After waking up, we as always prepared breakfast from cans. All these days we ate boring porridges, pasta and instant soups, bought in the supermarket. After long and difficult hiking trips you are very hungry and, in fact you do not care what you eat, you can eat it all!
The descent down to the valley was very long. We met only one group of tourists and then several formidable local Caucasian horsemen with huge hunting weapons:
– Salam aleikum!
– Aleikum assalam!
They stared at us sternly while we passed next to them. We all felt uneasy. Even our guide and local porter felt a bit scared 😉
However, quite soon we could see the roofs of houses in the lower valley, and a delicious dinner was waiting for us in a family restaurant on the picturesque bank of a raging mountain river. At this moment while eating my early dinner I was extremely happy with every minute of this warm and sunny day.
In general, acclimatization on Irikchat was very interesting: with picturesque views, with the lack of infrastructure and a few tourists. This all gave a sense of real wild mountaineering. It is good that we did not choose the traditional acclimatization route onto Cheget and the Observatory.
The next day, we got the main equipment and took the Soviet cable car to the so-called “barrels”, to the base camp. A new cableway would take us straight to our cabins, but unfortunately exactly that day it did not work and I had to drag two heavy backpacks in front and on my back for half an hour. Each step seemed to be unbearable, not only because of the weight, but also because of the high altitudes (you get quickly tired).
The camp turned out to be with all the comforts needed: there was a kitchen, a toilet on the street (by the way, I almost never wanted to poo during my hiking trips, apparently I was burning everything inside in my stomach 🙂 ), bunk beds in tiny rooms inside grey and gloomy containers. The view here was of course quite depressive. This is not Norway with cozy hyttes, wooden cottages. After a few days here, any person would definitely go crazy because of gloom and boredom.
But some steps away fascinating landscapes onto the glaciers and mountains were opening up. It was especially beautiful here during sunsets and sunrises. And the night sky was all covered with bright stars, the twinkling of which was not interfered by the light of cities and settlements.