Randy here. We awoke this morning to pretty nice weather and had some butter soaked eggs and a bunch of other food I can't really describe. Anders brought the Vias so at least we had some good Java!
The 10 of us rolled out of the hotel around 9:15 or so and spent just under 4:30 hiking up to around 10,000 feet. The mountains around here are much prettier than I had expected and the whole team did well and we all felt strong. Mike had predicted 5-6 hours so either we did well or he was hedging his expectations. In any event, we had a great time hiking up to the Elbrus Observatory and then returning. We just finished lunch which included a stroganoff thing (very good) and some sort of pink soup (less so).
Anders and I are chilling a bit for the next few hours. Mike will come by later to do a gear check and we have a late dinner here again at the hotel. Tomorrow, we are to take the tram up onto Elbrus itself and practice on the snow/ice with all of our technical gear--so later this afternoon we'll need to organize our bigger packs for tomorrow.
Here is a summary of our climb today: