Thursday, 28 June 2012

To the mountain

After learning that the last chairlifts to the barrels (base camp) are not working, Juri decided that we rather meet at 7am for breakfast with all bags ready to go. He told us there is a chance we could hire a snowcat for 2000 rubles (about R500) to collect us with our luggage at the lifts and drive us to there. This would all depend on the snow conditions of course-if it's melting too much they can't drive on it! Think slush puppy - that's what the snow is like!

We loaded the bus with our duffels and headed off to register at the search and rescue centre-it's free and a MUST DO!!
Whilst Juri did the documentation we walked to an old army tank and took some pics-Jay even did a 'plank on a tank' haha.

The drive was quick and we arrived at the cable car station in Azau quickly.
We carried bags to the entrance and waited our turn.
Everything is old looking-from the cables to the cable car, and hang on - is that a bullet hole I just spotted in the cable car window??

I was a tad nervous as they loaded all 7 of us plus our luggage PLUS other people onto one cable car!!
The ride up to the first station is quick and then we had to transfer all our gear to the second waiting car. Mmmm this car was already piled full of mattresses, wood, jerry cans and gas cylinders?!

We piled in and got chatting with a German guy who told us about how he got stuck on the chairlifts yesterday for an hour! No one came so he abseiled down to the ground?! Once he got down a man appeared laughing-gave him 300 rubles 'cause I didn't get you to top', and he advised we not even try them if they were running again!
Lucky (or unlucky as I was to experience later) for us the snowcat was waiting for us.

I've decided to put the snowcat experience in its own entry as it really was something I could never forget!

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