Friday 28th June 2019
'Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire', Jennifer Lee
We have chosen the first two weeks of July as the main climbing season is June-September.
With Elbrus having a permanent snow line at around 3350, and temperatures rarely rising above freezing at night we felt July may offer the best conditions. (Read: Best conditions, what best conditions, there are none!!)
Due to its height, Mount Elbrus has dynamic weather, making it hard to predict weather conditions. We have been told to prepare for very cold temperatures and high winds above 4000 meters – living in Scotland has its benefits after all!
Afternoon clouds and thunderstorms are common during summer seasons also but lets hope these don’t occur and hold us back!
During summit attempt we will start off in the middle of the night well before sunrise and I have read that temperatures can get as low as -20, so July sounds like a plan.
To get to Mount Elbrus we need to fly to Moscow.
We had to apply to get a visa to enter Russia which was quite a lengthy process, to put it mildly.
Our trusted Russian ‘friend’ Yury helped with this process giving us our ‘letter of invitation’ and basically a very detailed itinerary of where we are staying, what we would be doing etc etc…our every move known whilst in Russia.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also advises against all but essential travel to the area we are going to which sits on the border with Georgia so getting insurance was limited, however we are members of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) so we got insurance this way.
From Moscow we then have to catch an internal flight to Mineralnyne Vody Airport.
The seven of us agreed to co-ordinate our time in Russia as a group so from there on in we will be a pack.
We have all arranged the same flight out of Moscow and booked in at the same hotel in Mineralnyne Vody.
Here we will stay for one night and Yury has arranged for us to be picked up at our hotel the very next day and then its straight to Elbrus…well after a stop off at a town called Pyatigorsk actually to pick up any hiking gear we may need to hire.
I am now on that plane to Moscow…there is no turning back!