The Rainbow Summits Project


Mt. Elbrus

elbrusBackground Information:

In the Caucuses Range of Southern Russia, near the border of Georgia, the twin peaks of Mt. Elbrus rise 5,642m (18,510ft) and 5,621m (18,442ft) above sea level. The West Peak of this mountain is the highest in all of Europe. Though dormant, a well of magma lies beneath this volcano. 22 glaciers cover the mountain, which has a permanent icecap.

Climbing Information:

After Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus is one of the most climbed of the Seven Summits, especially from its south side, which has a cable-car and snow-cat to ferry climbers up to the Pastuhov Rocks (4,800m) on Summit Day. From the north side, the climb is remote and more difficult, requiring a 1,800m (5,905ft) ascent on summit day. Frequently discounted as technically easy, Mt. Elbrus claims 15-30 lives per year due to inexperience and ill preparation.

Fun Facts:

  • Like Mt. Kilimanjaro, it is one of the “Volcanic Seven Summits,” as it is the highest volcano in Europe.
  • There are hot springs near the northern base camp of the mountain.
  • Political instability has caused disturbances on the south side of the mountain (the easier route), resulting in the deaths of some climbers in recent years.
  • In 1956, 400 Russian climbers stormed the mountain at one time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the incorporation of the local region into the greater state of Russia (then the USSR).
  • According to Outside magazine, Elbrus is home to the ‘world’s nastiest’ outhouse. It is also one of the Europe’s highest outhouses.
  • A Land Rover Defender was driven to the summit in 1997, setting a record as the highest X, in 1997. However, it crashed on the way down and what is left of the jeep remains 150m below the east summit.

Cason’s Climb:

Cason reached the summit of Mt. Elbrus via the north side at 1:42pm on Saturday, June 9th, 2012.

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A Brief Reflection…

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Elbrus

Some Reflections on Elbrus… I can’t believe it’s already over…it feels like just yesterday that I told Anastasia that I wanted to switch to the north side expedition. And I sure am glad I did! I got to spend 10 … Continue reading

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Home, Sweet Home

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Elbrus

Day 11, June 13th, 2012: Moscow to the US And now it’s back to the U.S. after a fantastic two weeks in Russia. I flew on United from Moscow Domodedovo to Newark through Washington Dulles. The flight was uneventful, and … Continue reading

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What?! The Red Square is CLOSED?!

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Elbrus

Day 10, June 12th, 2012: Kislovodsk to Moscow I didn’t really get to spend much time in Moscow on the way over, so I was very excited to have one day on this side of the trip. Even better, today … Continue reading

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A Family Business…

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Descent

Day 9, June 11th, 2012: Base Camp to Kislovodsk Ugh. Logistical issues can be such a pain. Especially when people don’t speak English at all. In Russia, this is a common problem. We arrived back in Kislovodsk from Base Camp … Continue reading

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A Heavy Carry

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Descent

Day 8, June 10th, 2012: High Camp to Base Camp Descent To be honest, I wasn’t so keen to carry down my 25kg of gear from High Camp to Base Camp. With Denali coming up so soon, I didn’t want … Continue reading

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“I Just Came to Say Cheylo” And Rest Day Boredom

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Elbrus

Day 6, June 8th, 2012: Rest Day Don’t you just love a little facial edema (swelling) to wake up to in the morning? Don’t worry–soon I was back to normal. Isn’t our tent nice and…cozy? (Read: stuffed.) I was so … Continue reading

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Number Three!!!

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Elbrus

Day 7, June 9th, 2012: Summit Day! Yay! I can’t believe I made it to the top of Elbrus today. And woah was it a long day. Without a doubt, my Elbrus summit day was the longest and hardest day … Continue reading

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My First Big Load

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Carrying

Day 3, June 5th, 2012: Carry Day from Base Camp to High Camp When I decided to go for the north side route of Elbrus instead of the much easier south side, I knew I would have to carry much … Continue reading

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Movin’ Up

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Carrying

Day 4, June 6th, 2012: Move Day from Base Camp to High Camp Phew. I expected to be so sore after yesterday’s big carry, but only felt a little tension in my neck and shoulders. Luckily, because I carried so … Continue reading

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And the Bad Weather Arrives…

Date: June 14, 2012 Category: Acclimatization

Day 5, June 7th, 2012: High Camp to Lenz Rocks Acclimatization Hike And up we go! Today started beautifully. Clear blue skies, not a cloud in sight. In fact, it was our third such day. Today’s agenda: climb up to … Continue reading

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