Entries From Elbrus Southside 7-1-12

Elbrus Expedition: Justman & Team Start in Moscow

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 02, 2012

RMI Guide JJ Justman sends a video to kick off the start of their Elbrus Southside Expedition.

Mt. Elbrus: JJ and Team Enjoy Moscow City Tour

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 03, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

Today our team enjoyed a city tour of Moscow with our Guide Nina. She was a wealth of knowledge and we all learned a great deal. We visited of course Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and fortunately the subway of Moscow. At first I was a little skeptical. Mainly because I was expecting something like NYC and some dude in a snakeskin jacket and a funny hat saying, “that ain’t a knife…this is a knife”. However a nice jaunt underground displayed some spectacular artwork fit for a King and Queen. What a way to start a Mt. Elbrus adventure!

Thanks Nina!!

RMI Guide J.J. Justman

Mt. Elbrus: Justman and Team Check in from Cheget

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 04, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 7,500'

Hello RMI family. The team had a great flight from Moscow to Mineralyne Vody. We met Vladimir who will be with us on the mountain. Judging from his light heartedness, I am predicting we are going to have a few laughs.

We drove to Cheget, which is a destination for skiers. Our hotel is situated in the foothills of Mount Elbrus. I do have to admit my surprise. The last time I was on the south side of Elbrus I didn’t remember such a beautiful and charming hotel. I am glad we are staying two nights here to acclimatize and prepare gear. After all, there’s nothing wrong with First Class, even if it’s in the mountains.

RMI Guide J.J. Justman

Mt. Elbrus, 18,510 ft.  Photo: Casey Grom

On The Map

Mt. Elbrus: Justman and Team Hike Cheget Peak

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 05, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 10.600'

Hi everyone this is JJ Justman for the Mount Elbrus expedition. Today we had a great day here on Cheget Peak. We had a great acclimatization hike on a very beautiful clear sunny day. We had fantastic views of Mount Elbrus and we topped out at 10,600 ft.

We finished the hike with a wonderful lunch down in town après ski style. After a little rest and relaxation we went over our climbing gear and we are now officially ready to jump on the big hill tomorrow!

RMI Guide JJ Justman & Team.

RMI Team on Cheget Peak Photo: JJ Justman RMI Team Hiking Cheget Peak Photo: JJ Justman

On The Map


LeighAnn, great photos of R&R with climbing team in the Cheget ski area. We must have rocks in our blood since I live at 7100ft and you are there looking… read more

Posted by: Vic Belloli on 7/5/2012 at 8:12 pm

Mt. Elbrus: JJ and Team at Garabashi Hut

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 06, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 12,000'

Hello from the Garabashi Hut on Mt. Elbrus (also known as the Barrels Hut).

It was an exhausting day getting up here. First we took a gondola and when we got off we had to walk 175 feet to the next gondola. After our second ride we took a single chair chairlift and that dropped us off at the hut. It was a grueling effort to finally walk up to our private barrel but we are now situated all comfy and cozy.

We had a great lunch and met our Executive Chef Albina who served up seafood salad, hot soup with crackers, cheese and salami. A surprise for me was to see Mariana, who cooked for us back in 2002. That year I brought some Peet’s Coffee and a giant smile was on her face when I pulled out another bag of cafe goodness.

The team went for a short but pleasant walk uphill to get our lungs working. Now it’s time to relax, drink tea and eat more good food as life at 12,000 feet couldn’t be any better.

RMI Guide J.J. Justman

The Garabashi Hut on Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: RMI Collection The summit of Mt. Elbrus.  Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map


Hi Larry! You bet! Watch our summit video, it was a great day with a lot of fun climbing.Its nice not having to lug a giant pack around all the… read more

Posted by: JJ on 7/11/2012 at 9:57 am

Do you do any climbing on this trip?  This appears to be much different than Denali.

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Posted by: Larry Seaton on 7/6/2012 at 9:45 am

Mt. Elbrus: JJ & Team Enjoy an Acclimating Hike

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 07, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 13,000'

Today the team awoke to a gorgeous sunrise in the mountains. Typically the weather can be sunny in the morning and then the clouds engulf the surrounding mountains including Elbrus. However, today the mountain has been out in all its glory.

After an early breakfast we threw the rucksacks over our shoulders, strapped crampons to our boots and we went for a four-hour acclimatization hike. We made it to 15,000 feet and enjoyed the views as they only got prettier the higher we went.

We are back at camp, after a nice lunch (Albina makes the tastiest soups) we are resting in our hut. As a matter of fact, I hear the movie Dumb & Dumber playing on someone’s iPad. Gotta go…

RMI Guide JJ Justman

Sunset on the Garabashi Hut

On The Map

Mt. Elbrus: JJ & Team Ready For Summit Bid

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 08, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 12,000'

Mountain Guides can be a superstitious bunch. So as we did a little bit of training including rope travel, self arrest and cramponing in our second day of gorgeous weather.  My superstitious side is coming out.

Tomorrow is our summit day on Elbrus and we are knocking on wood that the weather stays beautiful. But if I may ask all of you (because this worked for me before), please leave a comment on this post wishing our team luck. The more posts we get from you the better the weather will be. And that means great photos and video to share with all of you when we get safely down.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

An RMI Team training on the lower slopes of Elbrus

Hope the weather held- keep it holding for our trip as well!!! Safe travels back to St. Petersburg.

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Posted by: Elsie Bemiss on 7/9/2012 at 4:48 am

Good luck all.  Hope the weather holds and you have a good climb!

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Posted by: Chris Foley on 7/8/2012 at 12:18 pm

Mt. Elbrus:  JJ and Team Reach Summit!

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 09, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside
Elevation: 18,510'

Hello friends and family of Rainier Mountaineering.  This is J.J. Justman really happy to report that our entire team is on the summit of Mt. Elbrus as we speak at 18,510’.  We had a great day today.  We actually started out pretty iffy weather, there were a lot of clouds, winds, sleet, snow and rain but it parted ways.  We started out about 3 in the morning and wouldn’t you know it, we toughed it out, we are in a little bit of a white out.  We wish we could have better photos but we are on top.

Everyone wants to say hello to friend and family back home.  I’d like to definitely give a shout out to the folks back at RMI: Autumn, Sarah, Melissa, Lacey and Casey for helping to get this trip started the right way.  Definitely helps me focus on what I need to focus on and that was making sure our team was acclimatized and having fun.  What do you say guys, are you having a fun time?  [Cheers in background].

So, we are a little tired and we still have a little bit of work to do so we are going to start heading down hill.  Chaio from Russia. 
That was Vladimir our co-guide along here with me, it was great climbing with him.  We will have some photos and videos for all of you of our terrific summit day.  We will send them tomorrow when we descend to the village of Cheget at the base of Mt. Elbrus.

RMI Guide J.J. Justman

Mt. Elbrus, 18,510 ft, the highest peak in Russia and Europe. The RMI Team on the summit of Mt. Elbrus, July 9th.  Photo: JJ Justman

RMI Guide JJ Justman calls in from the summit of Mt. Elbrus.

On The Map


Fantastic effort all the way to the top! Have a fun and safe return.

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Posted by: Robert Ward on 7/9/2012 at 8:28 am

Mt. Elbrus: JJ and Team Arrive St. Petersburg

Posted by: JJ Justman | July 11, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

Just because we climbed Europe’s highest mountain Mt. Elbrus, it doesn’t mean the adventure is over. After a great celebration dinner last night we boarded our flight and we are now in St. Petersburg. It has been a tiring day flying so we are going to relax tonight, order a little room service and maybe have a little spa time. Tomorrow we are going to begin exploring this amazing Russian city. We will have some photos and video to show you.

RMI Guide J.J. Justman


What an exciting time for this group! The wait is finally over and your adventure begins! I wish complete safety and totally success for everyone in the group! I look… read more

Posted by: Mary Helen Martin on 7/21/2012 at 3:39 am

Hey JJ Whoo Hoo congratulations JJ and team!!  What an accomplishment. I have been following all your posts and climbs. You seem like an awesome upbeat guide. I’m doing the… read more

Posted by: Kristen Farris on 7/11/2012 at 9:08 am