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Mountain Madness Climber

Elbrus Summit Dispatch!

(More pho­tos from this trip on our flickr and face­book pages)

We are back in Ter­skol after a suc­cess­ful trip. Steve Pig­ott, Joe DeHart and Hanse Ringstrom made the sum­mit under clear skies with windy con­di­tions on August 11th with local guide Soltan Kochkarev. Hon­or­able men­tion to Dave Smith for achiev­ing a new high point of 5000 meters.

We made our ini­tial ascent to the bar­rels in bad weath­er on the 8th of August. The 9th proved to be even worse than the day before as we made our ascent to Pas­takhov Rocks for acclima­ti­za­tion. After a well deserved day of rest at the bar­rels camp wait­ing for the weath­er to improve, the group got on the snow cat at 4 AM to begin our ascent to the sum­mit. It was ini­tial­ly very cold, but the snow was firm and made for easy cram­pon­ing up the slopes above the Pas­takhov Rocks. It was not until the head­wall below the sum­mit that progress became slow­er due to soft snow con­di­tions. As the team approached the sum­mit they were bat­tered by fierce wind that threat­ened to knock them down at every step. In the end they were vic­to­ri­ous, stand­ing on top of the high­est point in Europe. Mount Elbrus is 5,642 meters high. A wor­thy sum­mit for even expe­ri­enced climbers.

See you all next year in the Caucasus!

Geoff Unger
Bak­san Val­ley, Russia