How I climbed Elbus summit
Mount Elbrus(height 5642m.) is the highest mountain in Russia and one of the 7th mountains. in 2012 I've climbed it on the 3rd try.
The trip took us about 7 days. We started from Moscow and got there on a card. The distance is about 1800km. At Baksan town we turned to the right, straight to the mountains. The road became more narrow and mountains started to appear. We drove alone canyon and Baksan river.
Staying at Terskol
We didn't book the hotel in front, so we spend a couple of hours looking for a hotel. In Terskol there is a big square, where main activities are happening. Here there is a market and all the restaurants and even some hotels. But we decided to stay little away from it.
Climbing Mt. Cheget
Anyone, even newbie in mountain tracking, knows, that it is important to get acclimatization when in the mountains. To get acclimatized we went to the mt. Cheget on a next day. Cheget's altitude is 3461, which makes it fine for acclimatization. There is 2 way to get on top: on foot or chair way. Chairs are old but still can do their job. The ride to the top takes about 30 minutes. There is an amazing view to Elbrus and other mountains. To improve the chances of getting on the Elbrus mountain it is better to go further and get to the end of the Cheget trail.
Cheget trail is short, just about an hour. There is an almost 360-degree viewpoint. When we met guys from another city, who planned to climb Elbrus in 2 days. We offered to go together and they agree. They were with a guide. The mountain is not hard, so there is no need in a guide to help there, but the profit of having a guide, that one knows everybody around there and can make arrangement for any service, like a snowcat ride or a place to live before submit. We ended the day in a local cafe getting to know our new partners in hiking.
Next day we started the climb. We wake up early and got to the cable car station on foot. Between the main village and cable car to Elbrus is only 4km, an hour walk. We choose to get to the top on cable car because we were short on time. Some people go by feet and think it is much harder. In my opinion, both ways are great. The ride top took us about 2-3 hours. The last way is old and slow. It is always a long line before it. I hope they will eventually rebuild it. We got to live in a barrel for the next 2 nights.
In the barrel, there is two bads and a big table in the middle. I didn't have any problem to sleep there.
After little rest, we decided to make a little hike up to 4500 meters for acclimatization. Acclimatization is important, but some people try to exaggerate it. If you don't feel great don't try to go farther thinking that it can help. So the next day we decided to make a little break and stay at the barrel.
The climbing day
We ordered a snowcat ride for 4 am. People, who go all on foot, start at 1 am.
Snowcat got us for 4700 meters. And we started to go up. The first hour we walk together as 6 people group. Before 5000 meters is usually not hard to hike, if in good condition and have good boots.
About 6 am it starts to dawn. The view of the main Caucasian ridge is magnificent. We didn't rush and enjoy the dawn. After the dawn break, we all split up to go at a different pace.
After 5000 meters starts the hardest and dangerous part of the hike. It is called "slanting shelf". The error on it could be fatal. The best way it is just to go slowly. In 2-3 hours it is possible to get to "saddle". Here is possible to choose to which summit to go. The western one has more altitude, so we went there. I spend an hour waiting for father, before starting going up. The weather was nice, so it was not a problem. It is usually about 0C at the top of Elbrus in good weather in July.
In two more hours, we got to the top. It was about 11 am. We spend about 10minutes making photos. I was happy. Finally, after 3 fails, I did it and climb the top of my first of the 7 summits.
It was an awesome climb. I recommend everybody to do it.
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