Elbrus South 14th September 2019
Leader: Nathan Hughes
Congratulations to the team on their successful summit! All 4 clients and 2 guides reached the summit at 10am this morning. More photos and full update to follow.
After a relaxing day back in Cheget, Sunday morning meant time to head back up to the huts on Elbrus to make the final preparations for our summit attempt. This started off with a refresher of the skills needed for the fixed lines found above the saddle.
Summit day began with an early breakfast at 2am ready to catch the snowcat back to our previous high point of 4700m. The start of the climb is steep uphill going directly from the Pashtukov Rocks up towards the eastern peak of Elbrus. At just over 5050m the rising traverse around the eastern peak begins a tough section that seemed to the group to go on longer than it should, the only upside on this section was the rising sun which gave a little extra warmth, along with stunning views across the Caucasus mountains. After reaching the saddle between the eastern and western peaks of Elbrus, a short break lead to moving onto one of the steepest sections of the route which is protected by fixed ropes. This was slow going for all but everyone knew that it lead to the final plateau and snow slope that leads to the summit. Theo, Louise and Vladimir reached the summit first, followed by Dominique, Jordan and Nathan at approximately 10am. After descending back to the huts and onwards to the valley the team are looking forward to celebrating a successful expedition.
We have had two very successful days of acclimatisation reaching 4100m on Thursday with some crampon skills practice for all and a tough walk up to 4700m on Friday, everyone has been feeling really good and are looking forward to making our summit attempt. We are making full use of our 3 possible summit days by using the forecasted good weather on Monday to make our summit bid. In the meantime we have managed to escape the snow storm happening on the mountain by decending back to Cheget for the night in order to rest and relax both physically and mentally. Our summit bid will start by leaving the huts on a snowcat back to our high point of 4700m at 3am on Monday morning and should take us approximately 6 hours to reach the summit.
The group are now back down at the huts having climbed up to 4700m on Elbrus today. Looking at the current weather forecast the best window for the summit is looking like Monday. If the gondola is running tomorrow, they plan to head down Cheget for a night in the valley before coming back up.
Everyone has had a successful two days at Lake Syltrankel, preparing our bodies for heading onto Elbrus properly. The group discovered how dynamic the lanscape can be, with the sounds of rockfall on Mount Mukal echoing around the valley throughout the first night. Because of this, instead of ascending Mukal, we chose to climb one of the neighbouring peaks to 3621m to aid with acclimatisation, before descending to the tents where we spent the afternoon riding out a snow storm which completely changed the scenery. Blue skies greeted us this morning for our descent back to the valley. Everyone has spent the evening double checking their kit ahead of heading onto Elbrus tomorrow. We are currently looking at a potential summit bid of Sunday or Monday once the forecasted high winds have died down.
Everyone has arrived in Cheget fit and well and ready to get into the mountains. Everyone spent the first afternoon/evening sorting out kit, and then going off exploring around the town and surrounding areas. This morning we head up to Syltrankel Lake for two nights – the weather is looking a little showery, but everyone is looking forward to getting going.