Mt. Elbrus July 20-30, 2010 Wrap Up

The 2010 Mt. Elbrus team has returned to the United States safe and sound.  It was a fun filled trip that packed a lot into 10 days.  Our goal was to reach the summit of Mt. Elbrus and return safely.  We accomplished that plus toured parts of St. Petersburg and Moscow.  We will carry memories from this great adventure for years to come.

We reached the summit of Mt. Elbrus on July 26 at 12:20pm.  Congratulations to John Rogitz and Bill Simon on reaching the top of Mt. Elbrus, the highest point on the European continent!!

Here are a few pictures from this truly memorable adventure.  The rest of the pictures can be found at the SMI photo gallery here:  Mt. Elbrus July 20-30, 2010.

4:30am: John and local Russian climber Gia gearing up at the start of summit day.

Gia, Bill, and John climbing at 15,700', 4785m. The full moon was a nice added decoration to the backdrop of our climb that morning.

Sunrise painting the clouds in morning colors over the Caucuses

Casting across the Caucuses Mt. Elbrus's morning shadow reaches up to kiss the moon.

Climbing at 16,500', 5029m the sun's morning rays tickling the summits of many peaks in the Caucuses adds to the dramatic landscape during our climb.

The sun's warming rays greets the team on summit day at about 16,800', 5120m

Traversing into the saddle in between the east and west summits of Mt. Elbrus

Bill expressing the sheer joy of high altitude mountaineering with the dramatic backdrop of the Caucuses behind.

Taking a rest break at the saddle as a cloud moved in creating low visibility white out conditions.

John gearing up for the final push to the summit

Roped up together it's all business for the steep crux section of the route. Approaching 18,000', 5486m there is half the available oxygen as there is at sea level. Climbers take 2-3 breaths for each step up hill. Concentration coupled with a steady methodical pace is the most efficient way to climb in the increasingly rarefied air.

Above the crux the terrain opens onto a plateau that leads to the summit of Mt. Elbrus. Kurt, John, and Bill know they are close now.

Kurt, John, and Bill reaching the final 40', 12m hill to the summit.

Topping out on the summit of Mt. Elbrus

Reaching the summit of a high peak is always an emotional, spiritual, and very powerful experience

From left to right: Gia, John, Bill, and Kurt on the summit of Mt. Elbrus.

Thanks guys for a great climb!!

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