of others” was the motto of our firm and it corresponded to the reality. When we were doing some difficult job Slava got on the harness and climbed to do the work by himself first. And he cultivated such a style in me – first try to do something by yourself then demand the same from others.


Cleaning of the vessel’s hold.

We fulfilled a big range of industrial mountaineering tasks: assembling/disassembling equipment, construction works, cleaning of holds, cleaning and repair of fronts of buildings, warm- and waterproofing, practically everything that was ordered. We were mobile, and speed with quality was our preference. Sometimes we had been called an “emergency” service. In 1995 after capital reconstruction of an ammonia workshop, during the launching of equipment the chimney pipe got black from gas leakage and it was necessary to clean it by morning. It happened in late autumn; we three together cleaned it overnight and by turns went to get warm. Later there was one more event: the electrical device in the emblem of the Odessa port plant was destroyed on the eve of the New Year. It stopped blinking then the flower with drop extinguished entirely. We put it in order despite a cold and stormy wind. The weather conditions for working were prohibited by industrial safety regulations. We had a lot of such situations and Slava always personally took part in the most difficult cases. In Yuzhniy we fulfilled civil emergency services as well. In Slava’s apartment building a boy fell down from a high story, and tried to penetrate into his flat without any special gear. Then we advertised our service by TV, and from any elevator it became possible to call in an emergency to “Vysotnik“ who at any time of day and night helped people to penetrate into flats and open the door. If the host could pay he did, if not our firm covered the expense. We even rescued cats from trees; I personally rescued three cats.

When we began, our team numbered only 6 people; now we have about 20 staffers and up to 60-70 freelances involved during top seasons for help. From around 1997 Slava mostly managed the work. At that time he had enough specialists taught by him personally and he trusted them entirely. Generally he treated us as a team led by him. He didn’t admit diseases at all and if a man fell ill it meant that he should take up a healthier mode of life. Swimming, sauna – everything was free of charge and he even levied a penalty on those who did not join in. For some time he unsuccessfully struggled for their attendance. Several times per year he forced workers semi- voluntarily, semi-compulsory to run a 20 km cross-country race. Winners were especially respected. Annually on May holidays he arranged training voyages to the rocks on the shore of Yuzhnuy on the Bug river, and the firm paid for transportation and food. Several times we traveled to the Carpathians with our families at the firm’s expense as well. Slava introduced many people to mountains and alpine skiing. I remember the first time we went to the Carpathians in winter to have a short rest and pass a route from Mt.Pop Ivan to Mt.Goverla. For me it was extremely difficult – all day we walked, it was very cold. We spent two nights in tents. He wanted us to understand real mountaineering, out of which came our industrial one. Later I climbed Mt. Goverla, Mt. Petros, and many other Ukrainian peaks many times. Twice I climbed Mt. Elbrus. Together with Slava and the guys from our firm we went to help with rescue work in the Caucasus: to seek for Nikolay Gorunov and his team.

Our firm covered not only travels but also assisted in purchases of flats and furniture for staffers. I am the third who was helped to buy a flat. Slava credited colleges for treatment and for some acquisitions. We had a guy with certain problems: he often got in trouble and we ransomed him – Slava also gave money for that. As for me, he insisted on my studying. I didn’t always have time for that. I was striving to work and make a lot of money, but he insisted. Now I am a student of the Institute of Construction engineering and the firm pays for my education. He directed us to colleges for seminars and accountant courses. He helped many people and did much good. However people are different – some were grateful, some took it as a matter of course.

Our firm covered not only travels but also assisted in purchases of flats and furniture for staffers. I am the third who was helped to buy a flat. Slava credited colleges for treatment and for some acquisitions. We had a guy with certain problems: he often got in trouble and we ransomed him – Slava also gave money for that. As for me, he insisted on my studying. I didn’t always have time for that. I was striving to work and make a lot of money, but he insisted. Now I am a student of the Institute of Construction engineering and the firm pays for my education. He directed us to colleges for seminars and accountant courses. He helped many people and did much good. However people are different – some were grateful, some took it as a matter of course.
And Slava himself didn’t like to depend upon anyone, for him to ask money was unacceptable. He preferred to earn or to suggest mutually beneficial projects to raise money. He always had a lot of ideas for business and he implemented many of them. Due to his character – taking care of people and ability to accomplish work – our enterprise grew and prospered. In recent times the annual revenue of our firm totaled 2-3 mln. grivna. We started to invest money in equipment, workshops, cars, compressors, and a truck crane. Slava gave credit for purchase of machines for the windows production unit and it was paid back completely. Now people live there and make good business. He took part in a project involving production of pavement bricks and steel-clad doors. And a special pride of Slava was the new office of “Vysotnik” designed in accordance with the latest European standards. In the basement under the office he equipped a trainer-simulator room and a rock climbing wall. In addition to that he planned to build a cafe with styled columns and stone vaults decorated with glass and metal. He wanted to take up it personally, it was his dream. In general Slava had many ideas for the future – a photo studio, an alpine ski center with artificial snow. Slava was a gifted organizer and manger. He never handed difficult issues over to others. He personally made decisions and was responsible for them. And he was unique because at the same time he was actively a world-famous high altitude mountaineer. As far as I know many famous climbers of the same level do not work at all nor engage in business. They are training professionally and provided with everything necessary by advertising companies. Slava earned money by himself and made many people’s living.