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Entries from Elbrus Northside

Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Tries for the Summit

Hey there, this is Seth checking in from Camp 1 on the northside of Mount Elbrus. We tried to go to the summit tonight, last night, but that was not to be for us. The wind is out of control, you might be able to here my tent flapping in the breeze. Although calm when we woke up, the snow had stopped about a foot to two feet, where it had drifted in. Pete Van Deventer and I broke trail for a few thousand feet towards the summit. The winds just steadily grew and grew as we climbed. And just became to where we couldn’t really see too far in front of our faces anymore due to ground blizzard conditions and decided it just wasn’t safe.  The winds have been decreasing on our descent and back down here at high camp, we are all hunkered in all safe and sound. Tomorrow brings a new day and we’ll check in then. Ciao.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall checks in after the Mt. Elbrus summit attempt.

On The Map

James and team, based on your blog, time is running out for your climb to the summit. Trust that you will follow team’s prudent decision putting your safety a top priority. Hanging in there together.

Posted by: Soonja Choo on 9/2/2013 at 7:55 am

James and team

I suspect you are disappointed not being able to achieve a very important part of your trek. It’s hard to be in great shape, pumped-up and ready to reach a summit.

From reading your blog it doesn’t sound like your weather and conditions allowed you to safely reach the top of Mount Elbrus at this time.  Many of us who choose to climb with RMI appreciate, admire and want guides and leadership that are able and willing to always put our safety first.  I am sure I am not alone in thanking Seth and Pete for using such sound judgement.  You are all so important to us. 

Hang in there, support one another, focus on descending safely, and really try to enjoy the history, architecture and other beautiful aspects of St. P.

Fred K

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 9/2/2013 at 6:57 am

Mt. Elbrus: Waterfall & Team One Last Shot for the Summit

It’s just another day in the tents here on Mt. Elbrus.  We’ve been getting snow since about 3am last night.  Fortunately we have not had much wind so that has kept our sanity mostly intact.

We are nearing the end of our trip now.  With only a couple more days left before we need to be back in basecamp, we’re trying to come up with a plan that could still put us on top without risking us missing our flights to St. Petersburg.  What we’re thinking of right now is a single push from Camp 1 to the summit and back tonight.  That will allow us to descend to basecamp the following day.  Barring that we may have to return home safe and sound but without the summit.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

On The Map

Seth:  A comment you taught me could be appropriate at this time:  the three P’s, perserverance, patience and a positive attitude along with a bit of luck will get you there!  Best on a safe climb!

Posted by: phil usher on 9/1/2013 at 6:33 pm

Choo and team,

Bit bummed to read about the weather stalling things but I’m sure you’re still making the most of it! Only a success if you make it up…and back down…so be safe!!! Fingers crossed and sending wishes/thoughts/prayers for it to open up and give you a chance if it is right!!!

Pulling for ya! Enjoy and have fun!


Posted by: Lauren on 9/1/2013 at 4:17 pm

Mt. Elbrus: Waterfall & Team Hit by a Weather Storm

Well hello again from Camp 1.  We’re still waiting for some good weather. Last night was a wet, windy and wild one.  At about 10pm the side of my tent hit me in the face and woke me up.  The next several hours were very blustery.  At around 1am the wind died completely and the thunder and lightning started.  As the flashes got closer and closer the wind picked up and blew the thunderhead out.  Then it started to snow.

By the time we started breakfast everything at our elevation had chilled out.  It was a hilarious discussion as we related our tent experiences from the night.  There was a large cap on Mt. Elbrus but everyone was still game to go for an acclimatization climb.  We had to wait for one more snow squall to move through but we made it to 14,420’ a new altitude record for some folks.

Once we got back to camp it was almost dinner time.  We’re all done with dinner now and Pete and I have cleaned up the pots and put the stoves away for the night.  We’re anxiously awaiting tomorrow as there is another storm forecasted but we’re hoping it passes us by.  We want to climb!

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

On The Map

James and team

Sure sounds dramatic over and up there!  Very glad to hear everyone is safe.  Looking foward to hearing the team continue ascendig as the weather permits.  Be safe!

(Heading out now to mix with the Harley riders who have ridden into town to celebrate the company,s 110th year.  Quite loud and exciting!)

Fred K

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 9/1/2013 at 5:09 am

Hi everyone & Doug
I’m sorry your weather has not cooperated.The forecast for 5000m & 5600m for Monday looks clear & sunny. I hope you can summit Monday.Stay safe & take pictures.

Posted by: Lorraine Quinn on 8/31/2013 at 10:43 pm

Mt. Elbrus: Waterfall & Team Halted by Weather, Retreated to Camp 1

Hello from Camp 1.  Today we made a bid to get to high camp but we had to turn around due to thunder storms.

We had planned on moving directly up to high camp today and foregoing our scheduled acclimatization day in order to get in front of a storm that is suppose to hit the mountain soon.  That wasn’t to be however.

The team made a great effort and had camp packed up and ready to go before 9am.  There was a cloud cap on the mountain and as we started the climb toward Lentz Rocks, the cap dropped and big thunderheads moved in.

We made the conservative call to retreat.  After rebuilding our camp the thunder picked up and we had some hail and rain.  Right now the wind has picked up but the sky has cleared.  Even with the lull we’re committed to staying in camp for the rest of the day.

We have plenty of food and fuel and we’ll just see what the weather brings in the next few days.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

On The Map

James and Pete…June 2010 Electrical storm disrupted Lori / I’s Elbrus summit bid…Thxfully we were able to make it - And you too…Calm and poise and Godspeed…Waltero

Posted by: Walter on 8/31/2013 at 6:50 am

Sometimes you just have to wait it out, thunderstorms on a mountain can be big trouble

Posted by: Tom on 8/30/2013 at 4:32 pm

Mt. Elbrus: North Side Teams Takes Rest at Camp 1

We’re tucked in and doing great at Camp 1 on Mt. Elbrus.  Today was a rest day for the team but we still had to pick up some gear from our cache.  That got taken care of first thing in the morning and in the afternoon we did a little bit of training out on the glacier.

Tomorrow we’re planning on putting another food cache in at high camp.  Once that is done we just need a couple of days of good weather for a summit bid.  Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

On The Map


I’m very proud of you and I cannot wait to hear about all the exciting details of the climb. 

I love and miss you more than words can express.


Posted by: Sherri on 8/30/2013 at 8:36 am

Hi Lisa,
All this talk of moving your food cache is making me hungry (and tired)
Best of luck on Summit day. Be safe

Posted by: Linda Poirier on 8/30/2013 at 8:23 am

Mt. Elbrus: North Side Teams Moves to Camp 1

The progress continues on Mt. Elbrus!

We followed up yesterday’s successful carry with a move to Camp 1 on today at 12,500’. Last night’s rain cleared out, and this morning was beautiful when we woke. Having already seen most of the terrain seems to make things easier, and the group did great on our first move today. We are settled in to camp, and all the hatches are battened down just in case we see some more rain. I don’t think anybody is bummed to not have to share our camp area with any bovine friends. The plan tomorrow is to head a short way back to our cache site to retrieve everything, and then brush up on our cramponing and rope travel skills just outside camp. We’ll be in touch!

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Seth Waterfall and team

On The Map

James and team
Great tracking your progress!  Have fin and stay safe!!!

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 8/29/2013 at 4:34 am

Let David Aaroe know that his partners are hard at work in Portland, but finding time to follow the team’s progress. Thankful that all is going well.

Posted by: Jim Kilpatrick on 8/28/2013 at 11:48 am

Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Arrives Base Camp

If success is defined by waking up, having a good breakfast, climbing to a new height on Mt. Elbrus, getting our cache gear on place, and most importantly, getting down before the rain started, then we had a spectacularly successful day. It was a beautiful climb up to our cache site 11,500’, with plenty of great photo opportunities, and everyone got a chance to stretch their lungs out after the last several days of traveling by planes and automobiles. The rain was kind enough to hold off until we got back, and with any luck, it will clear out tonight, setting us up for a move to camp1 tomorrow. We’ll let you know how it goes!

Best from Russia,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Seth Waterfall, and team

On The Map

  Pete and James…Wearing my Elbrus shirt in solidarity with you…Hope it’s clear and you get to see Black and Caspian seas…Spent two hours with Fred Monday…He did it - Fred’s an Iron Man !...Best…Waltero

Posted by: Walter on 8/28/2013 at 6:17 am

Mt. Elbrus: Waterfall & Team in Kislovodsk

We’re in Kislovodsk!  Today we made it one step closer to the mountain.  We had an early start in Moscow and then caught a 2 hour and 15 minute flight to Mineralnye Vody.  From there it was just an hour drive to the city of Kislovodsk where our hotel is.  Once we checked into the hotel, everyone sorted their gear while Pete and I went to a supermarket.  We picked up some fresh food for basecamp.  We’ll be getting an early start tomorrow for the 4x4 road to camp.

Here’s a shot from the awesome pizza place we went to for dinner.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

James and Team
Good to hear things are progressing well.  Looking forward to following your ascent and blog.  Stay safe. 
Fred K

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 8/27/2013 at 4:33 am

Paul(my mountain man),

I’m extremely proud of you! I love you and miss your presence.  Cannot wait to climb with you in May!


Posted by: Sherri on 8/26/2013 at 12:32 pm

Mt. Elbrus: Seth and Team Tour Moscow

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a fun, if slightly soggy, day in Moscow.  The day started with thunder and lightning at sunrise but as we all met up over breakfast the light show subsided.  After breakfast we took a nice walk around Red Square and met up with a local tour guide.  She took us into the Kremlin and showed us all around the old cathedrals inside.  While we were in the Kremlin the skies opened up and it started to rain.  We gave everyone the option to bail out and return to the hotel but this crew is tough and all of the stuck it out.

After touring the Kremlin some folks wanted to do their own thing for a bit so we split into 3 groups for lunch time.  After that we met back in the hotel and reviewed the gear necessary for the climb.  Pete and I split up after that and checked out everyone’s gears individually.  Everyone seems very well prepared with top-notch gear and plenty of mountain food.

Everything is lining up nicely for our departure for Mineralnye Vody and Kisklovodsk tomorrow.

RMI Guides Seth Waterfall, Pete Van Deventer and Team

  James and Pete…Hello from the hot and humid cornfields of Indiana…Have a great adventure…About this moment Fred is stepping into Ohio River for his Iron Man…Hope to see him tomorrow…Best +  bless…Waltero…Be foloing you all along…Godspeed

Posted by: Walter Glover on 8/25/2013 at 4:04 am

Pete and James
Wonderful to see familiar friendly faces climbing together again.  Have a safe trip.
Fred K

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 8/24/2013 at 5:36 pm

Mt. Elbrus: Northside Team Arrives in Moscow

Hello from Moscow. 

The RMI Mt. Elbrus Northside team has all arrived and the trip is officially under way.  We met up this evening for a meet-and-greet and then went out to dinner.  The team seems very well aligned as far as goals and expectations for the trip.  It was a short night for us as many folks have just arrived in Moscow and, it’s raining with thunder and lightning all around the downtown area.

Tomorrow we’re scheduled to take a tour of the Kremlin and the other sights around Red Square.  I’ll take some photos and send them on in the afternoon.

RMI Guides Seth Waterfall & Pete Van Deventer

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