Elbrus Expedition August 2017 - Trip Report | Earths Edge
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Elbrus Expedition August 2017 – Trip Report

Misplaced items and “What should we wear?”

Written by Lorcan McDonnell who led our Elbrus trip in August 2017.



Mt. Elbrus in the distance

This expedition began like many others standing next to the currency exchange opposite the check in desks in terminal 1, Dublin airport. Once we gathered everyone together we boarded a short stopover flight to Amsterdam. The first of a few items went missing on this flight which became a running joke amongst the group for the duration of the trip. From Amsterdam we flew onto Moscow.

After the shortest possible stopover in Moscow the team moved south to the Caucasus region on a flight to Mineralnye Vody (where a passport remained on an aircraft) and on to Pyatigorsk to prepare for the mountain stretch of our trip. We met up with our local guide. The next morning we were met by Rachid, Vitali and Anton to transfer us all to base camp. Their vehicles were very important to them and some of us were given ‘The look’ for closing the door of the jeep in the ‘Irish’ way i.e. a little stronger than needed. The journey to base camp was your average journey, travelling on motorways, small roads, no roads and through rivers.


base camp


Base camp is like any other throughout the world with the added luxuries of a bar, satellite tv, sauna and a laundry service, not to mention the hot showers which caused some furore over the amount of time some spent inside (recommendation by camp of 5 mins). There was debate as to whether your time started the minute you closed the door or when you turned on the water.

The next few days involved the team moving up higher on the mountain and returning to base camp for the night before travelling with more kit again. On the second morning, “Oh they really did mean that we would have to carry our own stuff” was overheard at breakfast.

Living at camp 1 at 3785m became part of the routine for the next few days. The group partook in some yoga and welding appreciation. If I’m honest the quality of the welding wasn’t great but few could complain about the welder.




Snow skills day arrived, equipment was put on and followed a briefing with a number of demonstrations over a 5m slide with ice axe, JP managed to travel about 150m before stopping. The team went quiet and concentrated. Our acclimatisation to 4851m to Lentz rocks went fine apart from a misplaced water bottle that travelled down a slope all on its own. A day of rest before our summit attempt came along. Some didn’t know what to do, do I sleep, write, read, chat or have my eyebrows plucked? Early in the afternoon came the daily briefing, this time, for summit night. A few words from me followed by lines from a poem that I thought might inspire and motivate the team. Then the usual question from Viktor  “What should I wear tomorrow?”




It would be wrong of this trip report not to point out that this team was very strong. Strong in character, strong in looking out for each other and supporting each other where needed. 10 of the 14 Irish that left Dublin on that Thursday morning stood on the summit at 5642m after the most amazing efforts by some to get there. It was a privilege to stand there with them.

All in all it was a very memorable trip with an extraordinary group armed now with our badges and T-shirts.  A great success rate and I’m sure we will travel somewhere together again. We have all made some new friends and learnt stuff about ourselves and others. A unique bunch to be part of…my pleasure. Thank you all.

It should also be pointed out at this stage that some duty free bargains were also left on an aircraft on the route home. Sure why break the habit of a lifetime.

NB: Any misplaced items on this trip were recovered by the combined efforts of the whole trip team.



Celebrations on the roof of Europe


If you are interested in joining us on our 2018 Elbrus climbcontact us today!

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