Climbed the normal route from Azau with climbing partners Ramon and Peter-Arjen.
Solo climb in two days. For photos and more informations (in German) see: http://www.hikr.org/tour/post7734.html
After an unsuccessful attempt 3 days earlier managed to reach the top on the 23rd of August. I was with a very good friend of mine and being on the top of Europe with someone important in your life is an amazing feeling :) I didn't know that there could be such a perfect weather up there - no wind and no clouds at all. We used the light package of Pilgrim tours so they helped a lot with the visa support and all the necessary paperwork. I highly recommend their services.
Climbed successfully from Azau, without cable cars or bobcats. First night in Barrels, next two night at Prijut 11 in the tent.
Ascent start 0:15am, summit 6:50am, back 12:30pm.
Had planned to climb both summits but was whisked up 2 days after climbing Kazbek so was too tired in the end. That said took a snowcat, which was an experience and then was first to the top (by about an hour) and saw the sunrise from the top. Not a particularly interesting mountain of itself but the views over the rest of the Caucasus were spectacular (including as far as Kazbek). Doing the Elbrus Cross might be more of a challenge for the budding alpinist.
A bit of unrest from family and friends leading to the climb due to political reasons, but positive thinking leads to a great expedition. Great teammates including long lasting mountaineering partners on other peaks around the world. Enjoyed perfect weather known as the "Walley's Window" which proved true. He is coming to the next Denali expedition as well!
I climbed Mount Elbrus with Pilgrim Tours, and we successfully summitted despite snow, wind, and near white-out conditions. The skies cleared up as we made it to the saddle, and we had a great view at the top. I will keep this log short and simple, but if you would like to read my extensive trip report (with tons of photos), you can view it at http://www.greenadrenaline.com/blog/off-to-russia.
Unsupported five day trip along Iryk-chat valley and Askeryakol Lava Flow. On the fourth day we traversed the south side of East Peak and pitched tents in the upper part of pastukhova Rocks. Last day we went along normal route to the West Peak and descended to Azau.
I summited Elbrus on an 8-day tour with Pilgrim Tours, a company that I would highly recommend to all who are looking for an operator on this peak. The hotel in Terskol was excellent, the food was pretty good, and the portions were more than enough.
Before going to Elbrus I attempted Mont Blanc with my friend to acclimatize but did not manage to get past the Grand Couloir due to rockfall. Afterward we went to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, arriving in Mineralnye Vody on Friday (August 14) at noon.
After a 4 hour drive from the airport, via Pyatigorsk and Baksan we made it to Terskol. If driving solo there are a lot of police pulling over people and checking papers at checkpoints. The driver seemed to know all the cops though so it was no issue.
Saturday: Took the chairlift from Terskol up to about 3000 m on Cheget, and hiked an hour to 3500 m. A very easy day.
Sunday: Move bags to Barrels huts, hiked to Pashtuhov Rocks but had to turn back because a storm was coming in. Later we heard that some Polish climbers were lost in the storm. Stayed in the huts, which was not very comfortable. If I were to climb Elbrus again I could bring a thermarest to use in the huts.
Monday: Because we did not get to 4700 m (the top of Pashtuhov Rocks) the previous day, we hiked up to the lower part of the rocks at 4500 and turned back. Got some rest before summit day.
Tuesday: Got up at midnight, breakfast at 12:50, and took the snowcat to 4700 m at 2 am (it cost 600 euros for the group of 15 people). Our group voted to take the snowcat because the afternoon was supposed to be stormy. The snowcat had no cab, so we sat outside and it was cold except for the hot diesel fumes that blew all over us.
At 2:30 we got to 4700 m and began the ascent. It wasn't as cold as I'd expected, maybe -10 C and -20 C windchill. My water bottles in my pack (stored upside down in my spare layer) did not freeze at all. The guides said it was very cold so it might be colder than usual here, I'm not sure. The wind picked up at 4 am, up to perhaps 50 kph and gusts a bit higher, but settled down to 40 or so for the rest of the day, with higher gusts on the summit. I confirmed these numbers with the weather report after the ascent.
The route was very busy, and we were constantly passing people going both up and down. By 7 am we reached the saddle (5300 m), with a surprising amount of elevation loss.
The next section to the fixed ropes was very steep and slow going. By this point I was feeling the altitude but was close enough that I was determined to summit. We reached the fixed lines that can be seen from the saddle, and after 300 m were on the summit plateau. There were so many people on the fixed lines with only a carabiner that a fall would have pulled 10 or so people onto a single anchor. It didn't seem very safe. A jumar or tibloc would probably be a better tool, but it wasn't even that difficult to warrant any equipment.
20 minutes later we were on the summit, got the summit pics, and descended after 15 minutes. As I began feeling better about being at a lower altitude I felt a dehydration headache coming on.
We descended to the Pashtuhov Rocks, and a couple members of the group voted to take a snowcat down so we took it. It cost 2000 rub per person. A solo climber could also take a snowmobile down the mountain for 2000-4000 rub. A bunch of them were waiting for climbers at the rocks.
At the huts we had the choice to stay the night there or descend to Terskol. We chose to descend but the upper chairlift was broken from the lightning storm a couple nights ago. But the guide got a lorry to take us down to the middle station for 300 rub each.
All in all, a good ascent. With the snowcat it was not too tough, and I was surprised how easily we did it considering our acclimatization.
Cloudy and cold on ascent, on descent we were caught by thunderstorm and snowfall - so a bit scary :)
But everyone successfully reach the camp.
Great mountain, summit with very good friend!
yes, It was really bad weather windy, snowy and off course cold....:)
Left Diesel at 7:10am and made summit at 12:30. Back down to Diesel at 1:50pm. Clear skies but cold and very high winds. The climb was the last peak (besides Beshtau) in my summer trip from Swiss to Russia via Turkey.
If it were not a 7 summit, not many would climb it. Pretty straightforward climb with only the altitude being a factor. Barrels were not as bad as I thought hey would be.. Scott
The guides did not insist on having an ice ax, but in the storm on icy slopes it would have been useful...
I got sick after cold wind to my sweat t-shirt and from drinking too much vodka. With changing fever and chills I turned back around 5200.
With -35° Celsius and Windgusts untill 90kmh
I stay in the top 11 a.m. Not good weather - windy and snow.
This was my first trip to a "big mountain". We were climbing in two days - one from Barrels to Diesel Hut and second day was our summit day, started 3:16am and reached the summit after 11 hours. The weather was perfect and I felt very exhausted during the ascent.
Summited the West peak on my third day, then a few days later the East peak.