Elbrus Northside Team moves to Camp 1
A patchwork of clouds hung over the Caucasus this morning, diffusing the sunlight and hiding the morning sun. The almost sullen atmosphere didn’t hold us back and we eagerly broke camp and hit the trail. The clouds kept the temperatures cool and we made great time, reaching our previous day’s highpoint where we cached our gear by midday.
The final 800’ of climbing above the cache took us off of the well worn climber’s trail below and into the continually shifting slopes of scree - small, loose rock - that makes up the glacial morraine. It is full attention walking as each step must be chosen with care to avoid slipping back down in the loose rock and we carefully picked our way upwards, soon gaining the plateau where Camp 1 resides.
Perched amongst the rocky morraine alongside the Ullmalgender Glacier, Camp 1 sits at the base of the broad sweeping slopes of ice and snow that rise up to form Elbrus’ twin summits and offers stunning views of the entire north side of the mountain. Off in the other direction we can gaze out across the rolling green plateaus, occasionally cut by the small dirt road that we drove along to reach the mountain. The sun had been gradually fighting its way back throughout the morning and by the time we reached camp it was another clear afternoon, interrupted every so often by gusts of wind sweeping down off of the mountain. After a solid day of climbing we set up camp and then crawled into the tents to relax for a bit before dinner.
The team climbed strongly today, making it to camp in just over six and a half hours. We are tired but happy to be here at the glacier’s edge. Tomorrow we will descend back to our cache to retrieve our gear in the morning and then spend some time in the afternoon brushing up on our glacier travel skills.
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August 31, 2010
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