It’s now Saturday evening , dashing from airports to buses to trains to finally arriving at the hands of a crazed Russian taxi driver, in what felt like a journey to the end of the earth, i finally arrived at the base of Europes biggest mountain, Mt Elbrus. And boy it didn’t disappoint, as it sat head and shoulders proudly towering above anything resembling a mountain.. it stood there big and loud with its two summits “west & east” above the clouds, white in its appearance the winds whipping a powered dusting owsin a majestic & magnificent presence….
The area is really rural and with local not uttering a word of English and my Russian equally as poor to non, it was back to that by now common hand signals , organising food and a coffee. The local currency been rubies it’s like been a millionaire with a 1000rubies aquatinting to vertually nothing in euros… arriving in I was met with my climb guide Vasily’s a Russian mountain native hardened face features paints a picture of a matured mountain goat with a wealth of high altitude mountaineering. It’s crazy it’s like stepping into a time machine russias so so different and without doubt well behind the faster developing nations. Roads housing infrastructures are well behind full of tradidition but i can’t but think with the Russian war money muscle it could be served better in deprividged areas. But here I’m not here to judge just delighted to finally be here ,this trips been on my horizon for quite a while but with a calling of other mountains and adventure challenges of late it had to take aback seat until now that is.
Checking into a local small mountain hotel it’s a gear check with Vasily and off to a Russian dinner of mixed veg in butter with beef of some type “dare not ask” but it was beautifully prepared by the hotel cool ,a older mother like figure, and it was delightful as she peeked her head around the kitchen corner seeking approval with was meet with a friendly thumbs up.
For now the evening has fallen here in Russia and it’s truly like Christmas Eve.
I’m like a kid in a sweet shop just waiting for it to open first thing in the morning, where i can chew on those sugar filled delights…. Tommorows plan 8am breakfast and onto the mountainn to move gear into position and start some rotational acclimatisation climbs conditioning the body for the super high altitudes later in the week. This beefing the biggest obstical as the climb is planned to be fast and aggressive in pace my tolerance to the lack of oxygen will determine how fast we move or how indeed how successful we are, avoid hypoxia (brain swelling or lungs filling with fluid) or indeed even the early signs of it is what we will be both looking to completely avoid. Forecast looks promising and good early in the week which is a welcomed environment to start with,the outlook for Thursday & Friday looks poor and that may make life challenging. I’m hoping to get updates out but let’s see how the tinter-net works if any.