July 21, 2006 - Perfect Weather and Good Times in Elbrus Region

Our view of the East summit of Elbrus

We are waking to a perfectly clear morning in the Caucasus Mountains.  From the window of my hotel room I can see blue skies above the highest peaks and the cool morning dew is fresh on the grass in the forest around the grounds.

Claire, Yael and Rob adjusting their cramponsYesterday morning in similar weather we sat on a porch outside the hotel and fitted our crampons to our boots in preparation for climbing on the glaciers above.  When we left for the hike up the Irikchat Valley where we hiked form the village of Elbrus.  There we enjoyed talking with local people (with the help of Vladimir’s translation of course!)  The warmth of the people of this region has always been a big part of our climbs here and it is the same now; we enjoy photographing, smiling and laughing with the Balkar people who live in the villages around.  They are a proud and independent lot and one finds their simple mountain life appealing. 

During our hike up Irikchat we took advantage of opportunities to lie in the warm alpine sun.  Soaking up rays in a mountain meadow has to be one of the most enjoyable forms of acclimatization. We also enjoyed beautiful and inspiring views of the East Summit of Elbrus and of the rugged and spectacular Caucasus Range to our south.

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