ELBRUS DISPATCHES (Jul 3 – 19 )
SEE PHOTO ARCHIVE ON THE ARCHIVES PAGES! FROM THE ACCLIMATISATION TO SUMMIT DAY.
Summit Day (12Jul) :
Rudolf Rother, Grant Rawlinson and myself got up at 2.30am and made our way up the icy slopes to the Pashthukov Rocks (as did about 20 other people in various groups). The average angle of the slopes were between 35 – 45 degrees. It got windy almost immediately once we were above the Rocks (4,700m) and lasted throughout the traverse around the base of Elbruz East (5,621m). The yellow moon sulkily slunk off a dull red at about 5am and it took a while for the sun to get up’ casting a huge shadow of Elbrus on the Caucasian plains below.
We rested a bit before the final steep 200m ascent up to the summit plateau. This was the toughest part of all. To be frank, we should have acclimatised for another day at our 4,300m camp. But the very changeable weather demanded a swift move. The summit was windy – 80km/h at least and people barely able to stand. Summitted at just before 9am and returned at about 1pm.
Seems we made the right move since all night on the 12th, we were buffetted by gale force winds and about 6 inches of windblown snow. The foul weather chased us all the way back down on the 13th
We’re now enjoying shashliks and beers in the valley. We have heaps of time left and will do some exploratory treks in the Elbrus are before we fly back to Moscow and then Singapore on the 18th; arriving on the 19th
David and the South Col Adventures team
12 Jul 2003, 515pm Singapore time
We reached the summit of Elbrus, 5,642m just before 9am. Started the climb at 2am. The winds were strong and a bit nippy… much of the route up was snow covered, crusty with a bit of crunch!! (stomach talking). We are all OK, feeling great about the climb but very tired. Looking up the mountain, we see clouds coming in. Looks like more wind and snow over the next few days. Good thing we made the summit attempt today. We are down, back at camp… resting, drinking and resting…Dave
A trail beyond that snakes up to various alpine shelters or huts in the 3600 – 4000m range.
Beyond this, the South Col Adventures team will place a high camp above the Pashtukhov rocks at about 4800m before making an attempt on the summit.
The ascent will be preceded by acclimatisation treks. Elbrus is a straightforward glacier climb with slopes not usually exceeding 45 degrees.
Altitude and strong winds are the main challenges.
BRIEF HISTORY OF MT. ELBRUS:
Mt Elbrus is an extinct volcanic cone situated just north of the main Caucasus range. It has the twin summits, is glaciated, and the highest point in Europe, depending on whether or not you agree anything west of the Urals is Europe!.
Elbrus lies in the Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Its east summit was first climbed by the Kabardinian Killar Khashirov in 1829, who was employed as a guide by a Russian army scientific expedition.
The west (true) summit, was ascended in 1874 by a Balkarian guide, Akhia Sottaiev, who climbed with the team of Gardner, Grove,Walker and Knubel.
THE SOUTH COL ADVENTURES’ TEAM SCHEDULE:
1 – 3 Singapore-Moscow-Minerale Vody
4 – Baksan Valley
5- 7 Acclimatisation hikes up to Cheget, the Garabashi/ Diesel Huts
8 Rest day in valley
9 – 10 Summit push to Diesel Hut and then high camp above Pashtukhov Rocks
11-12 Summit and spare day
10th ANNIVERSARY EXPEDITION PICTURE
David Lim and Ming Nuru Sherpa; summit of Paldor Peak, Ganesh Himal, Nepal. June 1st 1993. Picture taken by Tan Tien Chye. Paldor Peak, 5928m, was David’s and Tan’s first Himalayan peak. Together with Ming Nuru, they climbed Pema Peak (5300m) and Paldor. Paldor was climbed by the Cleare-Howell Route; well into the monsoon season.