My name is Alena, 35. I am from Irkutsk but I want to show you my day on Elbrus – the highest mountain of Russia and Europe. It was the day when I started to believe everything impossible is possible. It was 26th of July, 2012.
We spend a night in special houses before climbing Elbrus. I usually climb without an instructor but Elbrus is an exception, I join a commercial group. It’s more safe.
We start our way at 2 a.m. in a snowcat. I almost didn’t sleep and kepr watching at my watch.
I use a flashlight in the dark in order to dress and come outside.
This photo was shot at the height of 5000 m.
It’s hard to breathe and we walk slowly. It seemed we are heading to the war. When I came out from the catwalk I felt total loneliness.
That day a lot of people were on the mountain. When I looked down I felt dizzy. I even thought it was silly to do all this. I thought I couldn’t take such a height. My heart seemed to be about to stop. I was about to fall into the snow.
We all had been trained to breathe in a proper way. Instructors were our guardian angels.
They were always next to us.
“Stop!” – someone screamed. One of the guys couldn’t walk, his face was blue. I will probably never forget that expresssion. He was so young and handsome and so weak at that moment.
Happiness is when you can breathe. That guy was taken down on a stretcher. His heart refused to work at the height of 5000 meters. My face was also blue but the heart was still beating. Well, I was luckier.
The ascent was very rapid.
At 7 a.m. we were between two peaks of Elbrus. We spent five hours to climb from 4600 m to 5300 m. This man was one of the strongest in the team.
We have some rest. We should walk close to those red flags to avoid cracks.
It’s a place where we can have much Coca Cola and Snickers bars. Everything which I do not drink and eat below. But here caffeine of Cola works better than any pills. One sip saves from headache.
We keep climbing the highest western peak (5642m).
After the rest it becomes even harder to continue climbing. The saddest thing which may happen here is mountain sickness. One can die from it within some hours if he/she doesn’t go down.
The higher the more beautiful landscapes are.
And the less breathing people in our team…
We are lucky with the weather. It is usually foggy and very windy there.
It’s not a mirage, we really see the peak.
Gosha is climbing on
Standing there, on the mountain, you feel how strong you are. Or how weak. We all move slowly. We make ten steps and stop. Elbrus, like any other mountain, teaches you life. The aim is global so do not hurry. It turns out that you can achieve anything step by step. Absolutely anything.
People are smiling.
But not all of them.
Than gesticulating man is 60 years old!
The men are climbing the final meters.
On the mountain top someone is lying on the snow absolutely exhausted, others take photos or look around or scream with delight.
This is our group.
I wanted to never show this photo to anyone but only for you…
It seems you can get the energy of the mountains.
It’s very dangerous on the slope. You are happy, relaxed, you can miss some situation when you need to be concentrated. People often fall down during descending. It’s often explained in such a way: “the mountain don’t let them leave”.
All the ascending lasted for twelve hours (with a catwalk). We were walking up for eight hours.
We we reach the base I start packing things.
It’s getting darker.
It’s so warm down here so I replace my down-padded coat with a T-shirt. Using a ropeway we get Terskol village where we meet night at the height of 2000 m.
This is Baksan river, it always has such a color because it is flowing from the glaciers.
At 10 p.m. we get to a cafe and have a nice meal. Again I choose what I never eat in my ordinary life. I choose to drink 5642 beer, it’s my height! )
The last thing I see before falling asleep is mountains.