During the first day, we had snow-ice lessons: we learned to walk safely on the glacier, to identify hidden cracks on it, to walk properly in crampons, to use an ice axe, to secure ourselves with ropes, etc. Then we made an acclimatization hike to the Pastukhov Rocks, where at the same time people were participating in some kind of championship on high-altitude running.
The second day was a day of complete rest. We did absolutely nothing. We just went down to the first cable car to catch the mobile Internet. There we found a cool cafe with a lot of banknotes glued around onto the walls and ceiling. Each bill had names and years on it aka “Vasya was here,” but also declarations of love, thank notes and advertising. We have donated our first dollar for the advertising of rainbow peaks as well 😉 .
We met several skiers and snowboarders at the cable cars, although there was very little snow. There were actually a lot of tourists who climbed here to admire the scenery. Overall, there was a good flow of people despite the offseason. I can not imagine how many people are here during the high season.
At the bottom of the ski lift, there was a monument to the soldiers who died during the Second World War. Some fresh flowers (or were they plastic?) were always there from the day on. Elbrus is a region shrouded in myths about the second world war and about Nazi Germany. Yes, the Germans were here, but they were hardly looking for any mystical vertical shafts to the other worlds.
On the third day we had to climb up to the peak itself, but unfortunately, in the evening of the previous day a strong snowstorm began, which did not stop the next day. We sat in our gloomy cabin and did not go anywhere: outside the wind blew like hell and it was also snowing. There was no visibility at all: you could maybe see the outlines of people a maximum of two or three meters in front of you.
We were worried that due to weather conditions we would not climb to the top of Elbrus. There was only one last chance tomorrow. If the weather does not calm down, then we will have to go down without a climbing attempt. This would be totally sad: so much time, effort and money were spent to come to this point. Are we gonna stay now in this gloomy and cold cabin and later leave without climbing the highest mountain of Europe?