Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Not the Ritz, but settled and ready to climb....

Some weary Christofferson boys called tonight after 13 hours traveling to their base for the next few days: the Hotel "Wolfram" in the village of Terskol.   First a 3-hour flight in some obscure airline to Mineralnye Vody; then a struggle to haul all their bulky packs and climbing gear through the airport with lots of Russians asking them things they didn't understand.  Then they squeezed into a small van for  a several hour twisty and bumpy ride to get to their remote destination at the base of the Caucasus Mountains.  Some of the group felt a little carsick, but Randy and Anders were doing fine and glad to finally arrive (around 11pm Russian time after leaving at 10am).  They had a quick dinner with some "mystery meat", and were finally settling into their room.

Here's an ever-positive Anders in their home-away-from-home for the next few days, from where they will make several acclimatization climbs in the surrounding mountain range.  Kind of looks like they went back to college!

Randy and Anders' Dorm Room in Terskol
Not sure those are actually beds in the background, but they don't look very large!  Randy said the hotel is a bit "sketchy", and they were planning to sleep in their sleeping bags and certainly not drink the water.  You can't just run out and buy some Evian, so they were going to use their purifier and treat the hotel water before drinking.

The plan was to hike up about 3000 feet to start getting their mountain legs and acclimating to skinny air.  Terskol sits at 7000 feet, so they'll get up to about 10K today.  They are still much lower than the peak of Elbrus at almost 19K, so they won't be hiking in snow or ice today, but they will likely get above the tree line. Unfortunately the weather forecast was rain, so they were packing their foul weather gear for the soggy day ahead. That being said, they were in good spirits, a little beat up from a long trip, but feeling healthy and strong and ready to get on with what they love to do --- challenge themselves to hike higher and higher in thinner and thinner air on steeper and steepers slopes, appreciate the beauty of the mountains, the support of the guides,  and the fellowship  of the team, while remaining strong and positive.   A piece of cake, right?

As an addendum to yesterday's blog post, here's a couple more team pictures that their climbing company, IMG, posted on their site yesterday from their time in St. Petersburg:

No comments: