| Russia 2005 , Climbing to Caucasus Mountain, Peaks Kurmychi 4045m, Elbrus 5642m and Ushba plateau
Sunday 31-7-2005: From camping to first camp of Ushba peak
At 9:00 we started from camping with heavy backpacks descending the river where there were restaurants. We stopped in a restaurant to eat a full breakfast and we continued the descending for few meters more. We turned left in the first valley where we met a good path. It was on the right slopes of the river that in two hours guiding to the army check point, because it is close to Georgian borders. The route after here was really very bad, no path and with enormous rocks on the way, make the ascend very difficult. After reaching the glacier we continued from the right slopes of the glacier. Our water had finished so we arrived almost dehydrated in point on glacier where we found clean water. Higher we met some Old Russian where they had camped on the rocky place on the glacier. The field changed and now we began walking on the ice of the glacier. Finally, we began traversing the left slopes and we reached he camp place at 19:00 in the afternoon after 10 hours of hard trekking. The first camp was on the shoulder of the steep slope (3210m) where there was drinkable water 200 meters further from camp. Small places made for more than 10 tents. Here was already a team of St. Petersburg. The view from here was amazing, looking to the Steep peaks, the glacier and the Ushba’s icefall.
Monday 1-8-2005: From camp 1 to camp 2 crossing Ushba’s icefall
Early at 5:10 we started going to plateau. First we descended from the shoulder to the glacier and we attempted the icefall. We roped 5 together in 2 ropes. We met a lot of crevasses where we need to do a lot of Z to pass them. Some part was 60 degrees steep. Higher, it was very difficult to find route and we continued because we were in the middle of crevasses. Searching the area we found the correct place to continue and after 5 hours we reached the plateau (4060 m). In plateau we made our second camp near to cravenness. After noon the weather get bad, and it began raining and snowing. We stayed in the tent all the afternoon. Victor got the weather forecast for the next days and was bad. We passed a cold night in the second camp because we had a sleeping bag per two persons.
Tuesday 2-8-2005: Return from Ushba’s plateau to camping
At 4 o’clock in the morning we woke up cold. The weather was bad and foggy, with about 30 cm of fresh snow. They were no possibility to continue such we decided to return. We prepared our equipment and Victor with me roped together to descend. Victor was searching for the route, crevasses are covered with new fresh snow and the route back looked like horrible. Using some icescrews in the difficult parts we cross down the icefall in 3 hours. Here we met all together and we started trekking fast into the glacier. It partly raining and we got completely wet. The last kilometers were horrible because we were very tired and the field so bad. Manos and me at 14:30 reached the restaurant where we ordered food for all of us and tried to get dry in to fireplace. By minibus we went back to camping. We stayed at woodshed of the camping to get dry, with a lot of people, and vodka also until late at night.
Wednesday 3-8-2005: From camping to Pyatigorski city
The bad weather was continuing and today with a lot of humidity. We packed all our equipment and at 15:00 we went to Green Hotel by a big lorry. We had lunch in the restaurant and we left to Pyatigorski by a very good minibus. In three hours we were in the center of Pyatigorski city, the biggest city in the region. We found out rooms in a hotel in the center of the city. Today we spent all the evening in the cafe and restaurants.
Tuesday 4-8-2005: A view of Pyatigorski
In the morning Victor started to guide us the city. Flat roads and side-walks, gardens and pedestrian precincts everywhere in the city. Everything is beautiful with a lot of green in the city. We passed from the Lenin’s statue and we walk to hot springs on the hill. The name of the city Pyatigorski means city in the five mountains. Walking higher we watched the green city surrounded by small mountains.
Friday 5-8-2005: Fly back to Greece
At 9:00 a minibus was outside of the hotel in order to transfer us to airport of the close city Mineralny Vody. A lot of people in the airport made us holding up a long time to pass from check in. The flight to Thessaloniki was on time with a better plane this time. At 16 o’clock we where in Thessaloniki, here we said goodbye to each other hoping to meet in another expedition again in future.