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Title image - BAI takes you to: Mt.Elbrus
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Elbrus Expedition Dispatch

July 25, 2011 – We Reach Pashtukov Rocks on a Cloudy Day

We woke Sunday morning to sloppy freezing rain mixed with snow, the worst kind of weather you can have in the mountains. There is no way to move without getting your clothes soaked and you can go from being overheated to being chilly and shivering in an instant.

The cloudy climb to Pashtukov Rocks

The cloudy climb to Pashtukov Rocks

Our hut was cozy however, so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before we ventured out. By the time we began climbing at 9:30 AM. , there was no more rain or snow, but it was completely cloudy and it was to remain that way throughout the day. We have been lucky with weather on this trip. Saturday was perfect weather for us to arrive on Elbrus; today it would have been impossible.

Our goal for Sunday was to climb to Pashtukov Rocks, elevation 15,100 feet. It took us 4 hours of steady climbing up the glacier to reach the bottom of the Rocks. After we rested and hydrated at Pashtukov, we descended back to the hut where Karina had hot borsch soup waiting.

We spent our time in the hut discussing politics, life in present day Russia and history. We seem to have told all the jokes we know the first night we were here, but it is very satisfying to spend time comparing stories of the lives we lived in Moscow, the Caucasus, Canada and the US as well as in our travels to places such as Nepal. It has occurred to us that if more Russians and Americans and people from all over the world could get together in mountain huts and discuss their lives, we might discover that we all have more in common than we are led to believe.

We’re hoping that the skies will clear tonight and that tomorrow Elbrus will look something like this.

We’re hoping that the skies will clear tonight and

that tomorrow Elbrus will look something like this.

This morning, Monday, the weather is better, but it is still not a good summit day. Karina made a great breakfast this morning. Russian hot porridge is called Kashi and we have had several varieties. We had our favorite Kashi this morning, buckwheat. Vladimir is a vegetarian and he eats buckwheat at least twice every day. Chet said that if it will make him strong like Vladimir he will be glad to try some. We also enjoyed French toast, fresh ripe nectarines, and yogurt.

Our weather forecast shows clear skies and moderate winds here at the mid-mountain level and all the way to the summit for tomorrow morning, so we have decided to go for it. We will take it easy and stay around the hut today, keeping our gear dry and getting prepared for an early morning start on Tuesday. It is exciting to think that in 24 hours’ time we might be approaching the summit of Mount Elbrus.