August 9th – Mt. Elbrus in Sight

It is the evening of August 9th and I’m sitting on a rock looking down onto our campsite in this beautiful lush green meadow that the Russian guides have nicknamed, “The Green Hotel”. It’s an amazingly beautiful spot – on one side of the meadow is the steep glacial moraine. You can climb to the top of that and look into a cirque that is surrounded by two of the spectacular north faces of the Caucasus range.

There is a peak in view that is called Ullukara. The other great north face above this peak is called Djantugan. In the other direction from camp there’s a steep grass and rock face with waterfalls tumbling down it and up the valley we are looking at Gunachi Peak. We are going to get up at four o’clock tomorrow morning and attempt to climb this peak. We’ll be moving out across the glacier in the early morning and hopefully up on those high ridges ascending to the top of Gunachi Peak.. We’ve already packed our bags and we are settling down for a little bit of rest.

(Wally begins walking back to camp and gets cut off. He calls again…)

What I want to report now is I was walking back to camp and met Alex and Julie who were out for a walk through the meadow as well and the clouds lifted suddenly off to the west and the full bulk of Mt. Elbrus was in view. It looks massive from here and really exciting and inspiring to the group. So we are sitting around and getting ready for dinner. I’ll report again to let you know how our climb goes tomorrow.

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