Alpine Ascents Elbrus 2007 Cybercast
6/19/07- St. Petersburg
A big hello to everyone out there awaiting the reports from our 2007 Elbrus trip. It's about 6:30 am here in Russia and I'm awake early catching up on email having not yet adjusted to the new time zone. In these northern latitudes there's certainly very little darkness this close to the solstice! We nearly had a 100% success yesterday with people and bags arriving. With 16 people that's quite an accomplishment. One team member is spending an unexpected extra night in Amsterdam and one member's luggage is spending an extra night (1 we hope) in an unknown location. Otherwise the group is intact. I'm certain we'll have the bags and team member here for our morning flight to Mineral Vody tomorrow. Most of the group was then able to have dinner together last night. I'm looking foward to this trip after meeting such a wonderful group of people. Today we are off touring this gorgeous city including a trip to the Hermitage. The rain that has been persistent over the past 36 hrs has backed off this morning so it looks as though it will be also be a nice cool dry day. We'll be in touch soon! All the best, Dave
6/21/07- Baksan Valley
Good morning from the Baksin valley in Russia. It’s June 21 on Thursday morning, at 9:30 a.m. Andre and I are sitting on the chairlift in the little ski area of Chagett on our way up to do a climb...[break translation]…We had a great flight yesterday from St. Petersburg. The day before we had a wonderful day, we were lucky and it dried out for our tour of the city of St. Petersburg the Hermitage. We’re doing well here, and we’ll talk to you soon. That’s it for now.
6/22/07 - Hikking to Get More Views
Good Morning from Russia, and the Baksan Valley. It is the morning of June 22 – about 7 a.m. – and we’re looking at beautiful clear skies for the first time we’ve been here. Last night was our 2nd night, and we went on a great hike. We got up to 1,000 feet and caught some brief glimpses of the summit of Elbrus. Today we’re going to go on another hike to an observatory that overlooks the Baksan Valley and hopefully get some more views of the mountains so that people can get some pictures before we head up to the barrels tomorrow. So tomorrow we’ll take the Tram and head on up to the barels, which will be our camp for the next couple of nights. Everyone’s having a great time and is quite healthy. I’m really enjoying this pleasant group. We’ll be in touch in the next couple of days. Everyone here sends their best to everyone back home.
6/22/07 - Terskol, Baksan Valley- Russia
Hey there everyone following along with the Elbrus trip... tonight I'm handing over the keyboard to Bart to fill you in on how things are going...
Hey all... Bart here giving it to you like it really is... no sugar coating.
I am sitting here in an internet cafe in Terskol which consists of three computers, two of which are working, an extra chair and a couch. I thought we'd be "roughing" it on this trip, but boy was I wrong. We have been put up in a pretty plush hotel, by Russian standards, and are doing great. Hot showers, unfortunately only available 3 hours a day, soft beds, and "interesting" TV channels Three meals are prepared for us a day and yesterday we got a bonus bbq between lunch and dinner.
The Baksan Valley that we are currently in has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. We have been hiking around for two days here and I am still awestruck with the sights that are around every bend in the road and over every ridge.
Our team of climbers has been bonding well and we have been having a great time. A name has not been agreed upon yet, but several nicknames for climbers have emerged, including Rubber Ducky, the Candyman, and Dillman.
Tomorrow we set off to the Barrells to establish our base camp. All the climbers are adjusting to the altitude and just want to send warm "Hellos" back to their loved ones. Bart over and out.
Ok, we'll be in touch soon from up higher on the hill.
All the best, Dave
6/24/07 Elbrus Base Camp
Hello from Elbrus base camp, better known as the Barrels. We took the tram up here this morning and are just now settled into our industrial L-tanks that will be home tonight and tomorrow night. I’m not going to talk about how nice it is for fear of jinxing us. Today after arriving we went for a hike up to the huts around 13,500. On the way back we did some sliding around in the snow, and reviewed some self-arrest practice. We now have some music going in the Barrels, we get to pick from our teenage contingent of 3. They’re doing a good job keeping us young and keeping us smiling. We will talk to you soon, all the best.
6/25/07 Moving up to the Huts
Good morning all. We’re still here at the Barrels, but we’ll be moving up to the huts later on this morning. Yesterday we had a grand rock up 3,000 feet up to the Pastukov Rocks. For many people here it was their highest elevation to date, at about 15,500. From Postikov Rocks to the summit it’ll be another 3,000 feet. The views are absolutely amazing – we got to look out and see Ushba and the rest of the Caucus range. As we made our way back down to 12,000 feet in the Barrels we had our first experience with the notorious whiteout. Everyone enjoyed seeing that, but hopefully we don’t see it on summit day. Last night more clouds rolled in, but looking out the window this morning it looks like it will be a decent day. There’s some wind and broken clouds, but the forecast for tomorrow morning seems like it could be a possible summit day. See you tomorrow morning, hopefully it brings an opportunity to put us on the top of Europe. All the best, Steve.
6/26/07 Waiting a Day, Going on Another Day Hike
Hi there Cyber fans. It’s Tuesday at about 5:30 here in Russia, and we are still at the huts. We decided last night to tell the snow cats that we were not going to be going for the summit this morning. We had very windy weather last night during dinner and decided to wait a day. Today turned out pretty nice, and we’re hoping for an even better day tomorrow. There’s a little wind up high, but hopefully it will clear up overnight. We’re going on another hike up to near Pastukov Rocks. This evening we are just getting ready to have some dinner. After our dinner everyone’s going to be going to sleep and getting ready for a 4am departure tomorrow, on Wednesday the 27th. We’re hoping to be summiting sometime around noon, and we’ll be calling in. Everyone’s had a fun time getting to know each other in these close quarters at the Pruitt Hut. Everyone’s looking forward to summiting, and especially looking forward to a barbeque when we get down the mountain.
All the best, Dave.
6/27/07 The Entire Team Summitted!
Hey there, it is Wednesday, and we are back at the huts. We had a wonderful day today – the entire team summitted. At about 11:30 this morning 17 of us plus 3 Russian guys all were standing on the summit. There were beautiful clear skies, a little bit of wind, but all in all it was a spectacular day. Everyone is absolutely satisfied. We’re taking a little bit of rest before a late dinner. Tomorrow we’re getting up early, packing up, and heading down to have a wonderful Shaslik barbeque in the town of Turskol. Everyone here is thinking of everyone back home, and having a great time. It’s been a great trip so far, and everyone summitting together just sort of topped things off. We will be in touch after we have a few beers in celebration.
Talk to you soon, Dave.
7/18/07 Team 2: Ready to Go!
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Vern Tejas with 13 for Russia – Elbrus. We just got over and we’re still looking for a bag, but we’re going to start going towards the mountains anyway. Currently we’re in St. Petersburg. We just had a wonderful tour, and now are looking forward to jumping on a plane and flying down to Mineral Vodie. We’ll keep you updated on the baggage. Everyone is ready to go. Stay tuned for the first of Elbrus number 2, and we’ll be thinking about a name. Ciao for now, and we’ll be seeing you.
7/19/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers"
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. Vern Tejas checking in for the team “Table Dancers” on the 2nd Elbrus climb of the season. Today was the day of acclimatization. We went down to the town of Chagett and took the lift up to about 8,500 feet above sea level. Then we hiked up the ridge. We had beautiful views on a beautiful day and everyone’s pretty excited to be here acclimatizing. We went up to 10,553 feet above sea level, and got some great views of the mountains to the south. We’re prepping ourselves for a little bit of shopping, and then a wonderful meal back at Hotel Sharon. We are at the base of the tram that goes up the mountain, which we will use in the couple of days when we head up to the Barrels. Stay tuned for further news, and happy times here in the Baksan Valley. Ciao for now, and thank you for staying tuned.
7/19/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" At the Base of Mt. Elbrus
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. We are here at the base of Mount Elbrus. With us is Sonya, Michelle, Janet, Dave, Christopher, Christina, Gary, Greg, Vanessa, Nick, Jennifer, Scott, Carl, Richard, Jodi, and myself, Vern Tejas. We’re having a great time. We traveled all the way from St. Petersburg by plane. We took the bus up to Turskol, the small climbing and skiing village right up on the base. Everyone is in very great spirits, and you can tell by the name of our team, team “Table Dancers”, that everyone is having a great time. We’re just getting to bed, so talk to you tomorrow, ciao for now.
7/22/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" Acclimatizing
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is the “Table Dancers” calling in from the base of Mount Elbrus. Today was an excellent day for acclimatizing. We took a nice hike up towards the observatory. Everyone was in great spirits, and we had great weather, so everyone was pretty happy about that. This afternoon we started preparing for our big push up onto the mountain. We’re still missing 4 people’s bags, so we’re scrambling to make everything work. Other members have been contributing items to the missing bag climbers, and it looks like we might be able to do it. Stay tuned to find out whether we pull this one out. Ciao for now, and wish us good luck going up the mountain tomorrow.
7/23/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" At the Barrels for Michelle's Birthday
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Team “Table Dancers” calling in from high on the side of Mount Elbrus. Oh, what a day it is today – clear, sunny, and just lots of fun. We went all the way from Valley floor all the way up to the Barrels at 11,000 feet. Then we went on an acclimatization hike. Now, everyone must know that today is Michelle’s birthday. And, because it was her birthday, she ended up in a crevasse! Fortunately her big gift was that we got her out. Then we came back and had a wonderful dinner, and celebrated by having a picnic with candles in it that wouldn’t stop singing. So now we’re sitting around watching the sun as it slowly sets in the western sky, strumming our guitars and singing birthday songs. So please join us: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Michelle, Happy Birthday to you.
7/24/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" Day Hike and Night Music
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is the “Table Dancers” calling in from the Baksan Valley in Russia. We had a great day going up and acclimatizing. We took off early this morning while the snow was still hard and we were able to walk on the surface all the way past Pastukov Rocks which is about 14,500 feet. We worked high, and then slept low. We dropped back down the Barrels, where we had a wonderful lunch, and after everyone took a nap we had a wonderful dinner. And then, the music began. I guess we’re holding true to our namesake. We had a couple of guitars going, a harmonica, and people chipping in to fill up our bowl full of rubles, and I think fun was had by all. Tomorrow we’re planning on moving up the mountain, so stay tuned for further adventures of the “Table Dancers”, and sweet dreams.
7/24/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" Relaxing Before Summit Day
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones. This is the “Table Dancers”, calling in from high on the side of Mount Elbrus. We moved up today all the way from the Barrels to the up to the Upper Hut at 13,143 feet above sea level. We moved in, and relaxed until we had a beautiful lunch, and then we went outside to practice our self-arrest. That evening we sat around and relaxed singing old Beatles tunes, because Oleg happens to be an excellent guitar player. Reminiscing and singing was just the thing we needed to relax for the upcoming push to the summit. So stay tuned for when we go to the top. Ciao for now.
7/24/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" Summit!
From the office: The "Table Dancers" have summitted Mt. Elbrus and made it down to base camp! We should hear from them soon.
7/25/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" To the Top and Back
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. Yes indeed, what a beautiful day it has been. We’ve gone to the top. Every one of us stood on top of the roof of Europe. Boy, was it a good view. You can’t believe how fun it was. However, it was quite tiring and we’ve just gotten down. Most of us are taking a nap before dinner. We did make it, and thank you for your prayers and your best wishes. Ciao for now, and stay tuned for further adventures of the “Table Dancers”.
7/25/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" Off the Mountain
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is the “Table Dancers”. We have now dropped down off the mountain. We moved all our stuff down to the barrels, then walked down to the tram and evacuated the mountain. We had a wonderful lunch and then went fishing. Some people caught 5 or 6 fish and we fried them up and ate brook trout. Then we came back and had another wonderful dinner. We’ve had a wonderful evening and went to bed early. We are so exhausted from the week of intense climbing. Everybody made it to the top! We are so proud of them. We really appreciate you tuning in to find out what happened. Now you know. We had very successful climbing and excellent weather. We are excited to be down the mountain and are looking forward to a day of ice climbing and hiking tomorrow. Please join us for that. It will be fun. Ciao for now.
7/26/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" Celebration
Hello there friends, family and loved ones. This is the “Table Dancers” calling in from the base of Mt. Elbrus. We have finally descended the mountain and completed our mission. We had our barbeque dinner, which completes our celebration of success. We also had a fabulous fulfilling day of hiking, ice climbing and swimming in a glacial lake. It was all topped off with our big barbeque, of which many bottles were imbibed and quite a bit of dancing and singing took place. We’re very fortunate to have Oleg, our local Russian guide, who is quite a master at playing Beatles songs. He plays the guitar as well as sings and dances. Soglato, a friend from Slovakia, plays violin, guitar, and harmonica and also sings and dances. We had a riot. A very good time was had by all. We celebrated a wonderful week that we’ve had. We owe it all to mother-nature and your good wishes that you’ve been sending us. Stay tuned as we head for the big city of Moscow, the capitol of Russia.
7/27/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" In Transit
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is the “Table Dancers” checking in from Moscow. We traveled hard. First we got on the bus bright and early in “Turskol”, went on down to Mineral Vody, ate a fabulous, big lunch. Finally we took a plane and ended up in Moscow. Everyone is nicely tired up. We got a great hotel, and went to bed early, around 1am. Well, stay tuned as we explore the big city of Moscow, the capitol of Russia. Ciao for now.
7/28/07 Team 2 "Table Dancers" Coming Home
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is “Table Dancers”, checking in for our last time. We have hit Moscow up in a big way, visiting all the sites from the Kremlin to the Hard Rock Café and everything in between. We’ve seen cathedrals, we’ve seen rivers, we’ve seen monuments and statues, and pretty much just had a great time for our celebration dinner. We went out and ate as much food as we could possibly stand, with a little dancing on the side. We just had an overall good time. Everyone’s leaving in great spirits, and heading home to you. So please prepare yourself and turn the hot water on in the shower, because we’re coming home. Ciao for now from the “Table Dancers.”
7/30/07 Team 3
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Vern Tejas reporting in for our 3rd Elbrus trip of the season. All people have been accounted for. We’re only missing one bag so far, and knock on wood that’s all we lose. People seem to be in great spirits, everyone’s a little tired from jet lag, but the team looks good. We’re going to go out for dinner and introduce ourselves. Then we’re going to have a great night because of the time difference between Europe and America, and then we’re going to have a great tour tomorrow. So, please join us as we kick off our 3rd Elbrus expedition, the highest mountain in Europe. Ciao for now! Stay tuned.
7/31/07 Team "I Love You"
Hello there friends, family, and loves ones. This is team “I Love You” calling in from St. Petersburg, Russia. We spent the whole day touring today. We got to see boats, cannons, cathedrals, crystalline, and the Hermitage Museum with all of its fine paintings. We’re just about tired. We had two great meals today, and have now retired to our rooms because we’re getting up early tomorrow to head to the fine Caucasus Mountains. So join us for that, and know that we’re all here thinking of you. That includes Janet, Sarah, Todd, Alex, David, Steve, Jay, Mary, Richard, Mitch, Mike, Carol, Chris, and myself, Vern. So please stay tuned for our further adventures. Ciao for now.
8/2/07 Team "I Love You" at the Base of Mt. Elbrus
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Team “I Love You” calling in from the base of Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe. We had a great acclimatization today. We went down to Chagett and caught the tram up to 8,000 feet and from there hiked up to about 10,000 feet. Despite the clouds we still got a view of our intended climb. Looking to the north, we were able to see both summits peaking out. We also were surprised to see that so much snow was gone. We’re just hoping that the snow cats are going to be running. Everyone is doing well eating and acclimatizing. We send our love. So stay tuned and find out what we do tomorrow, when theoretically we’re going to go up to the observatory. Keep your fingers crossed for some dry weather. Ciao for now, this is Team “I Love You” signing off. From Russia with love, Ciao.
8/4/07 Team "I Love You" at the Barrels
Hey there friends family and loved ones. This is Team “I Love You” calling in from the barrels, high on the side of Mt. Elbrus. We’re at about 12,000 ft and everybody is tucking into bed as it is raining this evening. So we’re going to bed early, it’s only about 9. We’ve already played Beatle’s songs and sang and ate a scrumptious dinner. We had a day of acclimatization where we walked around and inspected crevasses from a very close hand. But after that we were able to come back and have a leisurely afternoon. Everybody is feeling pretty good. We have full bellies and are heading for bed. Stay tuned for our next cybercast, where we will talk about going up to Postukov rocks. Ciao for now!
8/5/07 Team "I Love You" Pastukov Rocks and Acclimitization
Hey there friends, family and loved ones! This is Team “I Love You” calling in from about 11,000 ft above sea level. We had a day to acclimatize. We went up to the Pastukov rocks, at about 14,500 ft above sea level, and then we put our bags on and slid down….down and down we came, until we came all the way back to the kitchen where Marina served us some hot soup and cookies. We had a great day. We’re looking forward to moving up to the hut. Stay tuned for further adventures of team “I Love You”.
8/6/07 Team "I Love You" Getting Ready to Summit
Hello there friends, family and loved ones. This is Team “I Love You” calling in from the Huts at 13,000 ft above sea level. We’re having quite a spectacular cloud show this evening. We’ve seen light on the tops of some big cumulous clouds to the southwest of us. We climbed up from the barrels and are now in a nice little hut that has been cabled down the mountain side so it doesn’t blow away in the big winds that this area is known for. Our big plan is we are going to the summit tomorrow morning. So we’re going to getting up quite early. We’d like you to have your fingers crossed for good weather for us. We’re going to need your best wishes. We’ll be getting up at 2 am and then rolling out of here at about 3:30. Think of us and we’ll be thinking of you as well. I should mention we did have a session today where practiced our self arrest. Everybody can go down the mountain and be able to stop themselves safely now backwards and head first. So that was a real eye opener for some of us and a refreshing experience because the snow is so wet that most of us got pretty wet. But we the sunshine dried us out and we’re diggin’ life. Hopefully we wont need to use that self arrest on summit day. Ciao for now from high on the side of Mt. Elbrus.
8/7/07 Team "I Love You" Summit Day!
Hello there, friends, family, and loved ones. This is Team “I Love You”, calling in from 13,000 feet on the side of Mt. Elbrus at the huts. Today was a big day. We were actually able to get to the very summit. We got an early start, up at 2, and out the door at 3:30, and went up to the Postikov rocks and then climbed in beautiful sunrise weather. We reached the actual summit around 11 in the morning. On the descent 3 people including Jay, Mike, and David all decided they wanted a shot at the east summit as well. We took them over there and they were able to summit that, on top of the summit with the rest of us. Ultimately it was a very fulfilling day. We’re just finished dinner, and are going to sleep. I will do the same. Thanks for joining us, talk to you more from the descent in Europe.
8/8/07 Team "I Love You" Smelling Good
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Team “I Love You” calling in from the fishing pond. We’re down by the Baksan River fishing for dinner. Everyone is enjoying the localization and having a smoking good time. We came down today and got showers. We’re smelling good and happy to be back in civilization. Stay tuned for the further adventures, as tomorrow we go ice climbing! Ciao for now from the Baksan Valley.
8/9/07 Team "I Love You" Celebration Dinner
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Team “I Love You”, calling in from a very full stomach. We had Shashlik, a celebration dinner, tonight. Shashlik is a local shish kebab here made out of lamb. It’s delicious. We had many rounds of vodka as well and toasted many times to our wonderful Russian hosts who have taken care of us and celebrated our success. It has been wonderful being here in the Baksan valley. Tomorrow morning bright and early we shove off. Stay tuned for the further adventures of Team “I Love You”, where everything is wonderful and all is well. People are happy and hopefully will be going to bed soon. Ciao for now.Return to Top of Page