Or shall we call it "Hell-brus" ? After a first (very) unsuccessful attempt, here we are trying to tame the Russian beast, also named Elbrus mountain.
May 21st, 2021. Welcome to Russia, tovarish'! I haven't been home for a while now. This time, it won't be about eating prjaniki and blinis while drinking and enjoying tea (or vodka for the toughest ones among us).
This time it will about Elbrus, which turns out to be Hell-brus on stormy days.
Well, to be entirely honest, we did still eat a few prjanikis and drink a few shots on late nights....
After a few acclimatation runs, a few shots and a few headaches, summit day arrived. We had 4 sunny days for our acclimatation, so what could possibly go wrong?! Well, it feels like Elbrus just decided differently that day, thinking that we would miss the "real" Russian experience by getting an easy day.
We should probably be thankful to Elbrus to have shown us its real face.
From nice flattish looking mountain, it rapidly turned out into a monster, and we, four poor humans, decided to go tame it. Definitely a bad idea.
Sooooo, at approx 200 height meters from the top, we did a rapid team meeting on deciding whether to continue or not - thing is, we could not even hear the question as the wind, storm, and lightenings were having a big fat fiesta around us. It became kind of obvious that we would not make it to the top, or at least, not in an alive status.
Pulling our dead bodies to the summit no matter what did also not sound like a very attractive idea.
We skied down (or tried to mimic something called skiing, but which was more looking like blindfolded cows skating on ice) and arrived safe to the base camp, where a bunch of our new friends warmly welcomed us with vodka and snacks (they thought we died in the storm, which had the advantage of us being treated like kings).
But it tasted bitter (not only the vodka, the overall experience). So we just went again, right?! Waiting for the sun to turn, and bam here we are again, let's go, the sun is shining, the temperature is only -25ºC, be happy, put your skins on and pull this very alive body to the top, bro!
And yes, we made it!
We will definitely never forget this experience. Not only because we almost died (happens to be a pretty unforgettable experience, too), but because of the whole framework.
The guitar playing nights until nobody can sing anymore, the "Na zdorovije!" shouted from here and there, our awesome cook Fatima ensuring that we (and our grandchildren) would not get skinny anytime soon, the laughs, the smiles, the pain, bref, all this little things. Put them into a blender, and here you are, you get Elbrus.
Project in Numbers
highest peak in Europe
kms between Lausanne and Elbrus
meters of altitude