| Russia 2005 , Climbing to Caucasus Mountain, Peaks Kurmychi 4045m, Elbrus 5642m and Ushba plateau
Friday 22-7-2005: The travel from Trikala, Greece to camping in Djantugan Sport center
Early in the morning a left from Trikala to Thessaloniki, the meeting point of our group is the International Airport Macedonia. At noon I arrived in airport where I met there Vangeli and Dimitri who came from Athens few time before me. Until 14 o’clock, the members were in airport except Loukas, who was camping from Lamia. We called Loukas in order to see what happen, his car broke down in the highway, a mechanical had already repaired it and he was on the way to the airport. Loukas arrived in check in with a lot of stress but happy because was just on time. We entered into the plane, but we had no seat numbers so we were sitting wherever we could find a free seat. The plane looked like very old and we were not filling well. The fly took almost 3 hours from Thessaloniki to Mineralny Vody. When we landed in Mineralny Vody we felt much better because we survived from this flight. There were a lot of delay in check out in airport, and we had to wait there more than an hour. It was already night and Svetlana was waiting for us with a mini bus by which we went straight to the mountains. The trip to Caucasus took 3 hours and the last kilometers were on a dirty road. After midnight we arrived to camping in Djantugan Sport center on altitude 2220m. We erect the tents in the night, and our camp was ready for sleeping.
Saturday 23-7-2005: Iceclimbing in Kashkatash glacier
In the morning, still being in the camping, we start making the climbing plans for our expedition. Here we met our guide Victor and our doctor Tania. Mike and Nikolas left with Svetlana to Terskol in order to buy food for the next days. The rest team went to Kashkatash glacier for Iceclimbing training. To reach the glacier took about one hour trek in the steep slopes of the mountain. There was a training place in the first big crevasses of the glacier (2540). We start training doing traverse and using top rope technique. In the afternoon we were back to camping to prepare the equipment for the next day’s climbing. It began to rain a little bit late in the afternoon.
Sunday 24-7-2005: Climbing from camping to camp of peak Kurmychi
At 9 o’clock in the morning we start ascending the mountain to reach the peak Kurmychi with heavy backpacks. The route was a very steep long path. Having a fast tempo we reached the camp place in 4 hours continuously trekking at the altitude 3275 m, where we erected the tents. The snow nears by the camp, which was melting giving us drinkable water. In the afternoon we climbed higher until the col named VCSPS with altitude 3693 m, between the peaks Andyrchi on the left and Kurmychi on the right. We enjoyed the view from the col, in order to do a good acclimatization and after we decided to go back to the camp in order to take some rest, because we would had a tough day in the next morning.
Monday 25-7-2005: Iceclimbing on the west face of Kurmychi peak
Mike woke up us, outside was still night and at 4:30 we began for Kurmychi peak. We began all together except Mike, Theo and Irene, because we would wanted to climb MNR peak later. At first we climbed fast until VCSPS pass 3693m and from there we climbed down the north slopes of the pass until about 3500m. We turned right and we got the ice west slope of Kurmychi. We start ice climbing in-groups. Me and Loukas, Vangelis and Dimitris. Giannis, Nikolas and Manos climbed another culoir right of our route. The slopes were between 40 and 60 degrees. Loukas and me used only 5 icescrews 4 for the 2 belays and 1 for the middle of the pitch. Also, because we both had only 2 ice axe the first used 2 ice axe while the second was climbing without ice axe. We did totally 8 pitches to reach the snow-covered slopes where we continue climbing with single roped together. Dimitris and Vangelis climbed few meters far of us, and they make totally 11 pitches. We climbed first a steep rocky peak (4030m) north of Kurmychi and then following the ridge we reached Kurmychi 4045m where Giannis, Nikolas and Manos had just arrived. We were on the summit just at noon and after little time Vangelis and Dimitris arrived too. Going back from the classic route (southwest ridge), I fall down on the snow-covered place and I blundered into the rocks and I sustained an injury on my right hand, not very important. At 16:00 we arrived to our camp, while the weather was bad and it began raining with a lot of thunderbolts. We had agony what would happened with Mike, Theo and Irene who were in a very steep peak MNR 3870m and had to climb a route 300 meters, 10 pitches, V+. Finally, they reached the summit before rain start, and rappelling fast they came back to camp safely. The weather continued to be bad such we decided to go back to the camping the next day.
Tuesday 26-7-2005: Descent from camp of Kurmychi to camping
It was raining until late in the morning, we prepared our equipment and when the rain stopped we began descending. We started at 10:00 to descent fast when a new storm began. In few hours Being very careful because of the steep slopes, in a few hours we had arrived at the camping. We stayed in woodshed where a fireplace has fire in order to dry our clothes. We set our camp and we took a hot shower in the camping. In the afternoon we treked down to Elbrus base center (half an hour) and we ate sislik in the restaurant, which is near by the river. After so much food we went back to camping by minibus.