July 25 - A Real Alpine Playground (Part 2)

A local adventure seeker on the mountain.It’s still the 25th in the morning but I’m giving you an update from 3000 feet (914 m) higher up on the slopes of Mount Elbrus.  We are right at the base of Prostokov rocks and the entire team did pretty well.  Here comes Danny, he’s looking very fit, also Martin, Opus, Mike McCabe, Steve Slaughter, Jerri, Nikki, Wayne, and Steve and Mike Shuel are all coming up the trail looking really fit and strong.

Peter turned back because he banged the front of his feet and he knows from his experience on Vinson, Denali and Kilimanjaro that he needs to protect those sensitive toes.  He’s back down at camp with Olga

Jerri on the VCSPS passOn the way up today we enjoyed the scenery and the atmosphere of this alpine playground, of course we call this area the Russian Chamonix.  I tell all of my groups that I had no idea it would be like this.  We saw skiers and snowboarders hiking up to have a good time in the morning sun.  It’s a real alpine, athletic playground for people from Ukraine, Russia and local people, Balkaria people from Kabardino Balkaria, a local autonomous republic of Russia.  A great mountain playground scene.

Above us however is a high, wild place called Mount Elbrus.  Above Prostokov it starts to look very different.  We’ll climb higher the rest of the way to the 18,500 foot (5600 m) summit tomorrow if things go well.  And by the time we get that high on Mount Elbrus we will have left this world far behind, the alpine playground I’m talking about.

We have the acclimatization I think to springboard up there and have a successful ascent on Elbrus.  This team looks very strong and compatible and I’m optimistic when we give it a shot we will have success.  Now it’s back down, quickly down easy slopes to Olga and some hot soup for lunch and preparation to go tomorrow morning if the weather looks good.

Steve Slaughter smiles for the cameraDanny looking fit during our hike

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