Friday, 29 June 2012

The Barrels: Day 2

Today we are hiking up major slopes all the way to Pastukhov Rocks.
Early breakfast so we could get going by 8am-it's about a 5 hour hike up and 1 hour down!
The snow slopes are so deceptive! It takes forever to crest a hill and things seem way closer than what they really are!
I absolutely love it, the views, the crunching of snow underfoot and the changing landscape are all I dreamt it would be and more!

I made a point of taking plenty of photos-I don't want to have any regrets later!
Everyone is doing well, we've done the first part to Priut Ruins before.
We have a good rest half way up and encounter an amazing husky dog living up at the rescue camp. He is gorgeous and we all call him over-Ray gives him some kudu biltong and Joe gives him some droewors! We watch the two people with the dog dig a bit and then collect fresh glacier water-amazing!

We carry on up-the going is harder and very steep-we basically fall into line following in Juri's tracks-he is so strong! He gave the doc his poles as docs had no snow baskets on them and sink in too deep! We go very slow, almost too slow I couldn't really get a nice rhythm going at the slow pace.
The doc tells us about counting the little flags up the slope to the top-just when you think there are only 8 it turns out its more like 15!
Ray and Robby did some nice video footage and we really got great shots! The group is looking strong and in high spirits!
Our height for today is about 4600m and we have a nice break before heading down.

Juri says we must take off our crampons to descend and we do that quickly!
Jay and I start descending quite fast with Joe catching us up. We love the sliding fast feeling of descent and once you have the bouncy rhythm sorted it's very fast! We stop and wait every now and then, as Robby mentioned we must be able to see the person in the front and back at all times!
The doc doesn't enjoy coming down at all-he zigzags the whole way down. He says his eyes want to go straight, but his legs won't!

We get back all safe and sound and get ready for a much deserved lunch!
Its quite late already so we all just do odds and ends-signal hill, reading etc!
After dinner we all hop into our bags and Ray starts a tradition of music in the dark-poor Jay does not enjoy his dads music choices, but I do!

I read my kindle, wrote some blog updates and had a great 'bed bath' feeling so fresh after the sweaty day! I must say things in the barrel smell quite ripe at times-such is mountaineering life I guess! At least I smell of baby powder!

Another great day on Mount Elbrus!

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