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Entries from Elbrus Northside

Mt. Elbrus: North Side Team Heads for St. Petersburg

Seth here.  We’re all checked in for our flights to St. Petersburg.  Today is our transfer day so there’s not much to report.  Everyone met up for coffee in the morning and the group had a down day while Pete and I cleaned and dried the tents and other gear.  We’ll be taking a red-eye to St. Pete’s tonight and then we’ll start touring the city tomorrow afternoon.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

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Mt. Elbrus: North Side Teams Returns to Kislovodsk

Checking in from Kisklovodsk!  We managed to get out of Mt. Elbrus Base Camp today even though the roads were a bit slippery.  The weather had a bit more in store for us as we all awoke to thunder and rain early this morning.  After breakfast we waited out the soggy conditions and with just a bit of delay we loaded the 4x4’s and made the trip back to town.  After a well deserved shower we met up for a great dinner.  The next stop for us is St. Petersburg which should be great!

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

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James and team, no luck with weather, no summit, but you do have great stories to share! Just admiring you for the hard work for the preparation and climbing. Thankful that you are well. Have great time in St.Petersburg.

Posted by: Soonja Choo on 9/3/2013 at 4:16 pm

Mt. Elbrus: Waterfall & Team Safe and Sound at Basecamp

Hi, this is Seth.  We’re all back down at basecamp.  It was a bummer to walk down today without the summit but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  Everyone was in good spirits even though we didn’t top out.

The weather has just not cooperated with us for a summit bid.  We were never able to reach high camp and that forced us to try to go for the top from Camp 1.  Even then the winds pushed us back after just a few hours.

Like I said, that’s the way it goes sometimes.  The important thing is that we’ve all descended safe and sound.  We have some great stories that is for sure.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

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Team -


I just returned from Burning Man where we battle wind and dust instead of wind and snow.  I’m sorry to hear that Elbrus has been throwing up roadblocks for you guys.  Sounds totally different than when I was there in July.  St. Petersburg is a fabulous city.  You’ll all love it.

Seth - Looking forward to seeing you and Dave down at Vinson in 3 months.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 9/3/2013 at 12:31 pm

James and team

I hope you have a wonderful time in St. P! 

I am rEally looking forward to hearing your stories, learning more about the partcular challenges you faced and safely addressed, and hearing about your next mega-goal and adventure.  Your couageous acts and actvities are very inspiring and motivational to me!!!

Travel safely,

Fred K

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 9/3/2013 at 4:03 am

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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  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

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