6/September: With climbing partner Walid Fawaz, hailing from the millennial generation, I summited Europe’s and the Caucasus’ highest point Mount Elbrus at 10:45 on Thursday morning.
Elbrus is infamous for its highly changeable and unpredictable weather, and we got a taste of it as we set down packs at the Saddle (5,400m) for a final break before the steep snow pitch to the west volcanic summit cone.
As agreed with Walid the night before the climb, we did the 1,800m between advanced camp 3,850m and summit on foot in 6:40h, while an estimated 95% get a ride to 4,800m or 5,100m with a snowmobile or piste machine. The contrast between Damavand, with its dry landscapes, mule trains and tent camps, and Elbrus, with its permanent ice-scape, snowmobile swarms and metal huts could not be greater!
Though the wind at the summit was too strong, I did manage to unfurl my flags at 5,400m as the sun re-emerged briefly.
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I’m proud to conclude this expedition and campaign today, as I return home to Genève!