George Kotov is one of Russia's leading climbers and has climbed extensively around the world, on all of the great ranges. He lives in St Petersburg.
His hobbies include paragliding, microlighting and is a avid fan of off road rally, having personally driven from Russia to Tibet. He was formally one of Russia top speed climbers. He was the first to make winter ascents of two 7000m peaks in the Pamirs. He has also climbed Mt. Everest.
Elbrus 2014 Russia : A 7-Summit Challenge
"When Teena Gates and I first spoke first about her ambition to climb mountains she was 23 stone in weight wiht a height of 4 foot 11 inches. She was overweight, unhealthy and had a dream to make a change in her life and become healthy, fit and climb mountains. She needed to lose weight and over 12 months lost nearly half her body weight - 10 stone. Teena is inspirational in her approach and we have worked together and have had amazing experiences in training and climbing together as she has made her dreams a reality to achieve her Everest in climbing mountains, from the hills in Ireland to trekking peaks in Nepal to the slopes of Mt Elbrus in Russia. Below is her blog on Mt Elbrus. Once again proving that if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it. If you plan, train and are part of a focused team you will achieve your ambitions in life. Teena explains in her blog her feelings of anxiety, frustration, fear, excitement and elation at summiting Mt Elbrus in Russia." - Pat Falvey
I looked at the icy slope leading downhill away from me and shuddered. I knew I could go no further unless I tackled my terrors right here. The snow was hard-packed, shiny and hardened into ice. I could see the imprint of the boots that had passed before me and wondered if my feet would hold as well. Smothering all thought of what lay ahead, I took a deep breath, forcing the thin air into my lungs. I reached forward and gratefully took our leader Pat Falvey’s hand, and like a child I slowly and cautiously followed him inch-by-inch down the slope. Terrified of the drop to my right and concentrating firmly on Pat’s orange down jacket, glowing like a beacon ahead, step by step, until we finally reach a makeshift platform. Pat leaves me here with a grin and, thankfully, I hug him, assuring him I can take it from here. I step forward on my own into the dark of the drop-house and breathe a sigh of relief as the smell of human waste engulfs me, finally, I can go to the loo…
I don’t know why people climb mountains. I don’t know why I do myself; and frequently when I’m climbing them, I promise I will never climb them again. Then I see clouds drift across a lofty peak or a movie with the hero stepping confidently in crampons across the rock and ice and suddenly my breath catches in my chest and I think ‘that’s me’. The reality is somewhat different. I stumble and slip in my massive insulated boots, I move awkwardly across the snow in massive down jackets, with freezing fingers squeezed into multiple pairs of gloves, trying to hold onto an axe and make it work in a way that will save your life. It’s not pretty, it’s not an average holiday, and yet we spend weeks of our lives to seek out high, frosty, deadly places to climb. Why? Perhaps in a world which is both easier and harder, the immovable presence of a mountain gives you a benchmark to pit yourself against, to measure yourself against the forces of nature and find out who you are and what you can achieve. As one of the lads said in the safety of base camp last night “If I can do what I did, and go through what I went through up there and come out smiling, what am I capable of back down below in the real world?” Perhaps it’s that simple, mountains make me feel alive.
We all spent months preparing for this trip, all in our various ways. Hiking at home, cycling, running, swimming, gym work. All trying to be fit enough to justify our place in the team. You don’t just sign up for a couple of weeks on a mountain, you sign up for a six-month campaign of attrition. My own preparation was a nightmare. I travelled to Scotland in January to practice ice skills, shot off to Norway in February to get a taste for how to dress against the bitter cold, I ran, swam, cycled, and then I fell, badly. I needed 14 stitches in my knee, two month’s rehab and then 6 weeks frantic activity to try and get my weight down and my fitness back. In doing that, I pulled a lateral Meniscus in my ‘good’ knee. I’d blown it – I was heading off to the mountain overweight and with both knees in braces. I was feeling weak and feeble as we went through our acclimatisation walks and ice-drills on Elbrus, waiting for the moment of truth.
I had massive doubts. But I knew others had concerns too; there were worries about altitude sickness from the light air, lack of energy, reaction to food, concerns over gear, how cold or warm would we be on the mountain. We all had our niggles and worries, and the team pulled together and reassured each other as best we could. Finally, summit day approached with Pat, our expedition leader, and Artem, our Russian guide, locking heads over weather patterns and forecasts for the days ahead. The weather was difficult and local knowledge vital for interpreting conditions on the mountain. But we had worked hard as a team and acclimatised well, with walks up to 5,100m, and sessions practising ice skills and ice-axe arrest techniques on the surrounding slopes. We were strong and we were ready. Despite a storm blowing with thunder and lightening just minutes apart and wind shaking our flimsy hut, we finally got the word that we’d go the following morning. Maybe.
We checked our gear and then prepared for an easy day. I slept. I ate breakfast, prepared my pack and clothes for the summit, and went back to bed. We had lunch in the communal hut and discussed the weather and the chances of going and then I went back to bed and slept again. We had our ‘last supper’ together as a team and I went back to bed, rolling into the row of mattresses that I was sharing with 7 other people, and slept again. I knew I had trained all I could, eaten all I could, hydrated all I could, doubted all I could, prepared all I could, now all I had left to do was rest all I could. In my mind, I was ‘sleeping my way to the top’.
“At 4am with temperatures of -20 and 35k winds, when the cold punches through your ‘top of the range’ down-jacket like a bullet through paper – you know just how fragile you are.”
2am had come and gone and the team thought the trip was off. But two hours later the call went up. With remarkable skill and daring, Pat and his local experts had spotted a weather window and the game was on.
Tumbling out of the heavy sleeping bag and silk liner, pulling on my extra layers, my ice-breaker vest, and favourite Columbia Teflon top and leggings, I add another precautionary Blisteze patch to my heel, before powdering my feet and double socking. Next my heavy double-boots go on, with gaiters to keep the snow out, Gortex waterproof layers, down jacket, balaclava, hat, gloves with liners under mitts, goggles, head torch, hiking poles, ice-axe. Moving heavily I tie on my 12-spike crampons and finally swing my rucksack onto my back, with food and nearly 2 litres of water. I’m ready to follow the team out into the darkness, into the weak, golden pools of light from our head torches, as we leave our camp behind.
At 5,100m the air is light and my lungs screaming for oxygen as we begin the long traverse under the East Summit of Elbrus. I wonder if my mind has been playing tricks because I’m sure someone said this was a gradual slope. Nothing felt gradual about the incline pushing up against my feet. But in the cold, against the wind, and with the effort of each step, I’m suddenly reminded of another reason I love mountains. The life giving sun begins to dawn, casting pink fingers across the waves of frozen landscape, merging with mountain and clouds and me. The incredible beauty of nature. Off in the distance across the deadly slope I’ve been trying to avoid noticing; the shadow of Elbrus is cast pyramid-like against the surrounding mountains. It’s like a scene from the movie ‘The Summit’ when the awe-inspiring and deadly K2 casts it’s shadow across into China. I thought views like that were only for the silver screen and now I’m seeing the same effect here, with my own eyes. The sweeping beauty all around embraces me and warms my soul as the team push slowly forwards against the spindrift as the 35k winds throw surface snow against our faces, driving temperatures as low as -20.
We reach the ‘saddle’ between Elbrus’ iconic twin peaks and the game changes again. The sun’s up and blasting us with her fiery UV rays as the cold winds continue to hammer us, trying to steal fingers and toes. We rest briefly, then rope up in groups of 4, before tackling the next steep incline. The hardest part of this gruelling challenge is before us. The grail lies ahead and nothing between us, save this icy slope. “It’s a hill” I tell myself, as I push my shoulders forward into the wind. Ice axe in one hand, walking pole in the other, inching forward. I ignore the cold, the wind, the sun. I’m telling myself I’m in the Galtee Mountains back in Ireland with my training buddies Tony Nation and Karen Hill. It’s my pace and we’re pushing up Temple Hill. One foot in front of the other.
I’m kicking into the snow and ice with my crampons. I’m
thinking of technique, thinking of efficiency. I feel like dragging my feet forward but know if I don’t use the spikes to connect, my foot will slide and I’ll have an energy sapping jerk, pulling at my sore knee and forcing me to take the step again. So it’s slow, steady, and precise. The familiar mountaineer’s step. One clear stride, resting on your straight leg before kicking forward again with the alternate foot. One of our guides, Sasha, had been talking to me about pressure breathing. Forcing air into your lungs at altitude, without shallow breathing or hyperventilating. So again I concentrated. One step, one breath. Although I felt I was double-timing. Breathing two deep breaths per step. But I wasn’t stopping. I was still moving forward and that was the key. You eat these mountains bite by bite and step by step. I was up front in a line of 4, and occasionally, I’d shout back down the line “lads we have this, lads this is ours , we’re not going back now” and the shouts of encouragement coming back up the line gave me new energy to push harder.
Finally the slope evens out to one last platform before the final summit up ahead. So close I feel I can reach out and touch it. The rest of the team are already there, spread out in bunches of four. Either back in the dip or just dropping down from the summit. There’s breathless congratulations and high fives and reassurances that the summit is just 10 minutes away. The ropes are off, rucksacks abandoned, and we four are on our own again for one last pull. I’m last, but I don’t care, I’m exhausted but I don’t care, I’m sore but I don’t care. I’m having this. I’m taking this. There is no way I’m not going to reach out and grasp this now. Crampons in, 12 points in, push and breath, breath and push. Step after step, lungs screaming, legs screaming, soul soaring. I’m steps away from the summit and I hear some of the team shouting encouragement across the wind. I find new energy and double-time my steps as I pull myself up to stand at the top of Europe. Against clear blue skies, in bright sunlight, I turn around 360 degrees to take in the view, and with a catch in my throat, I slowly realise that TeamElbrus have made it. I’ve made it. 5,642m (18,510ft) the summit of Mount Elbrus.
Later, much later. We’re eating lamb kebabs, drinking local beer and reminding ourselves of the journey we’ve made, both alone and as a team. I’m making my new buddies promise to remind me, never to do this again. So hard, so tough, so demanding and time-consuming. I’ve had it with mountains. I’m no adrenalin junkie, I know when I’ve had more than enough. I’m off trekking in Spain in October with Travel Department but that’s not about endurance, that’s a holiday. Gorgeous 10k walks in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains before heading back to a lovely rural hotel to cool off in the pool. Now that’s civilised. I’m looking forward to walking in Spain. I’ve never done that before. Of course I’ve been walking in other hot climates so I know what to expect and what to wear. I loved hiking in Africa. I climbed Mount Elgon in Uganda before cycling a couple of hundred kilometres over to the Nile to kayak down some white-water rapids. Phyll and Joe from TeamElbrus, they love Africa too. They’ve climbed Kilimanjaro – an amazing mountain they tell me. You know, after Elbrus, and Spain in October, I’d be well fit by next year. Kilimanjaro huh? well maybe just one more mountain…
William ‘Wildfire’ Shorthall
Mick ‘The BIC’ Byrne
Brian ‘Lazarus’ Gallogly
Joe ‘The Snapper’ Byrne
‘Doc’ Phyll Blake Byrne – (My Little Star)
Paddy ‘The Hat’ Lonergan
Noel ‘The Beard’ Garrahan
John Paul ‘Glow in the Dark’ Murphy
Shane ‘I can’t breathe but I’m still coming’ O’Toole
Teena ‘Never Again, Maybe” Gates
Guide; Irish & Worldwide Adventures’ Pat Falvey
Chief Russian guide; Artem Rostovtsev
Read Teena Gates' daily blog on her experience of climbing Mt Elbrus if you wish a to gain further insight into the fears, anxieties and excitment of undertaking the challenge of climbing Mt Elbrus in Russia.
'Because of the volatile security situation in the North Caucasus, we strongly advise against all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan and to the eastern and southern parts of Stavropol Krai bordering Chechnya and Dagestan. We strongly advise against all but essential travel to North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria.'
There is a high threat from terrorism in Russia, including suicide bombings in public places. Caution and vigilance in public places is advised. Attacks have occurred most frequently in Moscow and in the North Caucasus. As a result, the photographing of any military installation, establishment or site of strategic importance is prohibited; this includes airports and metro stations. People who do not observe this rule are likely to have their cameras confiscated, be detained for questioning and possibly arrested.
Recent examples of terrorist incidents include the following:
From 18-21 February 2011, three Russian tourists were killed in attacks on a ski lift and minibus in the Mt. Elbrus area in Kabarno-Balkaria. Mt. Elbrus has becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination in recent years. However, travel to the area is not advisable, given its proximity to insecure areas of the North Caucasus region
On 24 January 2011, a bomb exploded in the international arrivals section of Domodedevo Airport in Moscow. Over thirty people were killed and many more were injured.
On 19 October 2010, the Chechen Parliament building was attacked in Grozny, resulting in the deaths of six people and injuries to seventeen.
On 9 September 2010, a suicide bomber blew up a car in Vladikavkaz market square, in the North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia. Fifteen people were killed and over ninety inured.
On 29 March 2010, two suicide bombings on the Moscow metro resulted in the deaths of thirty nine people and many others were injured.
On 27 November 2009, an express train from Moscow to St. Petersburg was derailed. This is thought to been have been a deliberate act of terrorism. Twenty seven people died and it is estimated that a hundred others were injured'
Department of Foreign Affairs website 07th April 2011
The highest peak on the South American Continent and a continental high point for those endeavoring to complete the Seven Summits Challenge. It is a trekking peak that can be completed by most fit people that can acclimatize to the altitude. Also get a chance to see Mendoza.
High success rate. Grade: Intermediate/Experienced
Date: Contact us here at www.patfalvey.com for 2015 prices, dates and details
Price: All In - TBD (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food - Permits- Visa)
Land Only Options Available All Climbing Year.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa:
Our trip will take us on an adventure of a life time to the highest mountain on the African Continent, Kilimanjaro. We can go on safari to see Africa’s wild life to Lake Manayara & Ngorongoro, the crater of the rain gods. Over 95% summit success rate.
Dates: TBD - contact us here at www.patfalvey.com for 2015 dates, prices and details
Price: TBD - contact us at the office for 2015 prices (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food - Visa- Permits)
Add Ons available- Safari, Zanzibar & Mt Meru
Land Only Options Available All Year
Everest Base Camp, Nepal:
An exciting opportunity for walkers and adventurers to trek through the most amazing landscapes in the world. Each day's trek is more spectacular than the day before as we make our way deeper into the mountains to reach Everest Base Camp.
High success rate
Grade: Beginner/ Intermediate
Date: TBD - contact us here at www.patfalvey for 2015 dates and details
Price: TBD - contact us at www.patfalvey.com for 2015 details and prices (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food - Visa- Permits)
Add On Available Island Peak (price tbd - call us today for a quote!)
Land Only Options Available All Trekking Year
Mt Elbrus, Russia
Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, we spend a few days in the valleys around this mountain gaining height, acclimatising. The trip also includes a day discovering Moscow. Small groups!
Grade: Intermediate without skills
Date: TBD - contact us in the office for 2015 prices and details - www.patfalvey.com
Price: TBD - contact us for a quote today (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food- Visa)
Land Only Options Available All Climbing Year
Peru- Traditional & Alternative Inca Trail
Sandwiched between the driest desert and the largest rainforest in the world, the Andes of Peru contain some of the world's most spectacular mountain scenery. Within these mountains ancient civilizations, of which the Incas are the most famous, built cities, temples and roadways (there are known to be more then 25,000km) using precision construction techniques that continue to baffle scientists today. Both our tours to Peru enable you to explore the impressive relics of these civilizations, while enjoying some magnificent walking through the diverse scenery in the mountains and valleys of the Eastern Cordillera. On this tour we offer you a little more than just the classic Inca Trail, with plenty of time to visit all the major Inca sites in the area.
Land Only options available
Contact us to custom build your trip. Also check out our section http://www.patfalvey.com/independent.htm and visit our gallery to see some great images of previous expeditions and training.
Trip: Mt. Elbrus, Caucasus range, Russia, Highest Mountain in Europe
Altitude: 5642m a continental High Point and 7 summit challenge
Route: Adylsu Valley - Priut Hut - Summit - Terskol
Dates: June & August
Duration: 13/14 Days total
Grade:Trekking – Strenuous,
Prices: €2,250 Land Only
Flight: From €880- Ireland-Moscow-Mineral Ni Vody Central Caucasus & return.
A superb climb, and suitable for a beginner moving on from trekking the likes of Kilimanjaro into climbing and moving on snow and ice. It brings you to a volitile region of Russia, just miles from the border with Georgia, in the central Caucasus and to the peaceful region of Kabardino-Balkaria were we climb Europe’s highest mountain.
The Caucasus Mountains stretch for 550 miles (880Kms), from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. They form the physical barrier dividing Europe and Asia, and the whole range lies entirely within the former Soviet Union. This region is home to 50 different Ethnic groups who all seek independence and recognition for their customs, beliefs and their freedom from repressive regimes.
This area is one of the most interesting places on earth and this expedition gives us a chance to explore the wonders of this otherwise war-torn region by visiting the peaceful region of Kabardino-Balkaria, which is situated in the Central Caucasus and is our destination for our attempt on Mt. Elbrus.
The highest and most glaciated part of the Caucasus is the central region, where Mount Elbrus stands, the highest mountain in Europe. Elbrus is a popular mountain, being a straightforward glacier climb. The main hazards are the high altitude (which we prepare for as fully as possible, with training climbs and walks in the Baksan valley), and poor weather, for which we have built in a few spare days to give more flexibility.
Climbers will need to be familiar with the use of crampons and ice axes, although ski poles will generally used. We have scheduled in to our itinerary specific acclimatisation days to allow our bodies to adjust accordingly for our summit attempt. We have designed a course, Snow and Ice Skills, specifically for those travelling to a region and landscape like that found on Mount Elbrus. We recommend you complete this prior to travelling with us.
Our expedition begins in Moscow. We only have a very brief stop off here before catching our flight to Mineral Nye Vody and then on to our base, Terskol which is situated in the Balksen valley. Before our attempt on Elbrus, we spend a few days in the spectacular valleys surrounding Elbrus, acclimatising, training, resting and looking for a break in the weather. Mount Elbrus is notorius for storms!
Undoubtedly, the best known and most alluring mountain in Russia, and the largest in Europe, Mount Elbrus is a dormant volcano, one of the 'Seven Summits'. The fact that it is the highest in Europe suffices for many to go and climb it.
Elbrus belongs to a handful of mountains with a very special and irresistible kind of beauty which lies in their shape and setting. It stands 11km north from the main range and exceeds its neighbours in height by 1200-2000m. The views from both summits are breathtaking: to the north is a rolling carpet of pastures and all other sides there is a sea of snowy peaks.
The Elbrus Region/ Prielbrusie- Located in the Central Caucasus, the highest part of the entire mountain range is an area where many valleys converge into the Baksan Valley. It's glaciers give rise to the Baksan, Kuban and Malkan Rivers. In this region we will see many famous peaks such as Mt.Shkhelda (4,320m), Mt. Chatin (4,369m), Mt. Ushba (4,710) and Mt. Elbrus itself (5,642m).
Mount Elbrus dominates the Central Caucasus and has two seperate volcano vents: the western peak, Zapadnaya 5,642m, is the higher peak and the eastern peak, Vostochnaya, at 5,621m. The eastern peak has a crater 250m in diameter. The mountain is covered in a huge sheet of ice which covers some 145 square km's and is up to 400m thick. Often horrific weather surrounds the mountain and it is notorius for storms. From the col that divides the two peaks the snow slopes descend to the many tongues of ice and crevasses lying in the valleys.
The ancients knew the mountain as Strobilus , Latin for ' pine cone', a direct loan from the ancient Greek Strobilos, meaning ' a twisted object' - a long established botanical term that describes the shape of the volcano's summit. A myth that is held here claims Zues had chained Prometheus, the Titan who had stolen fire from the Gods and given it to ancient man- likely a reference to historic volcanic activity.
By the normal route it is a long climb over a medium incline that requires good acclimatisation, but has no real technical difficulty. The simplicity of this climb is not to be under estimated, it is a dangerous route. Apart from the altitude, the highly variable weather and frequent violent storms combined with low temperatures, as low as -25 degrees, means that this ascent is a real high altitude adventure!
The average time to summit is approx. 9 hours and approx. 4 hours for descent. Crampons and ski poles are necessary for this climb and ice axes are useful for extra safety. Like all big mountains, the peaks of the Caucasus generate and attract their own weather, making conditions unpredictable and ferocious at times. To be prepared for a wide range of temperatures it is imporatant to bring everything on the recommended equipment list.
This trek is suitable to those moving on from high altitude peaks like Kilimanjaro and wishing to start progressing to mountains which require additional skills such as moving on snow and ice. A good level of fitness is required prior to departure. A good level of fitness is required for this climb and if you have not been training prior to this climb you will lower your chances of a successful summit. It is a demanding trek and includes an average of 6 hrs walking per day, with exception to summit night which is between 12 and 15hrs.This is a technical climb and is very steep in places. For many people it will be a very hard physical challenge. We strongly recommend that you seek advice on fitness from a professional instructor.
Prices & Inclusions:
Land Only €2250
All inclusive €3,130
Fully escorted with experienced guides and on site training
Accommodation while trekking
Meals on route
Tips, bar bills, laundry, room service etc.
Extra baggage costs
Personal gear - Medication
Optional Extras Moscow City Guided Tour - 1 Day - Extra night B&B - Please contact us for more details on Moscow City Tour
Day 1: Dublin- Moscow-overnight flight
Day 2: Moscow - Mineralnye Vody - Tereskol, night hotel or similiar
Day 3: Hike to Cheget, 3,600m- Night at hotel
Day 4: Hike to Observatory- Night at hotel
Day 5: Hike to Adysul Valley
Day 6: Cable car to Mir station, Hike to Barrel, Night at the Barrels.
Day 7: Hike to Priut hut or higher- Night at the Barrels
Day 8: Technical Training/weather/acclimatisation day
Day 9: Technical Training/weather/acclimatisation day
Day 10: Summit Attempt- last potential summit night -Night at Priut Hut
Day 11: Descend to Terskol Night at hotel
Day 12: Tereskol - MRV- Moscow Night at Hotel
Day 13: Moscow- Dublin-Arrive home/ unless you have opted for the Moscow City Tour Extension
Day 14: Moscow free day, B&B
Day 15: Moscow - Ireland
Day 16: Arrive Ireland
Full refund applies if cancellation is received and acknowledged more than 20 weeks prior to event.
Desposits will not be refunded for cancellations received within 20 weeks.
For bookings made where flights have to be paid for in advance, the flight cost is non- refundable once paid.
Climbing Mount Elbrus is, among other things, a big personal and team achievement. Therefore, it needs to be enjoyed as much as possible, and to do it, it is necessary to bear in mind some recommendations when starting to prepare for your ascent. Your experience will depend on your training. The chances of summiting successfully are greater when you train specifically for the challenge ahead. We have designed a number of courses and walks to help you achieve your goal.
Recommended Training Program
Your daily routine must include some exercising that will contribute to achieve fitness. As nowadays most of us have many obligations, sometimes it is hard to find the time to train everyday. When you have a goal such as to summit Elbrus, the challenge is worth it and all the effort may become a pleasure, which is another goal in itself.
Although hillwalking is best and specific to the challenge, please remember any type of cardiovascular training will help you prepare for this expedition. Focus your training on building endurance by completing long, slow and low - mid intensity training session along with a few fast and short sessions to build up your anaerobic capacity. Build the distance and duration of your training sessions slowly as over training often leads to injury. Contact us for more information regarding our training courses to help you be in the best shape possible.
Meet & Greet
Our Pre-expedition meetings are designed as part of the preparation process. All team members are invited to partake; it is a good idea to have these meetings once you have made up your mind to take on an expedition. The meetings include a thorough briefing on all aspects of the trip and provide an ideal opportunity to clear up any final questions you may have. We may include this in our skills course. *A date will be confirmed for meet with your Tour Leader once you have signed up.
For your application you will need a full valid passport - please ensure your passport is valid for 6 months after we return home.
For your Visa application:
4 passport photos-signed on reverse side.
Tourist Voucher - available from us upon request.
Travel Insurance Certificate.
Applications are made by post to your nearest Russian Embassy
For more info please contact us
Light weight long underwear - Tops & Bottoms
Expedition weight long underwear - Tops & Bottoms
Briefs - For everyday wear while trekking
Short Sleeved T-Shirts/Shirts - 2 x trekking
Long Sleeved T-Shirts/Shirt - 2 x trekking
Softshell/Fleece x 2
Trekking Pants x 2/3 - one insulated pants is recommended
Parka Jacket - Down or synthetic with hood- Expedition Type and needs to fit over all insulation layers (it can get as cold as -25 degrees celsius)
Jacket - Waterproof & breatheable- storm proof mountaineering jacket
Over Trousers - Waterproof & breatheable- storm proof mountaineering pants
Foot and Hand wear:
Shoes for travel and easy walking
Lightweight Hiking Boots
Climbing Boots - Plastic double boot-available for hire
Gaitors - short simple gaitors are best
Booties - optional luxury, down/synthetic
Lightweight socks - 2/3 pairs
Warm trekking socks - 2/3 pairs
Head & Hand Wear
Windstopper fleece gloves
Sunglasses x 2 - Specific to High Altitude Mountaineering, UV & IR protection
Ice Axe - Available for hire
Crampons - Available for hire
Ski Poles - 1 pair collapsible spring bound ski poles
Harness - lightweight web waist with all leg loops opening
Carabiners- 2 x screw gates, 2 x snapgates
Backpack - at least 75 litre with ice axe haul loops and crampon attachment point
Daypack - 25 - 35 litre
Waterproof pack cover
Sleeping Bag - Expedition quality to at least -25, down preferred and must pack small
Sleeping Mat - Thermorest preferred for extra warmth
Pocket-Knife - leatherman or similar
Water Bottles - 1/ 2
Pee Bottle/Funnel for women
Large Duffel Bag
Travel clothes for days in we are in transit
Padlocks for bags while in transport
Travel Insurance Certificate
Passport, Visa and copies of all travel and insurance documents
Money in US Dollars/Euros
Sun Block - important
Towel and wash kit
Spare batteries for all electronic equipment
Medical & Personal Needs
Personal First Aid Kit
Personal Medication - seek advice from your doctor
Water Purification Tablets
Our team are in Terskol awaiting their flight to Moscow later today. Pat was talking to Katy and all is fine with no sign of any military or trouble to worry about. Our Russian guides are informing us not to worry as its quite a distance away. The team are in great form and enjoying their down time at the moment. Katy was having a swim the last time we talked before today, Monday.
Thursday- chetverg 10.08.06
our last day of hiking! We got the bus up to the Adylsu valley. We walked into the valley along by another river. It was good fun because we had to scramble over rocks for a while and we crossed the river twice on rickity bridges made out of trees. We came to the Green Hotel, which is actually only a green flat space where people can camp! We ate our lunch here then walked along a ridge to the Jankuat glacier, pat said it has melted a lot even since last year. Coming back along the ridge Ruth stumbled somehow and flipped down the side about a meter, she was ok though just a few cuts and twists. we had to walk all the way back to the hotel, so we were very tired by the time we got there. Just time for a clean up then off to Cheget for dinner.
Well tomorrow we head back for Moscow and spend a few days visiting markets and some of Pat’s friends before going home to Ireland. I’m really looking forward to going home and to sleep in my own bed. I Will let you know how I get on when I get back to Ireland. So for now Slán from the Elbrus region in Russia. We all had a great time, climbed a big mountain and I made lots of new friends.