25 July to 4 August
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NEWSFLASH: Our August Elbrus team successfully reached the summit at 7am today! Congratulations to you all. Pictures to follow.
It was just 12 short days ago the team gathered in Pyatigorsk for the start of our expedition. In these 12 days we have not only gotten to know our teammates but we have gained vast respect for one another. For, as it often happens, in adverse conditions you see the true beauty of an individual’s spirit.
We were lucky to experience so much on this expedition … a wonderful Russian culture, magnificent mountain views, wonderfully clear and sunny days and incredible adverse conditions.
The first several days of our expedition were full of sunshine and views of the Caucasus Mountains that would leave anyone in awe. We spent these days acclimatizing to the evaluation gains, we need to make before attempting our summit bid. We also had 36 hours of snowfall when moving up to our basecamp at 4100 meters (13,450 feet). With about 50 cm (20 inches) of fresh snow our world turned white, clean and majestic. The downside of this beautiful snow would be felt on our first summit attempt. Back to Top
After moving to our high basecamp we spent a couple days climbing higher and higher on the mountain to gain much needed acclimatization. It was enjoyable climbing in pleasant conditions … the normal Elbrus weather of bright sunny skies in the morning with afternoon clouds and light snow showers. It was in these mixed conditions that we finished our acclimatization and were ready for our summit attempt when the conditions and weather allowed.
Early on the morning of July 31st we set out, from our comfortable basecamp, for the summit of Elbrus. The skies were clear there was a light breeze and the weather forecast was favorable for a summit attempt. As dawn broke so did the calm conditions … the winds steadily increased and the temperatures steadily decreased. The fresh snow we so enjoyed in the 2 days prior now was our biggest nemesis! The strong winds blew this beautiful fresh snow in every direction imaginable. The wind blown snow would find its way to your core if you were not vigilant about keeping it out. Despite the harsh conditions we pushed on to the saddle between Elbrus’ two peaks at 5340 meters (17,520 feet). Here we try to gain some warmth with food, water and extra layers. It is here we must look up towards Elbrus’ summit and determine the safety of the steeper slopes ahead. With much thought and deliberation we determined the safety of the slopes above don’t warrant any higher movement on the mountain. So we retreat to basecamp. We are tired, cold, hungry and feeling dejected. Back to Top
The reliable snowcat we took on summit day (Scott Patch). Jules getting off chairlift in Cheget.
But we don’t have much time to feel sorry for our losses as we must pull together and establish a game plan for another summit attempt. We decide to take a rest day (Aug 1st) and attempt Elbrus again early on the 2nd of August. Rest, which will come easy tonight!!
On our rest day we spend the time recovering and enjoying each others company … Pramila and Andrea doing yoga, Dan thoroughly drying his gear (something I should of taken more an interest in), Ryan and myself trying to drum up support for a mayor of Elbrus with the other teams …. And perfecting his 10 point scale to success. Everyone was keeping busy, hydrated and well feed. We were ready ….Mentally at least. Back to Top
The morning of the 2nd August came fast …. 1:00 am is always early, always. But we awake and start to get ready for the day ahead … So many unanswered questions, will the wind be strong, will it be bitterly cold again, will I have the strength to summit. Only time will tell … best to get in a grove now and focus on the “here-and-now”.
So we start up. The wind is light, but any gust reminds you of the weather 2 days ago … please don’t blow to hard, please! The temperatures are cold but tolerable, up we go … one step after another!!
We get to the saddle …. First ones there …. Need to do a through evaluation of the slope above us. It passes, its safe to ascend, so up we go. We’re tired but our excitement hides that. It’s dawn and the sunrise over the Black Sea is breathtaking!! Slowly we climb, slowly we get closer to the summit of Elbrus!! The views help us focus, they keep our minds clear and remind us why we are here …. It’s magical!! Finally we see the summit pyramid …. Only 200 meters away!!! One step after another and shortly we are standing at the bottom of the pyramid … only 10 meters left … THE SUMMIT!!! Time to take a moment, reflect, take a few pictures and regain our composure for the descent. We are rejuvenated!!! We descend quickly and safely to basecamp … upon reaching basecamp a huge congratulations is in order!! Success!!! Back to Top
Scott Patch: team heading for the summit .
Hey everyone this is Scott Patch with an Elbrus dispatch for August 2nd 2013.
Today we woke up to fogy conditions at 1:00 am. In the hour of summit preparation the fog lifted to beautifully clear skis. At just shortly after 2:00am we left for the summit. Thanks to clear skis, light winds and good snow co nditions the summit was reachable. Congratulations to Ryan, Terry, Andrea, Dan and Jan for a great summit push and success on Elbrus!!
Thanks for following our expedition. Back to Top
Cheget chairlift. Dinner in Azau
Outhouse at huts. photo right by Scott Patch: some of the wonderful architecture on the way to Elbrus
Summit. Photo Scott Patch. Photo Andrea DeVoe
Sunrise such a nice time of day. Photo Scott Patch. Looking towards Caspian Sea. Photo Scott Patch
Hi everyone this is Scott Patch with a Elbrus expedition dispatch for August 1st 2013.
Today was a much deserved rest day!! We spent our time in the sun visiting with other team members, exploring the mountain around us, meeting new friends on other teams, learning yoga poses from Pramila and gaining vast amounts of knowledge from Ryan Vlasak and his ten point scale to success.
Tomorrow we will leave our basecamp at 2:00 am for our 2nd summit attempt. The weather forecast looks favorable and reports from teams summiting today were very good regarding avalanche danger higher up.
It's going to be a big day ... when we make it back down to basecamp we have to back up and quickly head down the mountain to the town of Azau.
Thanks for following our expedition.
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Meal at huts basecamp
Inside our Huts
Hi everyone this is Scott Patch with a Elbrus dispatch for July 31 2013.
We started our summit attempt this morning to clear skies and light winds. As the night turn to dawn the winds decided to pick up on us. The strong winds continued with us for the rest of the day. Our high point was the saddle at 5340 meters (17,519 feet). The slopes above the saddle were to unsafe for our liking. So we left the saddle and returned to the huts. Tomorrow we will rest and see what happens after that.
Thanks for following our dispatches. Back to Top
Terry and Andrea approaching summit on 2nd attempt. Jan on way down after aborted 1st summit attempt. 5200 meters.
Team heading up for first summit attempt. 4900 meters. Our huts with Elbrus in background.
Top tram terminal (right) and bottom of ski lift to just below barrels. Food and gear awaiting snowcat trip to huts.
Transporting gear, form top of last tram terminal, to just below barrel Huts. View from tram looking back up baskan valley. Towns of Azau, Terskol and Cheget.
Pramila and Andrea doing yoga on our rest day at Elbrus basecamp 4100 meters (13,450 feet) Photo Scott Patch. Group dinner in the huts.
Hey everyone this is Scott Patch with an Elbrus dispatch for July 30th 2013.
Today we woke to beautiful clear skis after it snowed most of last night. We had an excellent breakfast and got ready to head up the mountain for our 3rd and finale acclimatization hike. We had about 2 hours of climbing with clear skis before the weather started coming in. Occasionally the clouds would part for some breathtaking views of Elbrus and the surrounding mountains. We reached our objective for acclimatizing and headed back down the mountain for a great dinner.
After dinner it was preparation time because tomorrow, early morning, we'll leave for summit. We'll take another look at everything early morning but all signs are pointing for a good summit day.
Thanks for following our expedition and we look forward to posting news tomorrow! Back to Top
Hi everyone this is Pramila Kumari with an Elbrus expedition dispatch for July 29 2013.
Today we left are comfortable quarters in Azau for huts at elevation of 4100 meters. We had mixed weather. When we started it was cloudy with very low visibility. As we headed higher towards Puspakhov Rocks sun showed up on and off and we were able to get some views of the Caucasus mountains and it was beautiful. We were very fortunate to witness that.
The higher we went it started to snow, and the visibility started to greatly diminish. Finially we arrived at Puspakhov Rocks. I was thrilled beyond words!!!!! That was our groups acclimatization hike, and it was successful, Everyone did it.
We started to head down to our huts. It was fun coming down. Once we arrived at huts a hot dinner was waiting for us. As we dispatch this message we are all settled in our beds. Tomorrow we plan to climb to 5100 meters and practice self arrest and other mountain safety things.
Good night and thanks for following us. Back to Top
Team walking together for next camp.
Hi everyone this is Scott Patch with a dispatch for the 28 July 2013 Elbrus Expedition.
Today our goal was to get to 4100 meters to a acclimatize. We woke in the valley to heavy rain and low clouds. As we ascended the rain turned to snow and at 3700 meters we were in about 35 cm (14 in) of fresh snow at 3700 meters (12,140 feet). Despite the fresh snow we slowly moved up the mountain until we got to 4100 meters (13,450 feet). Everyone felt great!!! After a short. Real we descended back into the valley for an excels t lunch.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent packing our backpacks as tomorrow we move to our Elbrus basecamp at 4100 meters.
We are all having a great time and are enjoying the food immensely!!!!
Thanks for following our expedition. Back to Top
Hey everyone this is Scott Patch with an Elbrus 2013 dispatch from Azau, Russia for 27th July.
This morning we woke to blue skies and crisp mountain air. After a wonderful breakfast, at our hotel in Azau we set out for our first acclimatization hike up Mt Cheget, 3450 meters (11,320 feet). It was a wonderful hike, in beautiful weather and stunning views of Mt Elbrus, Mt Koguti, Mt Donguzorum and Mt Nikra. After spending about 45 minutes on the summit, enjoying the wonderful views and great company, we descended to the village of Cheget for an amazing lunch. After lunch we wondered the stores and outdoor shops of Cheget Village before returning to Azau for some relaxation.
Tomorrow we will travel to the slopes of Elbrus, approx 4200 meters (13,780 feet) for our second day of acclimatizing. We look forward to getting into snow and having a great day.
Thanks for following g our Expedition!! Back to Top
Ms. Pramila Kumari resting behind beautiful mountain.
- Scott P. (leader) - USA
- Dr. Jan S. - Australia
- Ms. Pramila K. - USA
- Ms. Jules L. - UK
- Ms. Andrea D. - USA
- Terry S. - USA
- Calin L. - USA
- Ryan V. - USA
- Dan H. - USA. Back to Top