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Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Moves to Camp 1

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside
Elevation: 12,300'

Hello,
After two great nights at Basecamp, it was time to move out and establish a new camp higher up on Mt. Elbrus.
We were really lucky again today with the weather. It was still raining when we first woke up, but just about the time we were taking down the tents, it stopped and has been dry ever since.
The trail was still challenging today, but everybody did great. We made good time all the way back up to our cache site at 11,200’. We grabbed a few items from the cache that we would need for the night, and continued on our way. The last stretch into camp climbs up a very rocky moraine and is some of the most trickiest walking on the whole mountain, especially with some heavy packs. We worked our way up the faint climber’s trail, dealing with lots of loose scree and some very awkward steps, but finally being rewarded as we crested over the top of the ridge and arrived at Camp 1.
The weather has not been that good the last several days, and as a result, there is a fair amount of climbers still waiting at Camp 1 for their summit attempt. Tent sites were at a premium, but after a little searching, we found some good spots and started building our camp. We are now all settled into what will be our home for the next three nights.
We have been in the clouds most of the day, but the upper mountain has made a few brief appearances this afternoon. Our hope is that this improving weather trend will continue for us.
Right now there are many climbers in camp getting ready to climb tonight. We, on the other hand, are going to bed and looking forward to sleeping in the morning.
All the best,
RMI Guides Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer and the team

View from Mt. Elbrus Northside Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

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Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Makes Carry to 11,200’

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 06, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside
Elevation: 11,200'

We jumped straight into it today. After six days of travel, hotels, and sight seeing, we were excited to don packs and point our toes uphill. The roughly sixty pounds of food, fuel, and gear each didn’t dampen the enthusiasm, at least at first.

Our goal was to move a significant bulk of our expedition kit up to 11,200 ft, just a bit shy of Camp 1. With the recent rains, as well as the cattle traffic, the first stretch was muddy and slick. Throw in the steep terrain and it felt a bit like we were climbing on ice skates. But with only a few bovine friends that needed to be shooed out of our way, we made good time and quickly gained the Berlin airfield, a large flat basin, that the Germans supposedly were able to land planes during WWII. Though the skies threatened rain (for much of the day) the clouds seemed to push up with us, keeping us dry for the time being.

Through a series of steep climbs and flat benches we wound our way, perfecting our rest step and footwork, until after 3.5 hours, we arrived at the cache site. While periodically scanning for anyone spying our location, we stealthily sorted our cache gear and hid it in the rocks, then turned tail and headed downhill. The going was fast and easy until the last steep stretch to camp when we again had to contend with the mud churned up by our ruminant cohabitants. We slipped, slid, and squished our way down to camp. Our timing was impeccable, as the skies that had threatened all day finally delivered in the form of a drenching downpour two minutes before we reached camp. We ducked into tents and hung wet shells to dry.  As the rain continued the ground saturated, and soon our tents seemed to wart to begin floating.  Luckily the water has so far stayed on the right side of the tent fabric. We made a hearty dinner of soup with fresh veggies (a shift from last night’s farm to table feast) and have retired to our abodes. It is still raining, but hopefully it will subside tonight so that we can move up to Camp 1 tomorrow. If not, it may be time for us to consider building an ark. We’ll update you on our progress tomorrow!

All the best from RMI Guides Pete, Jeff, and Gang

The Trail to Basecamp on Mt. Elbrus. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Arrives at Basecamp

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 05, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside
Elevation: 8,300'

Greetings from Elbrus Basecamp,

We completed our last leg of travel today and reached Basecamp. The day started with a nice breakfast served in our rooms at the hotel, and then we loaded up the vehicles one last time and headed towards the mountain. In recent years, there has been a lot of road improvements so much of the drive is now paved. The last 8 miles though is still the same with huge mud holes, deep ruts, and very steep drop offs. Since it has been raining the last few days, the road was extra slick and this changed what would have been a 15 minute ride into a very entertaining two hours. We ended up walking down while another vehicle carried our gear. As luck would have it, that vehicle broke an axle so we went back to the vehicle to carry it ourselves. After we arrived at the jeep, we learned that another vehicle had been found so we walked back to basecamp. It was raining the whole time and without our gear it is a little difficult to set up a camp. We were finally reunited with our gear and we moved into a nice camp.
The driver who helped us out today ended up cooking us dinner. We walked back down the same path for the third time today to his shack. He was waiting for us and motioned us into his home. He had obviously been cooking since we last saw him and we were first offered a local milk drink that tasted like yogurt, drank from a communal cup, then steaming hot bread, and finally a whole pot of lamb and potatoes. It was a delicious meal and an experience we will not soon forget.

Now it is off it bed so we are ready for our carry day tomorrow.

Best,

RMI Guides Jeff, Pete & Team

The Northside view of Mt. Elbrus. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. Elbrus: North Side Team Arrives in Kislovodsk

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 04, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside

Hello from Kislovodsk,
As planned, we had an early start this morning, leaving our hotel at 5:45 to drive to the domestic airport. With all our bags checked we boarded the plane and flew south to Mineralyne Vody, the main airport in the Caucasus region. Then it was an hour drive to the resort town of Kislovodsk. Best known for its spas, many Russians come here to take a break from the big city life in Moscow. But we did not come here for the spas. We are here because it is the last town before we drive into the mountains. We spent the afternoon going through all of our gear, making sure we had everything needed for the climb and this team is ready.
Tomorrow we will finally see Elbrus for the first time as we approach Basecamp. We are all excited to be ending our travels and beginning the climb.

All the best,
RMI Guide Jeff Martin

The RMI August 1st North Side Mt. Elbrus team at dinner in Kislovodsk, Russia.  Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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Mt. Elbrus: Northside team tours Moscow

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Jeff Martin | August 03, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside

We had a great first day in Moscow.  It started with a short walk to the heart of Russia - Red Square and the Kremlin. First up was Lenin’s Tomb. It is sort of an eerie experience seeing an embalmed man who has been dead for so many years, but definitely worth it. The trick is to move just slow enough through the viewing room that you do not get the guards’ attention and be told to move ahead. After exiting the tomb, we met up with our tour guide who lead us on a grand tour through Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the GUM, Red Square, and finally the Kremlin. The day was certainly a mini history lesson of the czars and rulers of Russia, and of wars and power struggles, and Moscow has been around for almost a 1000 years so it gets a little complicated.

After the tour of the Kremlin and feeling like we were close to information overload, we started our walk back to the hotel for a little down time. We are back from dinner now and heading to bed so that we can leave early in the morning for our flight to our next town - Kislovodsk. We’ll check in once we get settled there.

Best,

RMI Guides Jeff Martin and Pete Van Deventer

Red Square in Moscow. Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Arrives in Moscow

Posted by: Jeff Martin, Pete Van Deventer | August 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside

Greetings from Moscow,

The team arrived in Moscow today and our Russian adventure has officially begun!
There are no more trips to the store to buy that last minute item that you think you might need to bring just in case, no more chances to clear off your desk of the last few remaining to-do items. It is go time. We are headed for Mt. Elbrus.
But before we fly south, we are going to explore Moscow tomorrow and all it’s amazing sights. And we will get a big dose of Russian culture, food and history along the way. The perfect introduction to this country.

RMI Guides Jeff Martin and Pete Van Deventer

Mt. Elbrus from the northside route. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climbs Team on the Summit!

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Walter Hailes | July 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb teams July 26 - 29, 2014 led by RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer and Walter Hailes reached the summit of Mt. Rainier at 6:45 a.m with climbers from Wilderness Ventures.  The teams reported light winds and great route conditions.  They started their descent from the crater rim around 7:45 am.  The teams will return to Camp Muir and then continue to Paradise later this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb Teams!

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Mt. Rainier: Summit Climb Teams on Top!

Posted by: Mike Haugen, Pete Van Deventer | July 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

Both the Four and Five Day Mt. Rainier Summit Climb teams tagged the top!  RMI Guides Mike Haugen and Pete Van Deventer reported a sleet/snow mix and moderate winds.  At 8:45 a.m. they radioed basecamp to say they are beginning their descent.

RMI climbers on the upper flanks of Mt. Rainier. Photo: Ed Viesturs
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Mt. Rainier: July 15th Teams Summit

Posted by: Peter Whittaker, Pete Van Deventer | July 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI Guide Peter Whittaker and the Four Day Summit Climb team reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning around 5:20 am.  The team is making their descent back to Camp Muir and enjoying a light wind.  We look forward to seeing them in Ashford this afternoon.

The Expedition Skills Seminar – Emmons led by RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer reached the summit of Mt. Rainier around 7:00 am.  Pete reports clear skies on the summit and 15 mph winds.  He says it is fairly warm and a really nice day to climb. The team is enjoying some time at Columbia Crest and will begin their descent to Camp Schurman around 8:00 am.

Congratulations to today’s climbers!

Mt. Rainier as seen from Sunrise this morning.  Photo: Mt. Rainier Web Cam The path leaving the summit of Mt. Rainier via the Disappointment Cleaver.  Photo: Brent Okita The Expeditions Skill Seminar - Emmons teams on the summit of Mt. Rainier July 15th.  Photo: Pete Van Deventer
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Mt. Rainier: Summit Teams and Emmons Seminar on Top!

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Geoff Schellens, Pete Van Deventer | July 02, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI Guide Tyler Jones radioed at 7 am with his Four Day Summit Climb on their descent after reaching the summit of Mt. Rainier earlier this morning.  Tyler reported moderate winds and a cloud cap on the summit.  As the teams descended they were reaching the base of the clouds.  The second Four Day Summit Climb team led by Geoff Schellens was also descending with Tyler. 

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons led by RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer reached the crater rim around 7:30 am.  The team was going to spend to a few minutes on top before starting their descent.  They will return to Camp Schurman for their final night on the mountain.

Congratulations to today’s teams!

Looking down on Camp Schurman from the Emmons Glacier Route on Mt. Rainier.  Photo: Mike Walter
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