Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World
July 17, 2017
The top of Europe is in Russia, in the Caucasus, between the Caspian and Black Seas. I’m climbing it with IMG, guided by Mike Hamill. I hope to complete my goal of climbing the Seven Summits before my 50th birthday. Let’s see how this goes. First, we have to get there. Starting in St. Petersburg … Continue reading Elbrus: St Petersburg
July 18, 2017
Lovely morning in the city, seeing a few more sights before flying to Mineral Vody and then driving up to Terskol at the foot of the mountain. Now safely in Terskol, a beautiful village in the mountain forests… more tomorrow, for now I sleep!
July 19, 2017
The plan for today was for an acclimatization hike to 10,000 feet. And so we did. https://youtu.be/LW7pAUztZ58 Gear check is done. Massive thunderclaps and rainstorm are cooling everything off. We are comfortable and happy. Tomorrow, we will ride the trams and head higher still. It will be a good day.
July 20, 2017
Today we went higher, to about 12,300 feet, courtesy of a gnarly network of trams and chairlifts. The goal: Practice our roped travel skills. Grey skies, slashing rain, corn snow. It was fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6iPVE9ir1Y Hail gave way to nasty rain, and we headed down on schedule at 2 PM. In summary, all went well. We … Continue reading Elbrus: Training Day
July 21, 2017
The climb starts in earnest now… moving the team onto the mountain is key. One of our guides, Igor, has a modest “hut” on the mountainside above the top of the lifts. That is our objective for the day. Our kits are heavy. In fact, this is the heaviest move of the trip, which is … Continue reading Elbrus: To Igor’s Hut
July 22, 2017
Our job for the day was to acclimatize further by hiking to the Pastukhov Rocks, at about 14,500 feet. So, after breakfast, up we went. Beautiful location, and fine conditions, although cold and windy after the first hour. Our views expanded as we went higher. We moved well. I felt pretty good up there. A … Continue reading Elbrus: On the Rocks
July 23, 2017
As usual before an alpine start, I had trouble sleeping. This is always the case, on any mountain, large or small. Being in the bunks made things more challenging because of cramped quarters, etc. Great hut-mates, I assure you, but not a restful spot for any of us. Nevertheless I did sleep, with the deep … Continue reading Elbrus: The Blizz