Mount Elbrus, the Highest Mountain in Europe

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Climbing Mount Elbrus in Russia is meant to be a breeze. Well, from the South route anyway. The north route on this mountain is a completely completely different problem. A correct mountaineering expertise not like say Kilmanjaro.

Climbing Elbrus includes fairly a little bit of preparation from a bodily, psychological and logistical standpoint.

A typical Elbrus journey itinerary

Apparently strolling to Russia may take fairly some time. So you’ll need to make one other plan to improvise. the greatest type of transportation being what fashionable man calls the aeroplane. Upon arrival in the superior metropolis of Moscow the enjoyable and video games start. The first problem is discovering a taxi. Once you’ve finished that, the activity of explaining your vacation spot and negotiating a worth is subsequent in your listing. Not a straightforward activity when nobody speaks English. The drive by way of to central Moscow takes about 1.5 hours. The airport is about 50km outdoors of central Moscow and the visitors is a nightmare. Upon arrival in the lodge, its a fast vodka, bathe and… time to hit the streets of Moscow. And do not attempt to hit them too arduous as chances are you’ll come off second greatest. There are some fairly cool eating places the place you’re confronted with one more problem. You might be required to barter your means round a menu in Russian and waiter who, you guessed it, solely speaks Russian. What we recommend you do is shut your eyes, transfer your finger up and down the menu and the place ever your finger stops… order that. Oh, and do not forget the vodka. After dinner, just a little ramble as much as the Red Square to see the Kremlin is certainly in order. Please don’t attempt to spray-paint your identify on the Kremlin partitions. Somehow the Russian secret service doesn’t approve of this sporting exercise.

An early day I’m afraid. Well, I’m probably not afraid as days are nothing to be afraid of. The Russian Mafia is one thing to be afraid about, however I’ll depart that story for an additional time. The flight to Mineralyne Vody leaves at 12H00 arriving at 14H00. Upon arrival, we load up the gear onto the bus and take the 1 hour drive by way of to an superior city referred to as Kislovodsk the place we examine into our lodge for the night. Once checked in, we hit the city for dinner adopted by a vodka or 10. If you aren’t in mattress by 12H00, please come again to the lodge. Breakfast is served. Well this isn’t tennis. We are right here to climb Elbrus bear in mind. You get your personal breakfast. After loading the 4×Four automobiles, we take the Three hour drive by way of to base camp which is nestled at the base of Elbrus. Why did you assume it was referred to as bases camp? Because the camp is dwelling to many night time golf equipment that use extra base in their music? or is it as a result of the camp is dwelling the Revlon’s make up manufacturing? Nope. Sorry to disappoint you on this one. Base camp in this occasion refers to our base for the Elbrus climb. The drive into base camp is each spectacular and nerve racking. The roads have been carved into the mountains leaving vertical drops of as much as 200m. The tracks solely enable for one car at a time. It is secure to say, that nobody interferes with the driver at this stage of the recreation. The nation aspect out right here is so distant. The solely cause there could be anybody on the roads was to climb Elbrus. Being early in the season, we encountered nobody. Once we arrived in camp, we arrange the tents, of loaded our gear and made for the mess tent for our first style of mountain food-cabbage soup. Base camp of Elbrus is located at 2400m.

After lunch we went on a Four hour stroll round the surrounding foothills. The two headed Elbrus dragon at all times maintaining a watchful eye on us. The space is well-known for its pure springs. The water is the greatest water you’ll ever get to style. We got here throughout just a few of the springs the place the water bubbles out. The weirdest factor is that the water is glowing. Don’t ask me how that occurs. Do I appear like a geologist? however man, the greatest tasting water I’ve ever had. Dinners on Elbrus are carried out in the mess tent. Conducted in the mess tent? What the hell? Couldn’t consider a extra applicable phrase, so take care of it. If I had spent extra time considering it, I’m positive I may have provide you with a greater phrase, however I’ve a appointment to get to and do not have the time. OK, so the mess tent. Yip, a spot the place we have now dinner. And after dinner, its playing cards and a few actually superior dialog with folks from throughout the world with the identical pursuits and ambitions-to climb Elbrus. The substances to climbing mountains like Elbrus contains persistence, dedication, perseverance, self perception, bodily energy, being in the proper place at the proper time and oh sure, the strategy of acclimatisation. Today, we had been going check out the latter of the ingredients-acclimatisation. We took a Four hour hike up a spot referred to as the mushroom rocks that are located at 3400m. A fairly straightforward day with some spectacular view. We are just under the snow line, so not too chilly. After lunch, we head on right down to base camp. With a while to waste we had been challenged by the native Russian guides to a recreation of soccer. Playing soccer at 2400m continues to be going to go away you fairly winded. We misplaced 3-1.OK, so that is the place the true substances of mountaineering will begin to be added to the pot of climbing Elbrus. Are goal of today was to arrange excessive camp. Basically what we have to do is carry our gear as much as excessive camp. High camp is located at 3800m. We use today not solely to hold a few of our gear, however as an acclimatization climb as properly. Our packs weighed about 20kg and included all our excessive altitude mountaineering gear like crampons, ice axes, thermal gear, down jackets and a packet of peanuts for the snow monkeys that don’t exist. Today is a difficult day. Not solely due to the weight of the backpack, but additionally the chilly and the angle of ascent. the final a part of the climb additionally sees us forging by way of waist deep snow to achieve excessive camp. And man is snow an power drainer. Once in excessive camp, we off load, have some lunch and head on right down to base camp. As talked about earlier, to climb mountains like Elbrus you want just a few key substances. Today you’ll need to money in in your psychological reserves. The day type of pans out the identical as day 5. Yip, we load up our backpacks with the gear we’d like for prime camp and make the 5 hour trek as much as excessive camp. today does check you. Why, the man in the again row screams out. Well as a result of it might have been the third time that you’re going up the identical route. The logical a part of your close to frozen cerebral stump doesn’t perceive why and tries to inject your physique with a flood of unfavourable feelings. Pa for the course the consultants reckon. But what if ma decides to stroll on the course? Will that impact the course of? 5 hours later and we’re sitting in excessive camp of Elbrus having fun with some heat cabbage soup and our groans and mumbles of the day have been lengthy forgotten.

Today sees up taking a vital acclimatization climb as much as a positioned referred to as Lenz Rocks which is located at 4600m. The route is infamous for its crevasses and lots of a climber have misplaced their lives on this part. for that reason we climb alpine fashion. All of us are clipped into one another through a rope. The thought is that if somebody falls right into a crevasse the weight of the different climbers ought to cease them from falling all the means in. And crevasses are fairly arduous to detect. What occurs is that the snow that falls creates a ‘bridge’ of snow over the crevasse. Sometimes once you stroll on them and they don’t seem to be that thick, the weight of the climber will trigger the snow bridge to break down. Besides the crevasses, immediately is fairly difficult. The snow is knee deep which will get fairly exhausting to do particularly when the results of altitude and the chilly begin to take impact on a climbers physique. But as soon as once more, perseverance and sheer will energy sees us siting at Lenz Rocks having fun with the view. After lunch its again right down to excessive camp with the anticipation of a relaxation day.

Today sees us simply chilling out and recovering. We spend the day consuming, sleeping and enjoying playing cards. The goal is to construct up some power reserves for the last summit night time. AAhhh, the last summit night time. Something, that’s on everybody’s thoughts. Elbrus boasts one among the longest summit nights on any mountain.

Summit day. One of the risks on Elbrus is the excessive climate circumstances. We had been all fairly apprehensive as there was heavy snowfall on our relaxation day and we had been anxious that it might worsen, thus hampering our summit try. We checked the climate at 12 a.m. and made the name. time to make like a Jewish foreskin and be off. Getting kitted up, espresso and a fast chew to eat took about an hour. We had been on the ice by 1.am. Our first port of name being the Lenz rocks at 4600m. The climb to Lenz took us about Four hours. A fast break and we headed off to our subsequent waypoint at 4900m. We took a temperature studying right here and located it to be -25 levels Celsius. One the group was beginning to get frostbite on his fingers. We helped with hand heaters and an additional pair of gloves. As for myself, I may really feel the numbing feeling in my toes as they began to freeze. Something that began to gnaw at the again of my thoughts. Our subsequent slog took us to 5200m. The space is know as the saddle and is the ‘saddle’ between the 2 peaks of Elbrus. We took a 30 min break and began our last slog up a 50 diploma strong ice slope that results in the summit. OK, I can not say it was precisely 50 levels as I forgot to convey my protractor with and my information of indirect angles is frightening. he group census agreed on 50 levels so there!!A spot the place you do not need to fall as one can find your self sliding all the means right down to the backside of the slope. Most of the group the place fairly robust till 5400m. From there on in, it was welcome to Zombie land. The altitude, chilly, and pure exhaustion was beginning to take its toll. These are the second that requires your deepest mensal expertise. Your physique us crying out so that you can flip round. Your coronary heart is saying no means. You are strolling a assume line between, life and loss of life. Once foot in the residing. One foot in the useless. Being at altitude is fairly bizarre. It is like you’re on one thing. And we do not imply the mountain either-that’s apparent. Its like you’re floating. Tying your shoelaces turns into a problem as you’ll be able to’t bear in mind how. Anyway, After what looks as if an eternity, we attain the summit. Our time of summit is 15H00. We began our summit at 01H00. 14 hours to the summit and we’re solely half means. The descent takes about 6 hours. We had been a bit involved as a snowstorm was brewing and it might be darkish in a few hours. Luckily for us a field of ping pong balls was taking care of Elbrus for the week they usually gave us some magic mud that made us all make it again to excessive camp alive.

Today was a late begin. Not positive why given our straightforward climb the day earlier than. We packed up or gear and made the 6 hour trek right down to Elbrus base camp. Our common pack weight was about 35kg as we needed to take all of our gear down in one shot as an alternative of two. Once we reached base camp, it was Russian Vodka time!!!

We took the Four hour drive again to Kislocodsk, examine into the lodge and loved our first bathe in 10 days. after which guess what occurred? Russian Vodka time once more!!!

The firm that assist your Elbrus climb a hit is www.elbrus.co.za

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