Elbrus Climbers Arrive in Russia
After a long couple days of travel we arrived in St. Petersburg this afternoon. Compared to the throngs of summer travelers filling the terminals back home in the U.S., the airport here in St. Petersburg was comparatively calm and within a half hour of landing we were strolling into the afternoon sun with all of our equipment. The drive into St. Petersburg is a fascinating mix of eras and cultures, with the clean lines of the European inspired city mixed with neon Cryillic street signs, statues and archways celebrating the USSR, and giant billboards advertising the latest in electronics and hair care products. Plunging northward deeper into the heart of the city the wide boulevards gradually constrict and soon the buildings push in on both sides of the streets, occasionally intersected by the canals that help drain the city. With the warm temperatures of summer we saw several locals out on jet skis in the canals, navigating between the barges and tour boats at full speed, leaving bewildered visitors and boat captains in their wakes.
After reaching the hotel, we dropped our bags in the rooms and then snuck out for a quick dinner at a trendy little cafe around the corner. On our way out we met up with the RMI Team led by Casey Grom, returning from a successful climb of Elbrus. They reported fantastic conditions on the mountain and great climbing up high.
With the sun setting out to the west over the North Sea we are turning in for the evening. Tomorrow we will spend the day visiting St. Petersburg and getting settled into the new time zone before heading south to Elbrus and the Caucasus the following day.
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