The first night in the tent was very unquiet. At night, a huge unknown animal tried to break into our tent making strange sounds. Was it a bear? It was scary to see what exactly was there. The unknown was haunting us…
It was not a bear, but a wild horse ;). A whole herd gathered around us, most likely the one we saw earlier on the way here. It was hard to turn them back, but it was easier to fall asleep with the thought that everything is ok.
The next morning we gathered our tents and went further up the gorge. The tree line was long behind us and we could already see rocky moraines in front of us. We set up a tent before the moraines and decided to make an acclimatization trip to the Irikchat glacier.
Closer to the glacier, the trail was washed away and we had to walk along a dangerous slippery section with rockfalls. We decided to climb higher along the path to the right of the glacier and finally reached the ridge of Irikchat, from which a stunning view opened up onto the Eastern summit of Mount Elbrus, the huge fields of glaciers around it and onto the Irikchat gorge. We got in fact to the place where they put a base camp to ascend Elbrus from the east. From here you could see the observatory down below and you almost all hiking route to Elbrus from the north.
Surprisingly, the descent was quite difficult for Stefan. It was his first time that he hiked down with climbing sticks and he was very slow. We had to patiently teach him to go down quickly and safely. We were also a bit worried about the rapidly changing weather.
We were lucky, however: we managed to reach the tents right before an incredibly strong snow storm hit us. The weather in the mountains is really unpredictable: during the ascent it was sunny and very hot.
The tent was not the best and during the night the water got inside. That night my trip to Lofoten in Norway immediately flashed in my memories, where it rained like hell and even a small amount of water on the sides of the tent completely ruined all the comfort in the tent.
In the next morning the snow was still covering the ground, but it was already sunny …