Things are not going as we planned. Matt and I lost a key bag containing almost all of our expedition clothing. There is no real hope of ever seeing the equipment. Fortunately we had a down jacket and some extra shells in another bag but no gloves, hats, insulating layers…To make matters worse the weather has been extreme. Snow, gale force winds and temps in the minus 30-40 range. The day we arrived a group of Austrians were forced off the summit due to winds and -45 wind chill. To say we are challenged would be a fantastic understatement.
Our current status: We found a friend of a friend in the Terskol – Liza Paul, a world cup snow boarder. Liza loaned Matt and me some of her old clothing and that, combined with a few odds and ends from a local store, put us back in the position to at least make an attempt. We are still very handicapped but that is the nature of expeditions.
Today we tested gear on Cheget peak a stunning peak near Elbrus on the wedsite about 2K vertical. We still have all fingers and toes. Today we’ll start early at 6 am for 7 hour climb across a glacier to another peak on the boarder of Georgia – about 3K vertical. At least Aeroflot couldn’t lose our fittness training. We’re all feeling very strong.
Our Summit plan: We’ll move to our high base camp Monday and make a few high acclimitization climbs to about 17K feet. We’ve been studying the weather and think we may get a window on Wednesday for a summit bid.
Keep your fingers crossed and send us warm thoughts!