Elbrus - the former volcano, which has two peaks - West (altitude 5642 m) and Eastern (5621 m). In this photo essay you read the story of a novice in mountaineering, conquered the western summit. I want to warn that it would be the story of the person freshman in mountaineering, so many things may seem more experienced people rather naive or foolish, so if you just yesterday came down from Everest, go to Elbrus is an easy walk, or just have more or less serious knowledge of mountaineering and trekking, then in order to avoid negative emotions, you better not read this post. "
The train station of the city of Nalchik, half past six in the morning. Passengers arriving from Moscow train has spilled onto the platform. To our surprise, the car accounted for half of the people with travel backpacks. Most of them fled to pre-order a bus, and we also went looking for a minibus to Terskol. Search was not long, she was standing right in front. The price tag of 400 rubles, a little embarrassed, but to go to the bus station and look for cheaper options time and desire was not, so after a while we hit the road. During a trip outside the landscape gradually changed, grew around the hills and then the mountains. Periodic military posts reminded of the terrorist unfavorable situation in the Caucasus and the proximity of the border. Among the other passengers of our vehicle was only one guy with a big backpack hiking, as we have, but he did not get Terskol, and went from the ski lifts in the valley Adil-Su. We arrived at 9am in Terskol.
The exact plan for the first day we did not have, so we talked with one of the women came out of the bus. She arrived at CSKA sports center, and obviously knew this place better than we are, therefore advised to start to go to the waterfall girlish braids, which are beginning to rise to close to stop. Thanking her and go to the store across the street (and surprised the local prices, which, surprisingly, almost no different from Moscow), we went upstairs.
It was the first time I've seen real snow-capped mountains, rocky and forbidding such, so at first it was difficult to restrain his admiration for nature. Along the way we met some group of foreigners.
Here it is necessary to digress. Most people are not those who went into the mountains and hiking, consider that in the mountains simply to go up, but it is not. It is known that with increasing altitude the amount of oxygen in air decreases, and this can not be unnoticed by the body. With a sharp rise at altitudes above 2500-3000 meters above sea level can occur mountain sickness (aka gornyashka), expressed in nausea and headache, and in the case of the acute form of the disease - swelling of the brain and lungs. In order to help the body get used to the altitude (acclimatized) by increasing the number of red blood cells, is used generally "Climb high, sleep low" - during the day have to go higher to acclimatize, to spend some time there and come back down, resulting in Next time, the body will be easier.
Mount Donguz-Orun (center) and Nakratau (right). Between them pass Seven.
On the way to the waterfall.
By the waterfall we were not very slowly, so the road to it took us about two hours. Of these, a lot of time we spend on photography. When you walk with a camera, usually do not even have time to get tired because there is so much beautiful that constantly have to stop to take pictures of it.
Glade Azau, lift.
Waterfall Maiden's braids, the height of about 30 meters.
At the waterfall we spent about an hour and then went back down. One could go even higher, to the weather station (at altitudes of 2900 meters), but we decided that on the first day and that's enough. On the way down to meet Sanju, climber-alone, which, as we acclimated to rise above. He told us a great place where he lived, and we could put a tent there.
It was a hotel complex on the territory of which, by the river, we put the tent and gave $ 100 for access to the kitchen and the ability to charge the phone in one of the houses. By the way, this was the last working outlet, which I took advantage of his stay in the Elbrus region.
Our neighbors were a group of teenagers with multiple heads, which (as it turned out) we climbed to the top in one day. We also met with a guide, who leads the group on the climb. He gave us some valuable advice. During the trip one of the first questions we asked when meeting was "Where are you from?" Since I am from Moscow, and Valera from St. Petersburg, many have called "Moscow-Peter».
The day ended for us before sunset, at 9 pm, because the sitting by the fire had no desire. Afterwards we adhere to such a regime.
The second day, Tuesday, July 16.
On the second day we were planning to climb the mountain Cheget at altitudes of 3000 meters for further acclimatization. To this end, we got up at 6 am, leisurely breakfast together and then hit the road. Fortunately, we hardly slept at the foot, so that within 5 minutes after we had climbed up the slope. Tents and almost all things are left at the bottom, with a take only the most necessary.
This morning the weather was very changeable - clouds hung very close (I would even say that they "stick" to the tops of the mountains), but the sun came out periodically. Typically, in the mountains of the bad weather comes in the afternoon, so we had time left to climb and descend.
We climbed on foot, because, firstly, in this case the best acclimatization of the organism, and, secondly, we rose early so that cableway earned only when we were already at the top. The whole ascent took us about two hours. Climb to the top did not (as it is in the border zone, as notifies appropriate signs), so went a little further the last cable car station.
From the slopes of Cheget it offers one of the most popular types of Elbrus, but that day tops were tightened by clouds, so we first saw them in all its glory until the following day.
View to the side of the gorge Adil-Su.
Under side - the border zone, where the entrance is strictly forbidden without a permit.
Already at the bottom, we thought to remain at this height the second night there is no point, therefore, decided to get to the foot of Elbrus climb on foot to the cable car station Old horizon (~ located at an altitude of 3000 meters) and spend the night somewhere there. While we were going and had dinner, I went down to the ground fog. So thick that when we come down to Azau (from where the cable car to Mount Elbrus), the visibility was about 15 meters. However, this did not stop to go, so we have started to move up. From time to time it seemed that this recovery will be endless, because it was not seen nothing, except for a small section of road in front and behind. It seemed very surreal and even the concept of time was relative - without looking at the clock it was impossible to say, day or night. From this ephemeral condition I was able to pull a wagon rattling funicular somewhere above his head, which, however, also be seen. After about an hour ascent, we witnessed the sudden metamorphosis: the fog lifted, the sides seemed to rock, and somewhere above the very seemed station Old horizon. However, this is not continued for a long time, because it has risen from the bottom wall of fog, which soon covered us, and again plunged into the intangible personal.
Some time later, the fog again, let us go, but never returned, left bottom. Until then, I have several times been above the clouds, but in the evening the sight struck me as much as the first time.
When he reached the station, we decided to put my tent ten meters from the edge of the cliff, between the beams, which are part of the framework of the future building. As securing the tent to sleep. A dream could be heard growing wind and the rain begins, but inside the tent we are not particularly worried. Valéry slight headache from the altitude, I felt like a cucumber.
Third Day, Wednesday, July 17.
Waking up by the alarm clock at 6 am and looked out to the outside, we realized that all of the gorge below us had disappeared. More precisely, it will not disappear, but it was hidden from us the clouds, and it looked like the end of the card in any computer game: in front of me was only the edge of the cliff, and behind it the perfect white nothing. However, this is not continued for a long time, and after a while the clouds began to break up, exposing the rocks around. Perhaps it was one of the most unusual and beautiful moments that I have ever watched. Somewhere upstairs a short time the tops of Elbrus.
Gathering and breakfast, we went upstairs. The next target was the cable car station at the height of World ~ 3500 meters. We got to her about 3 hours, which were the most difficult for me at that time. The body is not very used to the lack of oxygen (still small, but it feels during exercise) and a 20-pound backpack. In the place I bought a two-liter bag of apple juice that was drunk almost immediately.
But the world was not the ultimate goal of the day, we had to climb another 300 meters (vertical) to the station barrels where begins the territory of snow. There is a chair lift, but to undergo the normal acclimatization we went there on foot. Backpacks with almost all things left in one of the few eateries, and have gone on a journey. However, the light would go much easier, so only half an hour, we were already in place.
Tops were closed on us a veil of clouds, but occasionally peeked through. In other people's records, I often read that from the top of the Drums deceptively seem to be very close, but we do not think so, they still seemed distant and nepokorimymi.
West and East summits of Elbrus.
View towards the weather station.
By the way, at this altitude the sun is much hotter than the Earth. Many people have a desire to strip to the waist, in spite of the surrounding snow and cold wind.
After half an hour we decided to go down back to Terskol to rent the burner (as our was not very viable) and plastic shoes and cats, without which further ascent would be more difficult, as I wore ordinary shoes .
The best rental shop Elbrus is the Culture Mul'tur located at the turn on Cheget. Location is very good, is not a sin and recommend to others. Rental cost us 400 rubles per person per day, the period starts from the next day, because It happened in the evening.
The fourth day, Thursday, July 18.
This was the only day when I did not do any of the normal frame, so there will be text only. We went back to the drums, this time using the funicular.
You've got to tell you a bit about it:
At the station Azau - Old horizon - World are two cable cars - an old pendulum, red wagons, and the second is new, gondola type, with white booths. The cost of travel on them has been 500 and 600 rubles, respectively, but the new road's price is speed and convenience. However, for us, it was important but the fact of lifting, so we chose the old cable car. Barrels of the world to work one chair lift types and costs 200 rubles. Interestingly, for the descent down any tickets do not need to.
So, up to the flanks, we put the tent, and took with him the most necessary, went to acclimatize to the shelter Eleven, located at an altitude of ~ 4100 meters. More precisely, he burned a shelter in 1998, and climbers live in another two-storey building, located next door. All afternoon sleet, but saved him good raincoats. The shelter we climbed about half an hour. Inside, we met a man from the group of Ukrainians who were planning to ascend from the north, but because of the bad weather moved into the southern slope. Inside spent about one and a half hours, during which shared their plans for the climb, and then went down. About Drums was nothing to do, so little chat with the neighbors in the tent, went to bed already at 6 pm.
The fifth day, Friday, July 19.
The morning did not bode well, as the snow covered tent, not only outside but also inside in the form of frozen condensation on the walls. In addition, I have covered gornyashka and 15 minutes after waking up, I struggled with nausea, headache, and thought "well if I did not send it all away and come down." Fortunately, the cold air quickly brought me back in fighting condition.
On this day, we had to make a last acclimatization to Pastukhov Rocks at the height of ~ 4700 meters and try to go even higher, up to 5000 meters. To do this, we first put down jackets that were waiting in the wings. At first it seemed that the weather is a little different from yesterday's, but after a while I realized that I was deeply mistaken. The wind was much stronger and even to some extent slowed our progress. I thought that maybe it will become stronger on, but fortunately, my fears were not confirmed. Visibility also leaves much to be desired.
Here we have a little to say that along the trail are the boxes that remain after the race Red Fox Elbrus Race, held annually in May. Record races is only 3, 5 hours from Azau to the top, it seems simply unrealistic achievement! These flags have saved many human lives, preventing them from getting lost in the fog. The day allowed to observe the appearance of a box in front and one behind.
Before we reached the Shelter fast enough, but the above problems began. Incorrect this momentum and lack taken from a liquid quickly drained us. The rise of the distance of the flag was given more and more difficult, and the rest is not recuperating. A few hours later we heard the lift voices coming from below. At first I thought they were hallucinations caused by oxygen deficiency and fatigue, but was soon out of the fog appeared a lone figure of a climber. They found the guy from Romania, who gave her a bit of water. A few sips of water have given me the strength and this is no exaggeration, as indeed happened. A little chat with Romania in English, we have his pace and continued to climb. Somewhere in the back appeared another group of climbers, which was slow, but did stop less often, so gradually catching up with us. Gradually I came to the Pastukhov Rocks. By the way, it does not rock, just large stones, was named in honor of climbing topographer AV Pastukhov, who spent the night at this place. Goodbye to Romanians who left to set up his tent, we stopped and began to relax. From time to time clouds parted slightly, giving an opportunity to see a part of the top of the East, which now seemed very close. Sometimes a little sun were showing, his fervor reminiscent of that we almost 5 kilometers closer to him than usual. Cliffs rise above the forces was not, so we headed down.
At the Pastukhov Rocks.
Later in the afternoon the weather began to improve, giving us hope for tomorrow. In the mountains, the weather is much more important than in the city, because in bad weather on Elbrus can be lost even seasoned climbers with experience, which there are many examples. In good weather, as this mountain seems simple and easy, but this is deceptive.
The sixth day, Saturday, July 20
It was a day of rest. On the ascent spent a lot of energy, so go for it without giving the body a rest, it would be wrong. In honor of that, we allowed ourselves to sleep 12 hours to 9 am. Finally, the storm is over, the sun shone all around. All those who have been waiting for the right moment to climb and were sufficiently acclimatized, rushed upstairs. Those who were at the bottom, watching them from below. We watched the subtle points on Diagon Shelf and I could not believe that one day we will be in their place. At the same time it is time to dry wet clothes and sleeping bags, so all the illuminated stones were quickly occupied our things.
Despite the fact that this day was for recreation, we had to climb to the shelter Eleven to the next night start from him. The trip took us somewhere in half an hour, after which we could only wait. In a shelter were several groups, including the very Ukrainian, and they were going to go on the climb that night. It was decided to go along.
Thank you for your attention.