Final arrangements are being made by Dream World Adventures for the Mt. Elbrus expedition! ‘Team Elbrus’ consists of myself, Christo Moller from Durban, Marisa Caroto and Erika Schwable from Hoedspruit, Heidi Marques and Eldaline Botha from Johannesburg, Deborah Dragone from Cape Town, and Rose Gardner, the group leader.
Last year, access to the South side of Mt. Elbrus was closed to tourists at the end of February and remained closed for the remainder of the season, forcing the 2011 team to attempt the summit from the North, and though a beautiful and purist route, it was significantly more difficult!
This year, the intention is to use the route from the South, and take two extra days, one for a hike in the nearby scenic Baksan Valley to stretch the travel-weary legs, and the other an added acclimatisation day going up to 4,050 m on Elbrus before we head for the mountain proper to begin our attempt.
According to Rose’s Russian counterpart who is in touch with the hotel and his friends in the Terskol Village in the South, the winter season has been very busy for them – thankfully! – and there’s been no talk of any closures for the upcoming climbing season. I’m hoping nothing changes to put a spanner in the works!
Our visas will be finalised in the first two weeks of June, so we’re nearly there!
Our rough plan of action for the trip
Sunday 29 July 2012
Arrive in Moscow; transfer from the airport to Izmaylovo Hotel; spend one night at the hotel.
Monday 30 July 2012
Have breakfast; then transfer from Izmaylovo Hotel back to the airport; fly to Moscow – Mineralnye Vody; transfer from Mineralnye Vody to Terskol Village (± 180 km); have dinner; spend the night at the Wolfram Hotel.
Tuesday 31 July 2012
Have breakfast; hike to the Cheget Glade (± 2,100 m); elevating by the Cheget Cableway to the upper station (± 3,050 m); hike up along the ridge or to the top of Mt. Cheget (3,410 m); come back to the hotel; lunch; dinner; the spend the night at the hotel.
Wednesday 1 August 2012
Breakfast; trekking in the Baksan Valley; lunch; dinner; night at the hotel.
Thursday 2 August 2012
Breakfast; transfer from hotel to Azau Glade; elevating by the Elbrus Cableway to the Garabashi Station (± 3,750 m); hike up to the ruins of the Priyut of 11 Hut (± 4,050 m); come back to the hotel; lunch; dinner; night at the hotel.
Friday 3 August 2012
Breakfast; transfer from the hotel to Azau Glade; elevating by the Elbrus Cableway to the Garabashi Station; hike up to the Blue Hut (± 4,080 m); spend the night at the hut.
Saturday 4 August 2012
Acclimatiaation hike up to the Pastukhov Rocks (± 4,700 m) and descent to the Blue Hut; spend the night at the hut.
Sunday 5 August 2012
Ascent of the Western (5,642 m) or Eastern (5,621 m) summit of Mt. Elbrus and descent to the Blue Hut; night at the hut.
Monday 6 August 2012
Coming back to the hotel; lunch; dinner; night at the hotel.
Tuesday 7 August 2012
Breakfast; free time in the Baksan Valley; lunch; dinner; night at the hotel / reserve day for the bad weather.
Wednesday 8 August 2012
Breakfast; transfer from Terskol Village to Mineralnye Vody; flight from Mineralnye Vody to Moscow; transfer from airport to Izmaylovo Hotel; spent night at the hotel.
Thursday 9 August 2012
Breakfast; transfer from Izmaylovo Hotel to the airport; depart from Moscow.