July 25 - Team Reaches the Barrels (Part 1)

The Barrels with Elbrus in the background

It’s the morning of the 25th of July and the team has made it to the barrels which, as you know, will be the staging area, our home base as we attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Elbrus.  Yesterday our trip up here was fascinating and enjoyable.  Erin will enjoy more hikingOn a Sunday when you ride the tram cars, the cable car system up to the chair lift, it’s always a mix of tourists from around the world and predominantly just local people from the area out to enjoy a beautiful weekend in the mountains. Far more Russian tourists than anyone else. 

People are in all sorts of different attire, a lot of the time they just ride up in casual clothes, strip down to bathing suits and take photographs on the glacier, walk around and have a picnic and enjoy the glorious Caucasus summer weather.  Which by the way we have had plenty of; the weather so far has been nearly perfect.  It makes me a bit nervous because the weather is bound to change at some point.  But so far sun and too much heat when we move has been the only problem even at the higher elevations.

As usual, Olga’s meals are the biggest hit, I hate to keep talking about that but I know the team keeps mentioning that she is one of the best assets of the Berg Adventures Team.  Yesterday her soups were wonderful as always when we arrived and then last night for dinner she served this stuffed bell pepper with really flavorful ingredients inside and mashed potatoes which people always love.  Great solid food for performing in the mountains.

We all slept well in our barrels; there are six of us in each barrel.  Very comfortable accommodations and Erin decided to stay down in the valley at the lodge and enjoy hiking around and checking out the valley, taking it a little easier than we are going to on the mountain.  So she is still part of our team, but she is supporting us from the hotel below.  We are in touch with her and we are hoping she is having great hikes and we will be hiking up here on the glacier to prepare for our big ascent of Elbrus when the weather permits and we feel ready.

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