July 25 - Beginning our Ascent

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Arthur, BAI Russian guideIt is about 10 o’clock in the morning now on the 25th of July and we are in a flurry of packing activities, we are almost ready to put all our bags on the bus and drive up to the bottom chair, the bottom terminal, and begin our mechanical ascent on to the lower part of Mount Elbrus, where we will have a several-night stay at the huts there, preparing to hopefully reach the summit of Elbrus in a few days.

After I called you yesterday, we descended off the glacier, passed back down to that beautiful camp, the Green Hotel; and Lana, our cook, had prepared a really nice salad and soup, a late lunch for us, about 5 in the evening we began our walk the rest of the way out to the road head. We were back here at the hotel, quite late, quite tired; but really satisfied after what was a very successful conditioning day, pretty serious mountaineering day, which we will prepare us for Elbrus.

Karina, BAI Russian guide I got to give a really ultimate thanks and brag a bit about our Russian guides, you remember Vladimir and Alex have been with us for a number of seasons in the past. This year we have 2 new guides to the BAI team in Russia. We have Arthur and Karina, unlike Vladimir and Alex who come, Vladimir from Kiev and Alex from Moscow, for the season, Arthur and Karina are locals to Kabardino-Balkarskaya which is where we are. This is an autonomous Republic of Russia, one of the reasons that I keep on returning here, the people are so friendly and engaging and welcoming us every year, I love making friends here over the years. Now Arthur, who is a computer engineer from a nearby town here, and Karina, who has just gotten out of an accounting school, are part of our team. They are both excellent alpinists and guides and we had a really enjoyable few days with them and we looking forward to ascending high on Mount Elbrus with them.

So we are off now, it will be a busy day, but a day when our muscles can rest as we ride the trams and the chair way up to our base camp from Mount Elbrus. I will try to hit a satellite connection so that I can report to you more from up there.

Above: Comet Hale-Bopp over Mt. Elbrus from Pik Terskol, Caucasus, April '97. ©"Observers", AlltheSky.com