Elbrus Northside Team reaches Base Camp
Another early morning saw us loading our gear and climbing into the backs of a couple of grey Russian four wheel drive vans and heading south out of Kislovodsk. Within a couple of minutes we left the city’s edge and were driving through the rolling expanse of the Caucasus foothills. Intercut by deep valleys and crossed by bands of white limestone cliffs, the vast plateaus that gradually ascend to the mountains themselves are a glimpse back in time from the hustle of Moscow. Small clusterings of buildings can be found at the valley floors, lonely communities of a couple of cinder block homes surrounded by vegetable patches and fruit trees. Above, shepherds wander the plateaus keeping a careful watch over their flock’s of sheep.
It was another beautiful day and above this landscape, growing ever taller as we approached, stood Elbrus. By late morning we reached the valley where Base Camp sits, alongside a couple of shepherd’s huts near the edge of the vegetation. We unloaded our gear and carried all of our supplies the final couple hundred of meters across the creek and into camp. The majority of the day was spent setting up camp and repacking our gear into portable loads for the mountain. In the afternoon we went for a short hike above Base Camp, enjoying the opportunity to stretch our legs after so many days of travel. At ~8,400’, the air felt cool and refreshing especially after Moscow’s subway stations the other day.
Everyone is absolutely jazzed to be here, we are feeling strong and excited about the climb ahead. Tomorrow we will carry a portion of gear to our cache just below Camp 1. We will check in tomorrow after returning to Base Camp.
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