When the expedition was over he returned to Russia, and soon afterwards obtained his diploma as a mining engineer. I did not see him again for three years, but thanks to our uninterrupted correspondence we did not lose touch with each other. Karpenko also corresponded during this period with other members of the Seekers of Truth with whom he had become friends.
At the end of these three years he became a full member of our original society, and from then on took part in several serious expeditions of ours in Asia and Africa.
It was during one of these big expeditions, when we were intending to cross the Himalayas from the Pamir region to India, that the incident occurred which was the cause of his premature death. From the start we had encountered great difficulties. In our journey up the northwestern slopes of the Himalayas, while crossing a steep mountain-pass, a large avalanche buried us all in snow and ice. With much effort all but two of us extricated ourselves from beneath the snow. Although we dug out the two others as fast as we could, they were already dead. One of them was Baron X, an ardent occultist; the other, our guide, Karakir Khaïnu.
By this misfortune we lost not only one of our good friends, but also a guide who knew the locality very well.
By the way, it must be said that the entire region between the Hindu Kush mountains and the great Himalayan range, where this accident took place, is a maze of narrow, intersecting gorges, the most bewildering of all the formations of similar cataclysmic origin on the surface of our planet over which we ever had to wander. These regions seem to have been intentionally made so confusing and complicated by the Higher Powers in order that not a single human being should ever dare to try to find his way through them.
After this accident, which deprived us of our guide, who was considered even among his own people as the one who knew best all the corners and windings of these regions, we wandered for several days, searching for a way out of this inhospitable place.