We arrived at base camp this morning after a very cold chairlift. Base camp is a series of small huts each one about 20ft by 8ft. They are spartan inside. Each one has 8 beds, two small windows, a mirror and a small shelf. On the walls are assorted screws and nails serving as hooks to hang gear off, climbers ingenuity. When the generator is running we also have two bare bulbs that struggle to light the hut and a tiny space heater.
They are simple, honest structures. And we will live in them for the next four days. Staying high constantly. Living on the mountain. Constantly straining against the altitude.
The one thing I find kind of strange about the huts is the fact that I still get three bars of signal and 3G! Thats better then some places in London (I’m looking at you Tower Bridge!). The portapotty here also wins the award for best placed portapotty. This award is somewhat negated by the fact that it is possibly the worst one I have ever been in. I have a cunning plan though. I simply won’t go. Just hold it all in and try not to think about it.
Once our kit had scattered about the hut we dressed in our wet weather kit and went for another acclimatization hike to 4100m ending up at a memorial for people who had died on the mountain. It was a sobering thought. Some people don’t ever come down from around here.
We rested at the memorial for quarter of an hour then went back down. Lunch was huge. At these heights your body burns more calories. Everything takes more effort.
We napped and I found out that my bunk was located right under a leak. I switched to the other end of the hut and took a nap.
One thing you don’t realize about being at a base camp is just how much down time there is. Your sole purpose for being there is to simply be there. I guess for someone more spiritual it would be a good place to meditate or do yoga or something. I however began to bounce off the walls.
Luckily we had Uno so our afternoon dissolved into hugely competitive games of Uno that would continue throughout our stay there.
In the evening we were also joined by Natasha the second guide who would be helping Andrey.
Dinner was huge and afterwards the aggressive Uno continued until the generator shut off for the night.
The company that I am climbing Mt Elbrus with is Elbrus Tours. They are a small travel company based out of Moscow that specializes in trips to Mt. Elbrus but also offer trips to other mountains within Russia. You should check them out!