Mt. Elbrus: Justman & Team Stretch Their Legs on Peak Cheget

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 11,000'

We had a fun day acclimatizing on Peak Cheget in beautiful weather. The views were breath taking and it certainly was nice to stretch the legs.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

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Alpamayo: Elias & Team Stay One More Night at Camp 1

Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos | July 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Peru
Elevation: 14,270'

Good afternoon. This is the Alpamayo climbing team. It’s 2 PM local time, calling from Camp 1. We decided to stay here. Different factors made the decision happen… some of them, a little bit of a dust of snow last night and a lot of teams coming down from High Camp made us decide to wait another day here and enjoy the benefits of acclimatization at this elevation. The plan is to move up tomorrow and, hopefully, climb the next day. Everything’s looking good—weather, team spirits, and everything. So, we’ll keep you posted in a couple days, hopefully from the summit. Regardless tomorrow we’ll check in from High Camp. I hope everybody back home is doing well. Take care.

RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos


RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos checks in.

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Mt. Elbrus: Grom & Team Arrive in St. Petersburg

Posted by: Casey Grom | July 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

Hello everyone!

Today was our travel day from the mountain to St. Petersburg. It was a pretty long day with the four-hour bus ride to the airport and then a three-hour flight. It was a pretty uneventful day, but the team is doing very well. Everyone is happy to be here in this beautiful city and looking forward to our city tour tomorrow.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew

Rooftops of St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Mt. Elbrus: Justman & Team Arrive in Cheget

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 11,000'

Sometimes the most difficult part of any expedition is just getting on the mountain. Today, our Elbrus team got one step closer.

We jumped on a flight from Moscow and arrived in Mineralnye Vody and then had a 2 1/2 hour shuttle ride to arrive in Cheget.

We are now sitting under the glistening Caucasus Mountains that surround the valley. Some of our team are exploring the shops in town while others are sorting mountaineering gear.

Thanks for catching up with is and stay tuned for some photos and video of this wonderful area.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

Sunset view of the Caucasus Mountains above Cheget. Photo: RMI Collection Cheget, mountain town at the base of the Caucasus Mountains. Photo: JJ Justman

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Mountaineering Training | Staying Hydrated: Water Bottles or Hydration Systems?

Posted by: | July 21, 2014
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Climbers heading to Rainier often ask the question, “water bottles or camelback?”  Nearly every backpack sold now is “hydration system compatible” and many endurance athletes are training and competing with hydration systems.  Are these systems best suited to mountaineering however?

In the past, many guides simply asked their climbers not to use hydration systems, but to carry hard sided water bottles instead.  The belief was that the drawbacks of hydration systems outweighed the benefits.  As hydration systems have improved to be less prone to leaking or punctures, this stance has shifted.  There still are drawbacks to hydration systems, but given the right conditions, precautions, and expectations, they can be used effectively in mountaineering for a climb such as Rainier. 

The main concerns we see with hydration systems are:

The hoses freeze: During midsummer climbs with high freezing levels, this doesn’t tend to be as much of a problem.  On cooler climbs however, ice buildup in the hose can quickly block any water from getting through.  The neoprene hose insulators are pretty ineffective, since they are thin, and it doesn’t take much ice buildup to completely block the flow.  Blowing the water back through the hose after every drink can help, but still isn’t 100% effective.  The best practice is to bring an empty, hard sided water bottle (even if only ½ liter capacity) that you can pour the hydration bladder into should it freeze, so that you still have access to water.

Rationing water:  Climbers can only carry so much water for a climb before the weight becomes cumbersome.  Typically we recommend 2-3 liters of water for a Rainier summit day.  This is plenty, but requires climbers to ration it; for example, 2 liters allows a climber 1/3 of a liter of water at each break.  If climbers are sipping more consistently from a hydration system, often they lose track of that rationing, and find themselves partway into a climb, with no water left.  Diligent attention is the only way to solve this, and this is difficult when you can’t actually see how much water you have left. 

Distractions:  Trying to turn a hydration hose on and off and drink from it on the fly distracts from the climbing, the terrain, and the overall situation.  When climbers are roped up and in climbing mode, each member of the team is relying on all of the others to remain vigilant to catch a fall, and to not cause a fall.  A hydration hose is a distraction from this, and the solution is to either keep the hose tucked away inside the pack (where it is inaccessible) in climbing terrain, or for climbers to carefully assess the hazards of the terrain they are in at that moment, and to choose benign stretches to get their hydration. 

Hard sided water bottles have been the standard in mountaineering for decades and still provide the simplest method of carrying water.  They generally do not freeze, it’s easy to see how much you are drinking, and they are away in the pack while climbing.  That being said, since they are tucked away in the pack, they are inaccessible, and do not allow a climber the opportunity to get a quick sip of water on a long stretch.  Hydration systems may have a place in your mountaineering kit, but practice with them, have a plan, and know how to minimize the drawbacks.  If in doubt, water bottles will still work fine!

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here on the RMI Blog!

RMI rope teams at the top of Mt. Rainier's Disappointment Cleaver (Robby Young).
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Mt. Rainier: July 21st Update

Posted by: Brent Okita | July 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

At 7:05 a.m. RMI Guide Brent Okita and his summit climb team were five minutes from Mt. Rainier’s crater rim.  The route work, completed yesterday, was great and well wanded.  Brent also reported great weather.

Congratulations to the team!

An RMI Team led by Brent Okita crossing the Mt. Rainier crater. Photo: Brent Okita

Alpamayo: Elias and Team Climb to Moraine Camp

Posted by: | July 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Peru
Elevation: 16,240'

Good afternoon, This is Elías and the Alpamayo climbing team. It’s Sunday, the 20th, at 3:30 pm local time, and we have just arrived at Camp 1, or Moraine Camp, where we deposited a cache a couple days ago. We are turning into our tents, and we’re going to start an early dinner pretty soon here, with the hopes of Col Camp, or Camp 2 tomorrow. Potentially we could be going for the summit in just 36 hours, but we’ll keep you posted on that. Again, tomorrow the plan is to get to Col Camp, and we will keep you up to date on that, as well.

Take care.
RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos

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Mt. Elbrus: Grom & Team Celebrate In Cheget

Posted by: Casey Grom | July 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

We did it! We successfully climbed to the highest point in Europe. It wasn’t easy, in fact it was far from it.

We started our climb in pretty windy conditions and battled our way for several hours before the weather finally eased off. I have to admit I wasn’t sure it was going to happen for us, but a big thanks to our local guides for working hard and to the crew for doing a great job of taking care of themselves. We had our heads down most of the climb due to the blowing wind and surface snow that continuously made it difficult. The team worked extra hard today to make it happen, wearing parkas and goggles nearly the entire day.

We have finally descended all the way back to Cheget and just finished another wonderful meal, washed down with endless vodka in Russian style!

Everyone is in great spirits and looking forward to taking in the sites and relaxing in beautiful St. Petersburg.

RMI Guide Casey Grom and Team

The RMI July 11th team enjoying a celebration dinner in Cheget, Russia. Photo: Casey Grom

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Shuksan: Walter and Team are Rained Out

Posted by: Mike Walter | July 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *North Cascades
Elevation: 7,000'

The weather hasn’t cooperated with us the past couple of days, and we’re getting ready to pack up and descend through the Fisher Chimneys, and return to the trailhead. It’s still raining here, and we have a lot of climbing ahead of us just to get back to the approach trail. We’ll enjoy the climbing, but we’re also looking forward to a warm shower!

We’ve done the bulk of the climbing on this route already, and only about 2000’ stand between us and the summit. But there’s no way we can move upwards in these wet conditions.

We’ll touch base when we’re back at the trailhead.

RMI Guide Mike Walter


Mt. Elbrus: Justman & Team Explore Moscow

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

The RMI July 18th Mt. Elbrus team led by RMI Guide JJ Justman gathered in Moscow on July 19th.  The team explored the city on July 20th with a local tour guide soaking in the sites of the Kremlin, Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb and more.  Check out the video from their city tour.

St. Basils Cathedral near Red Square Moscow, Russia.  Photo: RMI Collection The outer walls around the Kremlin, Moscow Russia.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Previous Page More Entries

Expedition Stats

Vinson Massif
11/19 - 12/11/2013
Summit
Ecuador Volcanoes
12/10 - 12/20/2013
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Vinson Massif
12/1 - 12/23/2013
Summit
Aconcagua
12/9 - 12/29/2013
21,700'
Aconcagua
12/14 - 1/6/2014
Summit
Aconcagua
12/20 - 1/12/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
1/5 - 1/10/2014
10,080'
Aconcagua
12/27 - 1/19/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
1/7 - 1/20/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Antisana - 18,500' / Cotopaxi - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
1/18 - 1/26/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Aconcagua
1/10 - 2/2/2014
Summit
Aconcagua
1/3 - 1/26/2014
21,500'
Kilimanjaro
1/25 - 2/8/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
2/9 - 2/14/2014
7,100'
Kilimanjaro
2/8 - 2/22/2014
Summit
Ecuador Volcanoes
2/11 - 2/21/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua
2/2 - 2/25/2014
Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
2/15 - 2/23/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Kilimanjaro
2/10 - 2/21/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
2/14 - 2/26/2014
Illiniza Sur - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
3/1 - 3/9/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/9 - 3/14/2014
Summit
Everest Base Camp Trek - Island Peak
3/16 - 4/10/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
4/13 - 4/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - 13,400'
Everest Base Camp Trek
3/19 - 4/8/2014
Base Camp
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition
5/4 - 5/14/2014
Radio Tower - 7,300' / Kahiltna Dome - 10,500'
Five Day Summit Climb
5/10 - 5/14/2014
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/12 - 5/16/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/14 - 5/17/2014
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/14 - 5/18/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/15 - 5/18/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/16 - 5/19/2014
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/21 - 5/25/2014
Mt. Rainier - 13,600'
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
5/18 - 5/23/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/21 - 5/24/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/22 - 5/25/2014
Mt. Rainier - 13,700'
Four Day Summit Climb
5/23 - 5/26/2014
12,300'
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition
5/17 - 5/27/2014
Kahiltna Dome - 10,700'
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
5/25 - 5/30/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/28 - 5/31/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/29 - 6/1/2014
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
5/28 - 6/1/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/7 - 6/10/2014
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
5/30 - 6/2/2014
Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/6 - 6/2/2014
Mt. Mckinley - 16,200'
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
6/1 - 6/6/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
6/1 - 6/6/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/4 - 6/7/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/5 - 6/8/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/6 - 6/9/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
6/10 - 6/28/2014
Mt. Mckinley - 16,200'
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/13 - 6/4/2014
Mt. Mckinley - 16,400'
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/20 - 6/7/2014
Mt. Mckinley - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/6 - 6/10/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/8 - 6/11/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/9 - 6/12/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/10 - 6/13/2014
Mt. Rainier - 12,600'
Four Day Summit Climb
6/11 - 6/14/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/12 - 6/15/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/13 - 6/16/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/12 - 6/16/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/14 - 6/17/2014
11,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
6/15 - 6/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/14 - 6/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
6/13 - 6/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - 12,500'
Four Day Summit Climb
6/16 - 6/19/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
6/15 - 6/20/2014
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
Four Day Summit Climb
6/17 - 6/20/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/18 - 6/21/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/19 - 6/22/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
5/27 - 6/23/2014
Mt. Mckinley - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
6/3 - 6/23/2014
Mt. Mckinley - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/19 - 6/23/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/20 - 6/23/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/21 - 6/24/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
6/20 - 6/25/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/21 - 6/25/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/22 - 6/25/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/23 - 6/26/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/24 - 6/27/2014
Mt. Rainier - 11,200'
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
6/22 - 6/27/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/25 - 6/28/2014
Mt. Rainier - 11,200'
Ecuador's Volcanoes
6/17 - 6/27/2014
Cayambe - 16,300' / Cotopaxi - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/26 - 6/29/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/27 - 6/30/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
6/10 - 7/2/2014
Mt. Mckinley - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
6/27 - 7/1/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/28 - 7/1/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/29 - 7/2/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
6/30 - 7/3/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Emmons Climb
6/29 - 7/3/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/1 - 7/4/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/2 - 7/5/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/3 - 7/6/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/4 - 7/7/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
7/3 - 7/7/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/6 - 7/9/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/5 - 7/8/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
7/4 - 7/9/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
7/5 - 7/9/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Cotopaxi Express Ascent
6/28 - 7/6/2014
Cotopaxi - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/7 - 7/10/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount McKinley Expedition
6/17 - 7/9/2014
Mt. Mckinley - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/8 - 7/11/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise
7/6 - 7/11/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
7/6 - 7/11/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/9 - 7/12/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Peru
6/29 - 7/13/2014
Nevado Urus - Summit / Ishinca - Summit / Tocllaraju - Summit
Forbidden Peak - West Ridge
7/7 - 7/10/2014
Forbidden Peak - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/10 - 7/13/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Forbidden Peak - West Ridge
7/10 - 7/13/2014
Forbidden Peak - Summit
Alpamayo Expedition
6/29 - 7/14/2014
19,512' - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/11 - 7/14/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
7/10 - 7/14/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Mount Elbrus
7/4 - 7/16/2014
Mt. Elbrus - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/12 - 7/15/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
7/12 - 7/16/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/13 - 7/16/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
7/11 - 7/16/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
7/13 - 7/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/14 - 7/17/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/15 - 7/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise
7/13 - 7/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/16 - 7/19/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/17 - 7/20/2014
Mt. Rainier - 12,800'
Four Day Summit Climb
7/18 - 7/21/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Forbidden Peak - West Ridge
7/15 - 7/18/2014
Forbidden Peak - Summit
Mount McKinley Custom Expedition
6/24 - 7/18/2014
Mt. Mckinley - 17,900'
Mt. Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys
7/18 - 7/20/2014
Mt. Shuksan - 7,000'
Five Day Summit Climb
7/18 - 7/22/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/19 - 7/22/2014
Mt. Rainier - Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
7/20 - 7/23/2014
Mt. Rainier - 10,080'

Recent Images

  • The Pastuhkova Rock feature at 15,100 ft on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: Linden Mallory
  • The July 18th RMI Mt. Elbrus team taking an acclimatization hike to 15,000 ft on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: JJ Justman
  • The RMI July 18th Mt. Elbrus team enjoying time on mountain.  Photo: JJ Justman
  • Camp on Fisher Chimneys. Photo: Mike Walter
  • The RMI Kilimanjaro July 21st team at dinner at the Dik Dik Hotel, Tanzania.  Photo: Mark Tucker
  • The July 21st Kilimanjaro team stretching their legs in Tanzania.  Photo: Mark Tucker
  • The RMI Mt. Elbrus July 18th team on an acclimazation hike.  Photo: JJ Justman
  • The RMI team ascending to Camp Muir on July 22nd.  Photo: Win Whittaker
  • The Four Day Summit Climb July 20 - 23 team enjoyed nice weather for their Mountaineering School on July 21st.  Photo: Win Whittaker
  • Grom and Team visiting St. Petersburg after Elbrus summit. Photo: Casey Grom
  • The Elbrus team enjoying the St. Petersburg canal tour. Photo: Casey Grom
  • Casey Grom & his Elbrus team's farewell dinner in St. Petersburg. Photo: Casey Grom
  • RMI climbers on the upper flanks of Mt. Rainier. Photo: Ed Viesturs
  • Rooftops of St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • Sunset view of the Caucasus Mountains above Cheget. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Cheget, mountain town at the base of the Caucasus Mountains. Photo: JJ Justman
  • RMI rope teams at the top of Mt. Rainier's Disappointment Cleaver (Robby Young).
  • An RMI Team led by Brent Okita crossing the Mt. Rainier crater. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The RMI July 11th team enjoying a celebration dinner in Cheget, Russia. Photo: Casey Grom
  • St. Basils Cathedral near Red Square Moscow, Russia.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The outer walls around the Kremlin, Moscow Russia.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The RMI July 11th team on the summit of Mt. Elbrus, Russia, 18,510 ft.  Photo: Casey Grom
  • Fisher Chimneys camp just below 7000', on a rock ridge in between the Upper Curtis Glacier and the White Salmon Glacier. Photo: Mike Walter
  • Training on the lower slopes of Mt. Elbrus. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Flying into Kahiltna Base Camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann
  • The Talkeetna Airstrip in view. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Sunset in Talkeetna. Photo: Linden Mallory
  • The new huts on Mt. Elbrus, 12,000 ft.  Photo: Casey Grom
  • The July 11th Mt. Elbrus team on an acclimatization hike to 15,000 ft on Mt. Elbrus, Russia.  Photo: Casey Grom
  • An RMI Team camped at 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The RMI Mt. Elbrus July 11th team takes a break during their acclimatization hike on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: Casey Grom
  • An acclimatization hike on Mt. Elbrus by the July 11th team.  Photo: Casey Grom
  • The RMI July 11th team loading the gondola to reach Base Camp on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: Casey Grom