Mt. Elbrus: Mallory & Team Settle in at 12,000’

Posted by: Linden Mallory | July 11, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 12,000'

The thick rain clouds that have been covering the region for the last several days began to dissipate overnight. Leaving our hotel this morning, the sky above was a patchy mix of clouds and blue sky. We loaded our mountain gear into our van and made the ten minute drive up the valley to the tiny village of Azau. In Azau we hauled our gear from the van and through the base terminal of the tram station. A few minutes later the red cabin dropped down from the station above and we piled our team and gear into the tram.

We made two tram rides, going from the green valley floor to the top station, sitting on a rocky morraine along the edges of Elbrus’ glaciers. To get our gear the final 700’ we took turns loading our duffels, packs, and climbers onto a little single seater chairlift. Despite the slow moving chairs it was still a tricky transfer to put on and pull off the bags from the chairs as they swung by.

Nevertheless, it was a smooth process and by midday we were settled into out bunks in the Garabashi Huts, a series of old diesel tanks that have been converted into bunk rooms. Despite the long cylindrical shape, they are quite comfortable inside, especially when the hail and rain starts up outside.

After a great lunch of borsch, meats, cheeses, and French toast we set off on an acclimatization hike. The clouds once again settled onto the mountain, although with no moisture in them. We climbed for a couple of hours, ascending the glacier right above the hut and getting used to hiking in climbing boots and traveling on snow. After reaching just over 13,000’ we turned around and descended back to the hut.

We are resting in the huts now before dinner. Everyone climbed well today, making the transition from low elevation trails to the high altitude snows well. After close to a week of traveling to reach this mountain, we are happy to be here and comfortable in the huts. Tomorrow we are planning on making our final acclimatization hike up to Pastuhkova Rocks at 15,000’ before resting on Friday. We will check-in when we return from the hike.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Garabashi Hut on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: RMI Collection The chairlift on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: Linden Mallory

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Hi - glad to hear that all is well and that you are enjoying the mountain!!  Photos look great too!

Posted by: Cindy Papp on 7/11/2012 at 9:40 am

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