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Elbrus solo

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markvfr:
Hi, I'm kind of new to the site but not new to climbing. I will be going to Elbrus next week and since my climbing partner just bailed I was wondering if anyone has any beta on soloing the climb?  The only part I'm curious about is the final icy pitch to the summit... how often is it icy and should I expect it to be ice in early september?  If so, is there any good anchors for rapelling or is it possible to face out downclimb?  If I have to rap, I'll have to donate a couple of ice screws to the cause... :) 
Any other advice? 

Thanks a bunch.

Mark in Canada

7summits:
Hi Mark, welcome :)

the pitches are not that steep, so depending on your experience it should be ok. It might be getting icy, though normally early september is still ok.
A bigger problem is that visibility can be reduced to zero very quickly on Elbrus, and that the result can be that a slight deviation from the route will take you from a very safe route into a dangerous crevasse zone.
So definately take a compass and GPS and kno whow to use them if yo are going alone or hook up with a local guide. People have dissappeared in reasonably good weather, those white-outs are infamous..

Take care, Cheers, Harry

markvfr:
Harry, thanks a bunch for the advice.  :)  I think I'll still bring a half rope just in case the face is icy but if its got fresh snow, then it'll be nice and straightforward.  I was also thinking about getting a local guide down there as a backup but for 16 hours of support they charge 300Euro which is almost as much as a fully equipped 8 day guided trip.  We'll see, I might still use him/her. 
GPS, great idea.  I have been avoiding the use of GPS for a long time as I find it hinders my route finding skills but it might be worth it to get it for this occasion. :)


Cheers,
Mark

markvfr:
Well, I'm back and I guess I can tick this one off as well.  I summited on September 8th at 8:38am, six days after leaving Azau.  It was a lot easier than I expected and no ropes, screws or ice climbing axes were needed.  Its pretty much a simple slog, as long as you've got good weather.  I had bad weather for three days but that just prevented me from being tempted to summit too early before fully acclimitizing.  On another note, I was surprised to see that I was the only person on the summit day (and only 2nd during my whole 6 days on the mountain) not using the snow cats!  I'm sorry, but I don't know if you can say you've climbed a mountain when you make it to 4800m of 5642m by motorized means.  I felt guilty enough taking the cable car up, but I drew the line there.  Even the chairlift was too much for me. Hey, but thats just me.  Anyway, if anyone needs beta on the route or anything else related to Elbrus, give me a shout, I might be able to help.

And the preparations for Denali 2007 begin. :)

Cheers,
Mark

m.c. reinhardt:
Hey Mark

Big time congrats. That is awesome that you were the only one on summit day! Sounds like you had a great climb on Elbrus. Good luck with Denali 2007!

MC  :)

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