“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” John Muir
I came upon this mountain by accident.
This time two months ago. Though I knew of Mt Elbrus’ existence I had no inclination to climb it. That all changed at the London Adventure Travel Show. I had originally gone to plan a trip to Africa. The Mt. Elbrus stand did not stand out from the others. I took a brochure and a free DVD.
One week later I sat, jaw agape, watching the DVD and I knew that this mountain was something I had to do. The next day I began training. Focusing on pure cardio work. After a month my body began to look different. Gone was the thick heavy muscle gained from months of boxing. It is place lean muscle far more suited for the mountains.
Thoughts of the mountain began to consume me. It came to be in idle moments in the day I would find myself thinking about it. Looking up photos and reviews online. Re-watching that free DVD. Any scrap of information I found on the subject was hungrily devoured.
I became addicted.
I am addicted.
I am writing this in April. I am off the coast of Portugal and I have two and a half months before I can start the climb.
There are four ways to climb Mt. Elbrus. The South route is the shortest and offers the easiest ascent with cable cars transporting you to a height of 3800m.
The North Route is slightly harder, no cable cars and due to its inaccessibility is less popular (though that means far less crowds).
The West Route is the most technically challenging route and you have to have had some mountaineering experience beforehand.
The fourth and final route, and the one I have decided on is the Transverse Route from South to North. I have decided on this route as it offers the best of both the North and South Routes. It is also the route that allows you to see the most of the mountain. The trip will take eleven days. The first six of those will be spent acclimatizing and partaking in snow and ice courses. The seventh day is summit day where we will climb to 5642m. There are two reserve days in-case we are unable to make the summit on the seventh day.
There is a fifth way to experience the mountain and that is a ski tour. This would interest me, but for the fact that it would be my first time skiing and I think skiing constantly for seven days at a complete beginner level would tire me out.
The company that I have chosen to climb Mt Elbrus with is Elbrus Tours. They are a small travel company based out of Moscow that specialize in Mt. Elbrus but also offer trips to other mountains within Russia.