After reading the slogan “You can not race any higher in Europe” and with a burning desire to finally get to stand onEurope’s highest mountain, it felt like I found the right place. When I read about International Elbrus Race I first wondered if it was wise to compete at this altitude. Elbrus with an altitude of 5642m is the highest mountain inRussiaand inEurope. In retrospect, with the confidence I got to the organizers of the contest. I can warmly recommend this way to challenge yourself while getting to stand higher than any other on the European continent.
International Elbrus Race is held each fall in late climbing season when the full moon is shining overCaucasus. This is a time when the weather tends to be more stable with more sun, less wind, and then the biggest hordes of tourists left the mountain. The race follows the normal route from thevalleyofAzau- “refuge Barrels” – Pastukhova Rocks – saddle – Elbrus western peak. There are three different classes to choose from; tourist, classic and extreme, making the event into something for everyone. The extreme class starts one hour earlier on 2350m while the other two classes starts from 3710m. In the tourist class they do an alpine ascent and goes under a full moon while the classic starts at 7:00 when the sun is about to rise over the majestic surroundings
Two days before the start, participants will conduct a qualification race to Pastukhova Rocks on 4800m to make sure they have the capacity to reach the top within the time limit. If you do not reach this in time you will be put in the Tourist Class and you will climb the mountain with a guide.
The organizers of the event are Top Sports Travel and Russianclimb.com. The organizers made sure that we recieved help getting the papers we needed (visa) and arranged the bus from Mineralniye Vody. They also made hotel reservations and location in the “Barrels” when we were on the mountain and made sure we had really good food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was a very good investment!
Me and my Swedish friends (Mei and Carl), went to Mount Elbrus a few days before the Race started. The main reason was to acclimatize us enough before the actual competition. Top Sports Travel also offers a program where acclimatization is included. Our acclimatization went better than expected and on the third day, two of us were on the top of Elbrus already. Carl chose wisely to turn back when he felt affected by the altitude. Walking towards the top of a mountain as high as Elbrus, after only three days, might may not be to recommended. But we were feeling strong and we had the weather on our side, so we wanted to try anyway.
When the Race day finally came, we were all well acclimated and ready for the top competition inEurope. To say that we ran all the way to the top is an overstatement. I decided to walk right behind the 77 year old Boris, who with firm steps fought his way to the top at a good and steady pace.
If you dream to push yourselves, to stand on top of Europe and get to be part of something bigger, Elbrus Race would be something for You! You will be welcomed into a group consisting of some of the formerSoviet Unionreal legends in alpinism, where security comes first.
For the full story (in Swedish):