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Mt. Elbrus Ski: Reid & Team Recap Summit Day and Return to Azau

It was worth the wait - the weather this morning was absolutely perfect and our whole team was able to ski from the true summit of Mt. Elbrus! We woke up to brilliant stars and an impressive Big Dipper, and soon found ourselves being propelled uphill by snowcat to our starting point for the climb. Snow conditions on our ascent were a bit too frozen for skinning, so we put on boot crampons and threw our skis on our packs, moving efficiently up the well established climbing route. A long, ascending traverse brought us to the col between the east and west summits, a nice flat spot for a break. Above the col we broke through the shadow line into the sun, and after a couple more hours, onto the summit plateau. 15 minutes later we were on top, enjoying spectacular views deep into the Republic of Georgia, and the impressive surrounding Caucasus Mountains. And then came the best part. A never-ending-feeling 6000' descent back to our camp. We had the full range of snow conditions on the way down; the last 2000' or so was pure hero snow - incredibly smooth, predictable, perfectly sun softened corn. Of all the teams climbing this morning we were the only skiers! Such an efficient way to travel in the mountains. Our team was back at camp hours before any other team. After a few gondola rides down into the lush lowlands and a nice lunch, we're back in the village of Azau for a well earned celebration. RMI Guide Tyler Reid

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