The Seven Summits records! The Team made up of Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov battled frigid Antarctic winds for two long weeks, barely managing to get in a shot at the summit before a brutal snowstorm began. "The ...
The Seven Summits records!
The Team made up of Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov battled frigid Antarctic winds for two long weeks, barely managing to get in a shot at the summit before a brutal snowstorm began. "The journey was an entirely new experience for us, but it was difficult too – technically, physically and emotionally – in large part due to the cold", said Ivan Dusharin about the expedition:
They’ve done it on December 11, 2012 (coincidentally International Mountain Day). Russian climbing trio reached the summit of Vinson Massif, the highest mountain inAntarctica, capping off their year-long mountain-climbing marathon, "Alpari: On Top of the World".
The Vinson expedition was Lyudmila Korobeshko’s second trip toAntarcticathis year. In January she took part in a ski expedition to the South Pole. About her experience on Vinson, Lyudmila said, "I was the only one from the team that had already been to the summit of Vinson, so I had a pretty good idea of the difficulty and the danger that were in store for us. The toughest parts had to be going two weeks without a shower and dragging sleds filled with our own waste. Well, that and the cold, of course. Everything else was fun."
The Team now holds a number of new records, having completed the Seven Summits in only 300 days.
First and foremost, our captain, Lyudmila Korobeshko, is the new holder of the women’s Seven Summits speed record, meaning she climbed the highest mountain on each of the planet’s seven continents faster than any woman in history. This year, she also became the first woman fromRussiato climb Everest twice. Ivan Dusharin also set the Russian Seven Summits "age" record. Ivan turned 65 this fall. In addition to the remarkable individual achievements of Lyudmila and Ivan, our trio also set the Russian Seven Summits team speed record. What better way to bring in the holidays?
If you would like to learn more about our team’s adventures throughout the year and access exclusive photos and video content, you can find all this and more on Team official site.
Before our team flew out to Antarctica, we asked them to share some of their thoughts regardingVinson Massif. The area around the mountain is a pretty unique place and a popular destination for adventure travelers, but for a number of ...
Before our team flew out to Antarctica, we asked them to share some of their thoughts regardingVinson Massif. The area around the mountain is a pretty unique place and a popular destination for adventure travelers, but for a number of reasons, including the extremely high cost, only a select few are able to make the trip. The rest of us can only experienceAntarcticathrough the words of others.
Now that the team is back in Base Camp, safe and sound, we would like to declare “Alpari: On Top of the World” a success.
About Vinson and Life
“I was the only one from the team that had already been to the summit of Vinson, so I had a pretty good idea of the difficulty and the danger that were in store for us. The toughest parts had to be going two weeks without a shower and dragging sleds filled with our own waste. Well, that and the cold, of course. Everything else was fun.”
This was Lyudmila’s second trip toAntarcticathis year. In January, she went on a ski expedition to the South Pole. Almost a year later, she returned toAntarcticato take a shot at the summit of Vinson. It seems that there are women out there that prefer endless fields of ice to endless beaches!
What can we say about our new world record holder, Lyudmila? She’s humble, strong and quiet. and she always wears a smile on our face. Earlier this year, Pearl Goings, a climber fromNew Zealand, appeared on the scene, going after the same Seven Summits record as Lyudmila. HoweverPearldropped out of the race on her third mountain. Lyudmila continued onward, making it through the seven peaks in just 300 days, shattering the old women’s Seven Summits speed record. In spite of her remarkable achievement, Lyudmila remains as caring and humble as ever. Each morning she makes the team tea and handles the expedition’s organizational matters.
Ivan Dusharin, 65.
Dreams do come true.
“I’ve wanted to visitAntarcticafor a long time now. After my team back inTolyatticlimbed Everest in 1992, we came up with another idea for an expedition: ‘From the South to the North Pole’. The idea was to make it to the South Pole, climb Vinson Massif and then drive along the world’s longest mountain system (the American Cordillera, which runs from South America to North America and is made up of a series of mountain ranges including the Andes and the Rockies) in a VAZ-Neva (a car produced back at the AvtoVAZ factory in Tolyatti, Russia, where Ivan worked at the time), climbing 16 of the more well-known peaks along the way. The final summit would have beenMountMcKinley. We didn’t go through with the expedition, but the dream never died.”
“I really hope everything works out for us on the expedition; that we make it through all of the challenges ahead; that the frigid cold ofAntarcticawon’t damage the warm friendship we’ve developed; that we will be able to complete our mission and get some sense of satisfaction from doing so. Wish us luck. And let’s hope my dream comes true. Until next time.”
Ivan Dusharin finally realized his dream of traveling toAntarctica– at the age of 65. As if the Honored Master of Sport hadn’t already garnered enough respect from the global climbing community! Ivan is the author of a number of books that are read by novice and experienced climbers alike.
Lyudmila wasn’t the only one from Team Alpari to set an individual record during “Alpari: On Top of the World”. When he reached the summit of Vinson, Ivan became the oldest Russian climber to complete the Seven Summits.
Maxim Shakirov is already planning his next climb. This year, Maxim will be ringing in the New Year atop one of the world’s highest peaks. This isn’t anything new for Maxim. He has been celebrating New Year’s on a different summit every year for more than a decade.
Maxim, asked what he was expecting from Vinson, answered, “Vinson? I’m expecting an entirely new experience. I’m hoping and also scared that Vinson will leave even more of an impression than McKinley and Kosciuszko.”
Maxim later sent us a voice message from Vinson Base Camp on December 13: “The mountain ridge was incredibly beautiful – probably as beautiful as inAlaska. It might have been even more beautiful. We were filled with emotion.”
It’s great to know that there’s always somewhere on the planet that can surprise you. What’s important is that you don’t miss out on your chance to visit.
At Union Glacier
At the top
With an Alpari banner
Farewell to Vinson
All video of the project
Coming from Antarctica to Punto Arenas, first of all Lyudmila Korobeshko sent us a photo report about their climb of Mount Vinson. Lyuda, Ivan and Max reached the top of Antarctica 11th of December. They finished their program "7 ...
Coming from Antarctica to Punto Arenas, first of all Lyudmila Korobeshko sent us a photo report about their climb of Mount Vinson. Lyuda, Ivan and Max reached the top of Antarctica 11th of December. They finished their program "7 Summits for 300 days"
Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov ended their travel to Antarctica, the last part of the program "7 summits for 300 days" (292 days 2 hours and 2 minutes). Climbing the Mount of Vinson, they made a new world speed record ...
Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov ended their travel to Antarctica, the last part of the program "7 summits for 300 days" (292 days 2 hours and 2 minutes). Climbing the Mount of Vinson, they made a new world speed record for climbing seven summits for women and for a team of three climbers.
The "Alpari on top of the world" in Punta Arenas
Igor Stolyarov also climbed Mt. Vinson
Alex Abramov met Harry Kikstra in Punta Arenas
On December 11, in the International Day of mountains, the team "Alpari on top of the world" - Ludmila Korobeshko Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov, at 22-32 Moscow time, climbed the top of the Antarctica Mt. Vinson and planted the Alpari ...
On December 11, in the International Day of mountains, the team "Alpari on top of the world" - Ludmila Korobeshko Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov, at 22-32 Moscow time, climbed the top of the Antarctica Mt. Vinson and planted the Alpari flag there!
From a telephone call of Lyudmila Korobeshko:
We climbed up rather quickly, despite of cold and wind. Now we are starting to go down. We congratulate all on successful completion of the project!
According to our calculations, the world speed record for climbing seven summits for women and for a team of three climbers is now 292 days 2 hours and 2 minutes.
This is also the absolute speed record for Russia. Ivan Dusharin - the recordsman of Russiaon age (65).
First press conference of February 8, 2012
Aconcagua. February 23, 2012. 19-30 Moscowtime
Kilimanjaro. March 11, 2012
Everest. May 19, 2012
McKinley. June 30, 2012
Elbrus. September 8, 2012
Kosciusko. November 5, 2012
Vinson December 11, 2012, 22-32 Moscow time.
My calculation: 292 days 2 hours and 2 minutes ..
Hi! This is Lyudmila Korobeshko from the expedition "Alpari on top of the world." So, we are in Antarctica under the Mt.Vinson massif. Yesterday we arrived at base camp, spent a night, and today went up to the next camp, the so-called Low ...
Hi! This is Lyudmila Korobeshko from the expedition "Alpari on top of the world." So, we are in Antarctica under the Mt.Vinson massif. Yesterday we arrived at base camp, spent a night, and today went up to the next camp, the so-called Low Camp. It was quite a difficult trip. We're spent about 7-8 hours. Walking was difficult, because we have a heavily laden sledge. The back of Ivan Dusharin still hurts, but we hope that soon he will get better. The weather is still good. Near the camp in the morning quite a large avalanche came down ... But we are not affected.
Greetings for all.
Best regards !
Climb of Mt.Vinson is the final stage of the epic "7 summits in 300 days” for Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov.
The plane was delayed and landed just after midnight. Ivan Dusharin and Max Shakirov came out last, than they made Lyudmila be worry. 48 hours of flights were pretty tired for them. However, they immediately started with jokes. ...
The plane was delayed and landed just after midnight. Ivan Dusharin and Max Shakirov came out last, than they made Lyudmila be worry. 48 hours of flights were pretty tired for them. However, they immediately started with jokes.
But there is no time to rest. The weather is good and representatives of ALE promise 4th or 5th December a flight to Antarctica at Union Glacier.
Team Captain of "Alpari on top of the world" is now in the southernmost city in the world -Punta Arenas. Here it is the first day of summer. Summer in the south of Patagonia is cool, but all here blooms and green . Lyudmila prepares to meet ...
Team Captain of "Alpari on top of the world" is now in the southernmost city in the world -Punta Arenas. Here it is the first day of summer. Summer in the south of Patagonia is cool, but all here blooms and green . Lyudmila prepares to meet his friends, teammates Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov, which today fly out of Moscow. The final stage of the epic "7 summits in 300 days" begins, the goal - Antarctica and Mount Vinson....
Our team climbed Mt. Kosciuszko 5th of November. This was the sixth summit from seven. Please find below short narratives from the team members. The Team: Lyudmila Korobeshko is the captain of the team and the only Russian woman to have ...
Our team climbed Mt. Kosciuszko 5th of November. This was the sixth summit from seven. Please find below short narratives from the team members.
The Team: Lyudmila Korobeshko is the captain of the team and the only Russian woman to have both summited Mount Everest and been to the North and South Poles. Ivan Dusharin, the “patriarch of Russian alpinism” is an internationally recognized climber with the supremely challenging K2, among many other impressive climbs, under his belt. Maksim Shakirov, author of “New Year on the Peaks”, planted the flag of the 2014 Olympic Games atop Mount Everest and Mount Olympus.
FROM THE JOURNAL OF IVAN DUSHARIN: AUSTRALIA
3.11.2012. It’s morning here in Sydney. We’re 7 hours ahead of Moscow. The flight was tough. We almost feel like we’re drunk. It took us more than a day to fly out here – I guess that’s just something you have to deal with. After getting off the plane, we made it through immigration and across the border relatively easily, but nobody was there to pick us up. Lyudmila called a couple of numbers that only she had. They told her to wait. We waited. Suddenly a man passed in front of us holding a sheet of paper. For some reason, something written on that sheet of paper felt familiar to me. “Lyudmila, I think that’s the guy who’s coming to pick us up,” I said, pointing out the man. Lyudmila caught up to him. On the sheet of paper he was carrying, I spotted the words “Mr. Dusharih”. So that’s what felt so familiar – my name.
We checked into the hotel, but we would have to wait until 14:00 before we could get settled into our rooms. We left our stuff at the hotel and went for a walk around the city. It’s a nice looking city, with a lot of plants, water, fountains and interesting architecture – both old and new. The sea (or the ocean to be more precise) really adds to the atmosphere. We began to look for the fish market. We could smell the place from more than a half kilometer away. It was quite impressive. There were giant lobsters, crabs, all kinds of shrimp, octopuses, squid and dozens of varieties of fish and shellfish. We decided we should go somewhere to order some seafood.
We went for a nice walk before returning to the hotel to unpack our stuff and rest for a couple of hours. If we didn’t have the chance to rest, we would have been completely miserable. Flights like that can really take their toll on you.
At 17:00 we headed for down town Sydney. We decided to have dinner in an exotic place – in a restaurant in the Sydney Tower, 225 meters above the city. The elevator was fast. Our ears popped on the way up, like in an airplane. We spent about an hour and a half in the rotating restaurant. We sampled some of the local delicacies and enjoyed an amazing panoramic view of the city and surrounding area. It was fantastic! From that height, you can really see how downtown Sydney is laid out. After dinner, we paid a visit to the world-famous Sydney Opera House.
4.11.2012. It took us a long time to sort out the rental car. We ended up with a family car that seated nine. It was like a small bus. Max took the wheel. Lyudmila was the navigator. I was just a passenger. As we stepped out of the car near the hotel, we heard a guy speaking in Russian. It turned out he was fromKiev. He had already been living in Sydney for 23 years. He explained to us how to get out of the city and onto the road leading to Canberra. We got lost anyways. It took us 8 hours to make it there. After we settled into our hotel, we worked on figuring out where we would start our climb from. We chose a route starting from Dead Horse Gap, longer and more difficult than the standard route to the summit of Kosciuszko. I think tomorrow’s climb should be interesting.
5.11.2012. The climb. We arrived at our starting point around 9 in the morning. It took me a while to pick out my shoes. In the end I selected a pair of hiking boots. The first part of the climb was steep and took us through a forest of dead eucalyptus trees. Seeing the large mass of dead plants, we felt a sense of pity for the local flora, which, as we were told, was burnt in a fire. The ashy foothills looked aged – truly a sad sight to see. After about an hour on the trails, the path flattened out a bit and we began to notice patches of snow. Things got a bit easier. Tourists rarely take this route, so there aren’t any markers or railings to help you find your way if the trails have been covered by snow. You just have to keep heading in one direction to keep from getting lost. We put on some extra clothing. We passed a guy descending the mountain with a pair of alpine skis tied on to his backpack. We said “Hi”. He warned us that it was really windy at the top.
After traversing a slope covered in snow, we merged onto the main trail. The trail was paved in stones and guarded by a railing coming about 30 cm off the ground. We had about 6.5 kilometers to go to the summit. By this point, we were hiking across an open area and the wind was really starting to blow. We were worried we might get blown off the path. I started to understand why not everyone is able to reach the summit. Here, it’s Mother Nature that’s calling all the shots.
We moved along at a brisk pace in spite of the wind. We came across stretches of the trail that were buried under snow. The entire summit was covered in snow too. Along the trails we noticed tracks from skis. Even in the offseason, it appeared that enthusiasts still carried their skis with them, even if they couldn’t go skiing.
A spiral path led us the summit of Kosciuszko, 2,228 meters above sea level. At the very top of the mountain, the winds were near gale-force, tearing away at our flags. A young man and woman made it to the summit shortly after we did. It turned out they were our compatriots – from Ekaterinburg. Even here in Australia, on the summit of Kosciuszko, halfway across the globe, we ran into Russians. It was nice.
We descended pretty quickly. We had the wind at our backs on the way down, which made things considerably easier. The entire climb took us about 8 hours.
6.11.2012. Back to Sydney. Lyudmila took the wheel on the way back. She’s a fast driver and confident behind the wheel. She remembered the way. Lydumila and Maxim switched places a couple of times, but I remained in the passenger’s seat. Our navigator led us to a beach in Sydney. It wasn’t particularly warm out, but hey – the ocean’s the ocean. The water couldn’t have been more than 18 C, but we jumped right in. The giant waves crashed into the shore, then drew back into the ocean, leaving behind a blanket of foam. There were hardly any people in the water. Most of the people at the beach were sunbathing.
Max was really intent on unwinding. He spent nearly 40 minutes splashing around in the water. Lyudmila and I walked back to the sand to warm up a bit before throwing ourselves into the water again. We had certainly felt the lure of the ocean on the trip. Its undulating waves had beckoned us in. What can I say? It was pure joy. We might never have left if not for how cold the water was. We would have liked to spend more than 2 hours there, but what could we do? We were running on a really tight schedule.
We dumped our stuff off at the hotel before heading back to eat at the tower restaurant again and check out the view of Sydneyat night. It was impressive. We could see the bright lights, the ads and the signs covering the skyscrapers. They were beautiful and original.
7.11.2012. Today was the Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. Back in the Soviet Union, this was a significant holiday. We forgot all about it. I guess that’s just human memory. We had breakfast in the hotel. We had to hurry. It was our last day in Sydney and we still had lots left to see.
By chance, we ended up in a prison museum in downtown Sydney. An elderly gentleman there offered to take us on a tour. By local standards, the prison was ancient – more than 200 years old. As it turned out, this was a place where prisoners were sent not only from England, but from America and other countries in Europeas well. It was intended for those serving life sentences. Most of the prisoners who served their time there remained on the island rather than heading back forEurope. Someone would need to break in the island after all. It was the first prisoners themselves that had built the prison. There were no beds or cots at all – only hammocks.
We headed back to the ocean through the botanical gardens. The gardens were really well kept up. We visited the gift shop. Then we decided to take a water taxi to the aquarium. The view of Sydney from the water is spectacular. The water taxis can get you anywhere you need to go in just 15 minutes. We didn’t make it into the aquarium. We didn’t have enough time. Too bad.
We made it back to the hotel at 16:30, gathered our stuff, and then left for the airport. We’re flying back through the same airports: from Sydney to Bangkok to Dubai to Moscow.
The first thing I would like mention about the trip to Australia was our tight deadline. Just 5 days? That seemed too fast. It took us two days to fly out there. After you arrive, it takes you a while to gather your bearings. However things weren’t as bad as usual this time. We’ve flown so many times in the past year that it appears that our bodies are beginning to adapt to flying out ofMoscow.
When we got toSydney, we really tried to keep from falling asleep right away. It was late back home in Moscow, but it was early in the morning for us. So how do you avoid dozing off? Healthy food and fresh air, of course. Having decided to avoid taxis and public transport, we armed ourselves with a map of the area and set out for the fish market on foot.
On our walk, I was struck by the contrasting styles of architecture in Sydney. We were in downtown Sydney, surrounded by skyscrapers and towers, but we kept on coming across parks, gardens, ponds and all kinds of fountains. One of the things that really left an impression on us was the ibises – large exotic birds with long curved beaks. We came across them virtually every step of the way, especially in areas with restaurants and cafes.
Naturally we ran into a large throng of ibises and pelicans near the fish market. As soon as a new shipment of seafood would arrive, the birds would flock to scavenge some of the scraps. The employees at the market did all they could to shoo away the birds.
We treated ourselves to a bit of fish and returned to the hotel. We found our rooms, unpacked our stuff, then worked on figuring out where we could rent a car and where we could connect to the internet to send out our first photos and messages.
In an attempt to take in as much of Sydney in the little time we had, we decided to ascend to the top of the Sydney Tower. From there you can see everything in Sydney: the Pacific Ocean, the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Botanical Gardens and much more. It was well worth it.
We didn’t get much sleep that night, even though we hadn’t slept much at all the past two nights on the airplane. We all woke up early – around 5 or 6 in the morning. I somehow mustered up the strength to go for a morning jog throughSydney.
After breakfast, we set out to pick up our rental car. I have to say that this may have been one of the most interesting experiences of the whole trip toAustralia: our first time driving on the left side of the road. Max nobly volunteered to take the wheel. Everybody chipped in with advice – including the GPS system and its sexy female Australian voice. It didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that it took us three tries and 40 minutes to find our way out of downtownSydney.
We stopped just outside of the city and I encouraged Max to take a quick smoke break to help cope with the stress of his job as chauffeur. The trip toCanberrawas quite memorable, both for the beautiful landscape and for the numerous signs warning about the danger of kangaroos and wombats. By chance, we happened upon a street music festival in the town ofCooma. We had a good time there.
AfterCanberra, the landscape really started to change. We began to see real mountains and forests of eucalyptus trees. Near the entrance to theSnowyMountains, a whole group of kangaroos crossed the road in front of us. Fortunately none of them were hurt (a lot of animals get run over in the Australian wilderness, especially at night).
We made it to theSnowyMountainsduring the evening and found thevillageofThredbo(home to a ski resort), where we would be spending the night. Before dinner, we decided to drive out to our starting point so we wouldn’t get lost the next morning.
In the morning, we headed out for “Dead Horse Gap”. We weren’t terribly thrilled with the weather. The wind was pretty strong. Our path took us through a burnt eucalyptus forest and alpine meadows. When we made it out of the forest, the wind nearly knocked us off our feet. There was even snow in some areas.
We made it to the summit around lunchtime. There we had an interesting encounter with two climbers from Ekaterinburg (Russia). They were working on the 7 Summits program too. Kosciuszko was number 4 for them.
It turned out, they had read about our expedition online and tried to time their climb to coincide with ours. It was nice running into them. We began our descent from the summit during the evening. The next morning, we had to wake up early again in order to make it back to Sydney, 500 kilometers away. We were hoping to get back early so we could dip our feet in thePacific Ocean. Fortunately, we made it back in time. Dreams do come true.
It’s been nice to warm up a bit. Next up is Antarctica.
Everything started out okay. We decided to go for a walk aroundSydneybefore we leftAustraliaand pick up a couple of souvenirs. However, Max and Ivan got a little bit carried away inside one of the stores. They picked up a didgeridoo (an ...
Everything started out okay. We decided to go for a walk aroundSydneybefore we leftAustraliaand pick up a couple of souvenirs. However, Max and Ivan got a little bit carried away inside one of the stores. They picked up a didgeridoo (an Aboriginal instrument) and started playing very loudly – to the point that the other shoppers had to cover their ears. They then decided to give a boomerang a toss to see if it would fly back.
The officers of the peace would not tolerate this type of behavior and they sent us off – to prison! Of course, this was done as more of a precautionary measure than anything else. We were sent to a rather unusual historic prison named the “Barracks of Sydney”. This was actually one of the placesEnglandbuilt to house some of the first convicts they sent toAustraliain 1819. We spent a bit of time there, lying on our bunks (actually they were probably more like hammocks) and thinking about what we had done.
We didn’t have much time left before our flight. After we told the lawmen there about the purpose of our visit toAustraliaand “Alpari: On Top of the World”, they took pity on us and decided to let us go (after getting our autographs). I guess they can take our prints next time we’re in town. We hopped into a water taxi and sped off to the airport.
So, it looks like we may make it back in time for our Everest celebration after all…
-Lyudmila Korobeshko, writing from a water taxi
The Everest celebration Lyudmila mentioned is to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the first Soviet expedition to Everest. It will take place on November 8 at theMoscowPolytechnicMuseum. All of the climbers from the formerSoviet Unionwho made the summit of Everest have been invited. Team Alpari has also been invited… as guests of honor.
Today at 6:30 Moscow time (at 13-30 local) team deployed Alpari flag on the top of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest summit in Australia. Lyudmila Korobeshko Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov climbed six of the seven summits. Their project ...
Today at 6:30 Moscow time (at 13-30 local) team deployed Alpari flag on the top of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest summit in Australia. Lyudmila Korobeshko Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov climbed six of the seven summits. Their project will be completed by the ascent of Mount Vinson in Antarctica in early December.
Lyudmila Korobeshko: Route was interesting, quite a lot of snow, strong wind. The corpse of a dead horse was not found. But on the track we saw a lot of horse manure. This led me to think that the rumors of the death of the horse are somewhat exaggerated. Hello! (They climbed via Dead Horse Gap)….
Flight to Sydney was very tedious. The route was changed by airline and our team a long time was sitting inThailand, not knowing when will be allowed to fly further. Only after whole day on the road, Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and ...
Flight to Sydney was very tedious. The route was changed by airline and our team a long time was sitting inThailand, not knowing when will be allowed to fly further. Only after whole day on the road, Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov arrived in Sydney. The first day was devoted to a sightseeing tour of this wonderful city.
Forecast Kosciuszko ...
Spring in theMountainsBlueMountainturned leisurely. Therefore, on the slopes longer than normal to save snow. Actually, all paths lead to the top, covered with snow. It, however, melts quite intensively. Moist, moderately warm weather contributes to this process. Each day will be at least a little rain, sometimes with the wind. In general, the picnic was not supposed to be.
Project “7 Summits for 300 days”
8th of September the team of Alpari Lyuda (Lyudmila) Korobeshko - Ivan Dusharin - Maxim Shakirov climbed theWestern Summit of Elbrus. It was their fifth mountain from the “big seven”. The most difficult ones – Mt Everest andMt.Denali were climbed in May and June 2012.Mt.Kosciuszko - the highest Australian hill is the next goal. It could not be difficult to climb it in November. The last one –MountVinson is waiting at the beginning of December. In recent years, the vast majority of those who arrive to climb theMountVinson, reach the top. So we have confidence that our target will be achieved.
“Alpari On Top of the World” project
It all started with a friendship with the leaders of the company of Alpari. Sometimes we go to the mountains together. In 2008, the leader of Alpari Andrey Dashin went with the 7 Summits Club inEcuador. It was his first trip to the mountains. Andrey felt interest in mountaineering and introduced it to his employees. Then there were Kilimanjaro, Alps,Tibet, Altai,Kamchatka. “It’s a good tradition. We all climb together, overcoming obstacles, cold weather, difficult conditions. But we make it,” commented Andrey Dashin.
During this visits it was burn an idea to raise the banner of Alpari the highest peaks of world.
The project’s goal is simple: climb the Seven Summits in just 300 days!
A bit more about Alpari:
Alpari is the world’s leading MetaTrader 4 broker, and, according to a recent report from “Forex Magnates”, one of the world’s three largest Forex brokers. In addition to online trading, Alpari offers a variety of other services including free analytical tools and partnership programs. Alpari has been providing online brokerage services for over 13 years, now with more than 540,000 accounts belonging to clients from 150 countries around the world. It is represented in more than 20 countries and more than 30 cities in Russia. It has earned the trust of clients and partners everywhere. Over the years, Alpari has racked up a number of prestigious financial awards, including one for being named the “Company of the Year in Forex” at the 2011 Financial Elite of Russia Awards.
The Team for Several Records
A team of experienced climbers will have to implement this idea. At the same time, managers of Alpari have to take part in several expeditions. The persons for the team of climbers was offered by the Mountaineering Federation of Russia after discussions with the 7 Summits Club.
Lyudmila Korobeshko is the captain of the team. She is the only Russian woman climbed Seven Summits and been to the North and South Poles (Last Degree).
Ivan Dusharin, 65 years old “patriarch of Russian alpinism”, is an internationally recognized climber with the supremely challengingK2, among many other impressive climbs, under his belt. He is a vice-president of the Mountaineering Federation of Russia.
Maksim Shakirov, author of “New Year on the Peaks” project, photograph and video operator, he is a well-known as “media-climber” who planted the flag of the 2014 Olympic Games atop Mount Everest and Mount Olympus.
Several records are planned to be broken if the team is successful:
- all-world speed record for women (Lyudmila Korobeshko);
- speed record for a team of three and more;
- age record for climbing 7 Summits in one year (Dusharin);
- first ever team to climb all Seven by non-standard route (not fulfilled yet, because the weather on Everest was unfavorable)
- several national records.
On the night of November 2, the team "Alpari on top of the world" has gone from Domodedovo airport inAustraliato climb the continent's highest peakMountKosciuszko. The mood was festive, because everyone continued to celebrate the ...
On the night of November 2, the team "Alpari on top of the world" has gone from Domodedovo airport inAustraliato climb the continent's highest peakMountKosciuszko. The mood was festive, because everyone continued to celebrate the anniversary (65 years) of Ivan Dusharin. And we jokingly remarked that one of the gifts was a birthdays "trip for three" inAustralia...
Our congratulations !
Ivan Dusharin. His official sporting status is master of sports of international class, “snow leopard”. He has been climbing mountains since 1964; 19 times summited 7,000m peaks of former USSR, also conquered Mont Blanc (1985), Aconcagua (1991, 2012), Everest (1992, 2005, 2012), McKinley (1995, 2012), Changabeng (1998), Nanga Parbat (1997), Cho Oyu (2002). While being younger Dusharin served in air-landed force, has a large number of parachute jumps. He is an engineer-designer by profession. Long time Ivan Dusharin was the head of the robot design bureau at AvtoVAZ plant. Now he lives inMoscowand work as a vice-president of the Russian Mountaineering Federation.
Sixty-five year-old Ivan is a mountain climber. Ivan Dusharin has decided to vanquish all of the tallest peaks in the world within one year. Over the past six months, Dusharin has already surmounted Kilimanjaro, Everest and Aconcagua. And during the next half year, he intends to climb another four of the world’s peaks. The idea is to climb to the highest points in each of the seven continents. At the end of May, Ivan descended from Everest and on the next day, following the photo shoot for The Age of Happiness project, he took off to triumph over McKinley, the highest point inNorth America.
No one inEuropehas ever climbed seven peaks in one year. For world mountain climbing, this is a significant project, considering that Dusharin and two colleagues on his team, Lyudmila Korobeshko and Maksim Shakirov, are deliberately avoiding the classical routes and choosing complicated paths for the climb.
That climb on Everest was Ivan Dusharin’s third. It took 59 days. «The temperature this time was good,» says Dusharin, only −45 c." And he recalls that the time before, he was less lucky. Then it was −54 c." True, this time the «good» temperature bestowed upon him lightly frostbitten fingers, as he had to take off his gloves in order to take pictures at the peak.
When Dusharin was 50, he climbed Changabang, the Indian peak, in such a way that no one had ever managed to do it previously—on the sheer face. The climb up the vertical wall lasted 16 days without a break, spending the nights on the face, as well, three of them hanging in a tiny piece of stretched tarpaulin.
How can you stand it? Ivan avers that the secret lies in relaxing. When you are able to relax your body properly, you can manage to rest even if you are hanging by one hand. Dusharin eagerly demonstrates how, exactly.
During hard climbs of many days, Ivan loses a lot of weight. On his last Everest ascent, he lost nearly 10 kilos. «Ordinary athletes have a body build,» he jokes. «But we mountain climbers have a body demolition.»
Dusharin’s method of weight loss is, of course, one of the most effective, but is also inhumanly arduous. Actually, with regard to mountain climbing, Ivan himself doesn’t value the ability to demonstrate physical endurance as much as the need to contemplate and make a decision. «This is a genuinely intellectual sport,» he says. «You have to think a lot.»
Ivan’s Early Years
I was born in 1947 in Pokhvistnevo, a small town in the south ofRussiawhose name was borrowed from the nearbyvillageofOld Pokhvistnevo. As a child, I was interested in the origins of the name of my hometown. As it turned out, Lieutenant Pokhvistnev served under one ofRussia’s most celebrated military heroes, Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov. For his bravery and valor during the French invasion ofRussiain 1812, Pokhvistnev was awarded an estate in the Simbirkskiy province. The estate no longer remains, but the lieutenant’s name lives on as the name of two towns.
Life after WWII, especially outside of the big city, was difficult and humbling. Just getting hold of a loaf of bread meant standing in huge lines. The horror of fighting over bread crumbs is something that will be forever ingrained in my memory. I was probably 6 years old when I was trampled in a bread line. I was holding onto my mother as we slowly moved into the store. I remember the legs and feet around me, the bodies, the stuffy air, the cries I heard as we scrambled to get our share of bread. I was getting squeezed harder and harder, then darkness… I woke up, lying in the snow. Some woman wiped snow off of my face. “Thank God! He’s awake,” she said to me as she stood me on my feet. “Stand and wait for your mother,” said my savior as she disappeared into the crowd. I sat down in the snow. I could not stand. Everything hurt. It was difficult to breathe. I stared at the crowd of people squeezing into the store, not understanding what was going on and what had just happened to me. I don’t remember how much time had passed by the time my mother emerged from the crowd, her hair undone, her shawl in her hands, her face bright red. She looked horrible, yet satisfied. She was holding two small loaves of dark bread to her chest. She ran to me and said, “Thank God! And they gave you bread too. They took pity seeing how close you made it to the counter.” She wasn’t as interested as I was? I was alive and moving, so everything was okay to her. What about me losing consciousness? I guess I was not the only one. That was a pretty common thing in the bread line.
My mother fixed her clothing and we headed home. I still felt terrible, but I remained silent, trailing behind my mother. I was indifferent to the world around me, but I could see my mother was happy. We managed to bring home 2 loaves of bread for the family. Just knowing that I helped was enough to bring me back to full strength. This was how I spent my childhood: fighting for bread crumbs, gathering sorrels to make pies, picking berries and mushrooms, collecting hay for the goat. The children of the post-war period lived through difficult conditions, but the struggle to survive made us tougher. We grew up to be unpretentious, adaptable and resilient. We didn’t think of ourselves as unlucky or as having been dealt a bad hand by Fate. School.. I remember my school days, being around people much like myself; friends and comrades. I remember true friendship, training to be a pinko communist, speaking with wise and caring people – my teachers. Many of them taught us not only their subject matter, but important life lessons as well. Thank you to all of them!
I studied at a mechanical engineering school in Samara. It was a different atmosphere, a different type of school. I found myself mixed in with teenagers from the big city, from more advantaged families. My peers from the countryside were looked down on as outsiders, like people with a lower social status. The boys and girls who weren’t from Samara quickly began to understand how things worked and started to band together. In life, like attracts like. We were dressed more modestly. We ate poorly. We wouldn’t allow ourselves extra. We didn’t quite feel at home in the big city. But our persistence, our sense of fairness, our hard work and physical conditioning forced them to respect us and consider our opinion. In our studies, especially in practical subjects, we quickly overtook our fellow students from the big city. It was during this time, a period of self-affirmation and soul-searching, that I discovered parachuting, and more importantly, I was introduced to the mountains.
In January of 1964, I had my first taste of mountain climbing. By 1967, I was already enrolled in a school for future mountain climbing instructors. The mountains are a truly remarkable part of nature, a place where the bonds of friendship are formed. They are a place for personal struggle and maturation, where you learn about the world, yourself and everything that surrounds you. Everything was unusual, but it was amazing. I found myself surrounded by great people. Some of my teachers were: Svetopar and Kamille Koroleva, Vitaliy Abalakov, Vladimir Kizel, Yakov Arkin, Grigoriy Maslov, Ilya Martinov and many other terrific people, who helped us appreciate the beauty and the grandeur of the mountains. These were people of the highest intellect, who looked to share their personal knowledge and experience with us, who taught us to see and to love beauty, nature and life. Mountain climbing during that time, and with those people, was a world-class learning ground and I was fortunate to be a part of it. It had a powerful impact on my life.
Serving in the army is a special period in life, one that every man remembers. I was fortunate. My time in the army was difficult, but interesting as well. I served as a paratrooper in the Baltics, starting out in a heavy paratrooper equipment battalion. My technical education and my physical training came in handy. I graduated from my training unit with honors. Unexpectedly, I was sent to courses to become a Komsomolskiy paratrooper instructor. I had a lot of work, but it was interesting. The knowledge and skills I picked up from mountain climbing lessons came in handy. It was not a fool that said, “Never stop learning. Anything you learn might turn out to be useful.” After 11 months of service, I was made first sergeant, the highest possible rank for compulsory service. With some difficulty, I managed to get out of the army, although my commanding officers told me I should stay, that I had a great career ahead of me. But the mountains were calling me. In May of 1970, I returned to Samara, found some work, and left for the mountains. I came back from the mountains just in time to register for night classes. Life suddenly became more rigorous: work, school, sports.
My reasons for making the trip out to Elbrus were fairly simple: to experience something new (climbing), to have the chance to speak with my coworkers in a less formal environment and to enjoy my time off. Looking back, I’d say I did ...
My reasons for making the trip out to Elbrus were fairly simple: to experience something new (climbing), to have the chance to speak with my coworkers in a less formal environment and to enjoy my time off. Looking back, I’d say I did pretty well.
Climbing. Before the trip, I did a ton of research: about Elbrus, about the area, about climbing for professionals and novices. I came to the conclusion that climbing Elbrus would be somewhat analogous to a trip to the store – pretty simple. The travel information I was reading made it sound like it would be a brisk hike; that it wouldn’t require any special physical training.
Things turned out to be completely different from what I had imagined. This was obvious as soon as we began our acclimatization climb to Cheget Peak. At 3,000 meters, breathing is noticeably more difficult and physical burdens become even more difficult to overcome. Even getting to sleep at 2,200 meters during the first couple of nights proved to be a challenge. At 3,800 meters (“The Barrels”), I only managed to get in one night of sound sleep in the three nights we stayed there.
After that, we made an acclimatization climb to the Pastukhova Rocks from camp at The Barrels. The living conditions at the “hotel” there are truly spartan, but it was nice that we had our food prepared for us. A huge “Thank You” goes out to the chefs up there. The acclimatization climb really showed me that our mission would not be easy. Two climbers ended up having to turn back due to health issues.
The Big Day. It was tough, even though we had a snowcat take us all the way up to 4,800 meters. We only had 840 meters left to clear vertically to make the summit, but not everyone there managed to reach the highest point in Europe.
I made it to the saddle, or to 5,300 meters. It took me 5 hours to gain 500 meters in elevation. To get a sense of how tough this is, imagine wearing 5 layers of clothing (yeah, you have to do this). After you put on the outer coat, you’ve puffed up to about one and a half times your normal size. Then you have to put on your backpack (about 3 kilograms) and climbing shoes. Then pretend you’re wearing a gas mask, because it’s a lot more difficult to breathe. Now, spend about 5 hours climbing the stairs in a tall building. And this crude simulation doesn’t even include the frost and the gale-force winds, but you should get the picture.
Now you can ask yourself, “Would I have made the summit or not?” You might have. But for me, the saddle was my summit and I turned around after I reached it.
I really have to give it up for the guys who did manage to reach the summit. It wasn’t easy for any of them. You can see that in the pictures. That they managed to do that – we are all really proud of them!
After the climb, I gained a lot of respect for mountain climbers, especially for high-altitude climbers. These are really strong people. I bet they could overcome virtually any obstacle.
The Good Times. The chance to talk to my coworkers in a less formal setting was really great. They all have a good attitude and are real go-getters. It was nice to find that we all pretty much spoke a common language outside of the workplace. I guess that’s because we bump into each other all the time at work. Now I can say with confidence that we are a real team. I’m sure the trust we built in the mountains will carry over into the workplace.
It was a great trip. I’d like to thank Alpari for giving me the chance to test myself and to experience something new.
Andrey Kharchenko, Team Alpari-Office
They were on the top at 12 a.m. It was windy, but clear. 5 members (Andrey Dashin, Ivan Kosilov, Sergey Belchikov, Yaroslav and Sviatoslav Yefremov), 3 guides (Alex Abramov, Dima Ermakov, Denis Saveliev) and photograph Andrey ...
They were on the top at 12 a.m. It was windy, but clear. 5 members (Andrey Dashin, Ivan Kosilov, Sergey Belchikov, Yaroslav and Sviatoslav Yefremov), 3 guides (Alex Abramov, Dima Ermakov, Denis Saveliev) and photograph Andrey Saveyko reached the highest point. All descended without big problem to 6.30 p.m. to the refuge Bochki.
Start at night...
The team of Alpari Luda Korobeshko - Ivan Dusharin - Maxim Shakirov climbed Western Summit of Elbrus. During the descent Max injured his leg, so they cancelled a climb Eastern Peak. They descendded to the refuge only in darkness. That ia ...
The team of Alpari Luda Korobeshko - Ivan Dusharin - Maxim Shakirov climbed Western Summit of Elbrus. During the descent Max injured his leg, so they cancelled a climb Eastern Peak. They descendded to the refuge only in darkness. That ia fifth summit of the prokect. Next Kosciuszko and Vinson ....
The upcoming phase of “Alpari: On Top of the World” will take our team to Russia’s Mount Elbrus, a “five-thousander” in the western Caucasus range. Each of the members of Team Alpari has climbed the twin-peaked ...
The upcoming phase of “Alpari: On Top of the World” will take our team to Russia’s Mount Elbrus, a “five-thousander” in the western Caucasus range. Each of the members of Team Alpari has climbed the twin-peaked dormant volcano several times. However, this time around, our trio is going to have some company. We’re sending some of our employees out to climb Elbrus with them.
Representing our company will be a group including some of our up-and-coming young managers and some of the head honchos at Alpari. For many of them, this expedition will be their first real taste of mountain climbing. They’re going to need to overcome their fears and push their bodies to the limit. At the same time, they will have to learn the basics of mountain climbing as they go: how to move across ice and snow, how to belay themselves and how to overcome the effects of the high altitude.
We asked our fellow Alpari employees: “Why are you going to Elbrus?” Here’s how they answered.
Andrey Dashin, Chairman of the Alpari Supervisory Board:
“The mountains are a passion of mine. It’s an emotional reprieve for the body and soul. In the mountains, everything is simpler. First you issue a challenge to the stony goliath. Then, at the summit, you get this incredible feeling: ‘Yeah. I’ve done it. I made it. I’ve overcome the obstacles and my personal weaknesses.’ There’s just the mountain and you. There’s nothing else. Up there, you experience a different type of awareness. In the mountains, something special takes place: I’m always coming up with new ideas and finding solutions to different problems.” Favorite Sports: Running, swimming, mountain climbing, boxing, skiing.
Andrey Vedikhin, CEO of Alpari UK, Alpari Founder: “I’ve never been to the mountains. I’m looking at the upcoming Elbrus climb as a warm-up for the December expedition to Vinson (Antarctica).”
Favorite Sports: Running (Andrey’s goal at the moment is to compete in a 2014 Iron Man triathlon: 3.86 km swimming, 180 km on a bike, 42 km running)
Ivan Kosilov, Investments. Ivan is an active snowboarder and paintballer. He loves go-carting, mountain climbing and rafting. He likely has as much experience in the mountains as any Alpari employee, having taken part in Alpari company trips to the Swiss Alps, the Altay region and Kamchatka.
He says Elbrus is “the next step towards conquering the world’s highest peaks.”
Andrey Kharchenko, IT Support. Andrey is an avid snowboarder and has visited several mountainous regions including Dombai, Khibiny, the Austrian Alps and Gornaya Shoria.
“I’m looking to conquer Elbrus so I can experience the mountains from a different perspective – climbing up instead of going down. The opportunity to climb the highest mountain in Europe isn’t something that comes around all that often. And the chance to do this with my co-workers makes it twice as nice.”
Sergey Belchikov, Consulting. Favorite Sports: Snowboarding, paintballing, go-carting, diving
“I thought it would be interesting to try something new with a group of friends. This definitely isn’t something I would do alone, but I simply couldn’t pass on the chance to make this trip with such a great group of people.”
Aleksey Redko, Broadcasting. Favorite Sports: Bike riding
The highest climb Aleksey has made is Mount Livadiyskaya (1,332 m) in Russia’s Primorskiy Krai.
“Conquering this mountain is on my list of things I want to accomplish in life. It’s great to have the chance to do this with such a great group of people.”
Aleksey Zayakin, Technical Support. Favorite Sports: Paintball, swimming, table tennis. When he was younger he used to travel to the Köpetdag Nature Reserve in Turkmenistan.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always found the mountains to be beautiful. For me, Elbrus is a really interesting challenge. Not only that – I love traveling with friends.”
Ivan Koshkarev, Site Support. Favorite Sports: Snowboarding, fitness, motorcycle riding
Ivan has been to the Altay Mountains a number of times. Says Ivan, “I love all types of adventure travel including road trips and snowboarding.”
“Why am I going to Elbrus? I really want to add a mountain expedition to my memory bank.”
Yaroslav Efremov, Development. Favorite Sports: Diving, rafting
Yaroslav has taken part in a number of Alpari company expeditions: climbing the Swiss Alps, rafting in the Altay Mountains and hiking through the fog of the Kamchatka volcanoes.
“The mountains are one of my passions. I was born in the foothills of the Pamir range, so the love has always been there. What can you say when you are given the chance to climb Elbrus with your friends and co-workers? Of course I will!”
Stanislav Efremov, Software Developer, London. Favorite Sports: Volleyball, diving
“I was born 5 minutes before Yaroslav. I lived in Tajikistan until the age of 15. In that time, I managed to climb most of the surrounding foothills. I love the mountains.”
Maxim Andrianov, Legal. Favorite Sports: Paragliding, bike riding. Maxim has climbed Beshtau (1,401 m, Russia) and has ridden halfway up Elbrus on a gondola.
“A number of the people I fly with are also mountain climbers. They convinced me that the enjoyment you get climbing towards the sky is pretty much the same as when you’re flying through it. I’m not sure if I believe them, so I thought I’d give it a try to see if they’re right. It’s always better reaching your goals with a good group of people.”
Andrey Rybin, Legal. Favorite Sports: Downhill skiing, bike riding
“Elbrus? I don’t even know where to begin.”
We would like to wish both teams luck. We can’t wait to hear from you guys!
Tomorrow the fifth stage of the "Alpari on top of the world" project will start. A trio of experienced climbers aims to complete the world famous program "7 summits" in record time - 300 days. To climb the highest point of all continents ...
Tomorrow the fifth stage of the "Alpari on top of the world" project will start. A trio of experienced climbers aims to complete the world famous program "7 summits" in record time - 300 days. To climb the highest point of all continents for a record time forRussia, world record for teams of three…. etc. The team captain Lyudmila Korobeshko already set one record, becoming the first Russian climbed twice on the top ofMount Everest. The initial plan to go 7 summits by non-standard routes had to be changed because of the terrible weather conditions on Everest. But we hope that Lyudmila will set a world speed 7 Summits record for women.
The team of Lyudmila Korobeshko, Ivan Dusharin and Maxim Shakirov plans to climb both peaks ofMount Elbrus. Each member of the expedition visited the tallest mountain ofEuropemany times. But this time it will be a special case. A group of Alpari managers join them to try climb Elbrus. Among them Andrey Dashin – the leader of the company, active sportsmen and climber.
News, photos, videos and reports from the expedition are available at the project website: www.alpari-life.ru
My first time on Elbrus was in 1967. It was part of a climb to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Soviet Union where 2,500 people would attempt the summit en masse in a grand spectacle called “Kabardikiada”. At the time, ...
My first time on Elbrus was in 1967. It was part of a climb to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Soviet Union where 2,500 people would attempt the summit en masse in a grand spectacle called “Kabardikiada”. At the time, I was studying to be a climbing instructor. The instructors-in-training at my school had been assigned a total of around 600 climbers – about 20 each. They were from all over the Caucasus region; from a number of different schools, clubs and organizations. As an aspiring climbing instructor, I was entrusted with a group of young climbers from Kabardino-Balkaria (a republic in southwestern Russia, just north of the Greater Caucasus Mountains), many of whom already had a few climbs under their belt. They arrived motivated and relatively well-prepared, but they were still very young. In the briefing I was given, it said that they were all at least 16 years of age (at the time, you had to be 16 to climb Elbrus), but just looking at their faces I could tell they were younger.
We put them through some training, but it was fairly minimal. It was raining most of the time.
The forecasts we were getting kept saying that July 29 would be the ideal day for the climb, so we began planning everything around this date. The day before the climb, we made our way to “Ice Base”. Our team was led by Honored Master of Sports (a title bestowed to esteemed athletes in the USSR) Aleksey Ugarov, one of the greatest climbers of that era and leader of the first expedition to conquer Peak Korzhenevskaya (7,105 m, Tajikistan).
I remember seeing Aleksey once in 1953. He was running around in nothing but leather shorts barking commands into a megaphone, trying to drive his team of young climbers onwards. It was quite a spectacle to behold, especially since the team hadn’t managed to get in the acclimatization it needed (due to bad weather) and most of us could barely move our legs.
Ice Base deserves a whole other story of its own. More than 2,000 people had been crammed into camp there. There were hundreds of tents, kitchens filled with provisions, a movie theater, a photo studio and a number of other buildings. We had initially been promised catering, but were instead treated to dry rations due to the heavy snowfall (the firewood was soaked). To us at the time, the food seemed fit for a king: chocolate, sour cream, fruits and other delicacies we had never even seen before in our lives.
On the morning of July 28, we all took part in a movie that was being shot about the expedition before setting out on an acclimatization climb. Amidst a backdrop of rockets being fired and shouts of “Hooray!” we began our ascent, only to get caught up in the deep snow within the first 10-15 meters. Many of us fell face-first in the snow while the cameras were rolling. A helicopter circled overhead, filming us from above as we waved our flags and banners. One small group of people arranged themselves to spell out “50 ëåò ÑÑÑÐ” (50 years of the USSR). We all got tired pretty quick, and then came a strong snowstorm. We descended back down to our tents without getting in the proper acclimitization.
We began our attempt at the summit on July 29 at 2 AM. Our long “centipede” worked its way up to the “Refuge of the Eleven” where we were met by a crowd of climbers who had been camping out there. Most of our team made it to the refuge, but afterwards, our ranks started to dwindle. People were beginning to collapse; their legs just giving out on them. Many of the climbers who were falling were athletes: fighters and weightlifters that were not used to giving up. A volunteer rescue team was there to bring them back to their senses or to simply carry them back down the mountain. There were others who simply sat down in the snow, looked at their instructors and said that they couldn’t go any further. Many of the people we were forced to leave behind asked those of us left standing to take their “tokens” to the summit.
Before the climb, each of us had been given a token: a small aluminum disc inscribed with our name, hometown and date of birth.
At the summit, we were to drop this token into a metal box. We were told that this box would be reopened in the Year 2017 – the 100-year anniversary of Soviet power – and that each of the climbers who was still alive would be invited to a huge gathering to commemorate the climb. So it wasn’t really a matter of honor or pride; they just wanted us to drop their token in the metal box so they would be invited to the 100-year anniversary party and maybe receive some sort of award.
We ascended the mountain slowly but surely, losing some of our comrades along the way. Most of my young climbers from Kabardino-Balkaria had been forced to throw in the towel. As we approached the Pastukhova Rocks, only 4 remained from my original group of 20: a father and his son who was studying at the Nalchikskiy Institute and two young girls who simply refused to give up. At one of our stops along the way, one of the girls passed out, toppling over like a felled tree. I barely managed to catch her. I squeezed lemon juice into her mouth to revive her and sent both of the girls back down to the gathering point below, essentially passing them on to another instructor. The three of us still remaining pressed onward, gathering tokens along the way. I made it to the top along with the father-and-son duo. We dumped a handful of tokens into the metal box and had our pictures taken. We also had the chance to see a motorcycle that Mikhail Kakhiani and some of his friends had hauled up to the peak earlier. On the summit, rallies were held, speeches were given, shouts were heard and flags were waved. Everyone was having the time of their lives. All of my fellow instructors made it to the summit as well. We chatted for a while before leading what was left of our teams back down. The weathermen had been right on the mark. That was pretty much the only day we could have made an attempt at the summit. When we got back to the stadium at the Itkol Hotel below, we were given a hero’s welcome, as if we had achieved something incredible. There were flowers, fruits and drinks (only of the non-alcoholic variety for the climbers). I’ll remember everything that happened that day for a long time to come. My young climbers thanked me for teaching them and for helping them along. A few of us exchanged addresses and stayed in contact for a number of years following our climb.
So that’s how it all went down. My first climb on Elbrus was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Elbrus. Its beaming twin peaks beckoned to me as I looked through my window as a child. Occasionally, some of my friends from school and I would hike towards the glistening giant. Sometimes we would even make it as far as the Bermamyt ...
Elbrus. Its beaming twin peaks beckoned to me as I looked through my window as a child.
Occasionally, some of my friends from school and I would hike towards the glistening giant. Sometimes we would even make it as far as the Bermamyt Plateau. At this point in my life, the thought of climbing Elbrus hadn’t even crossed my mind.
Later, I joined the mountaineering club at my university. We began to draw nearer and nearer – first to Irykchat (a glacier on the east side), then toChegetPeak(or Maliy Donguzorun, if you prefer)… Elbrus, however, remained out of reach. It was too great a challenge for us with our limited experience and our sub-par climbing equipment.
It was finally in 1996, the year I graduated, when our coach pulled a few of us aside and told us to start preparing for Elbrus. We had less than a month before our expedition, so we really had to get down to business. I would jog around Mashuk (a 10-kilometer run) three times a week. Every time the twin-peaked Elbrus came into view as I rounded the bend, I would think to myself, “I can do it. I have to. I haven’t been training this hard for nothing.” I imagined that this would be one of the major achievements of my early years. One of my friends was going to give birth. Another had found a job. I would be the one who climbed Elbrus.
On weekends, we would hike up to the highest peak in the foothills – Beshtau (1,401 m). I remember one of the last hikes before the big climb. My girlfriend and I were wearing our new shoes, which we had bought especially for Elbrus. They were leather, with a layer of Vibram. We spent just about everything we had on those shoes. The plan was to wear them in a bit so we wouldn’t get blisters on our big climb ahead. It turned out to be a good idea. What we had anticipated might have otherwise happened on Elbrus happened instead on Beshtau. Our feet were covered in blood. I had never had blisters that bad before.
The two of us were a sad sight as we headed back from Beshtau to meet up with our coach. I was limping, trying to hold back tears. Natasha forced me to keep a straight face: “Lyudmila, I know it hurts, but hang in there. You need to make it seem like everything’s fine. Smile!” It took every last ounce of my strength to force a smile.
Finally the time came. Elbrus isn’t just a climb. It’s a journey. We started out from the Ullu-Hurzuk valley and worked our way through four passes up to the Kukurtliu wall. In other words, we hiked from west of Elbrus to the north side of the mountain. On the way, we even saw a bear!
We started our attempt at the summit from the Oliiniykovskiy Hut at 3,600 m. It was around 2 o’clock at night. It was windy. Around 5 o’clock in the morning the wind started to get even worse. “It’s nothing, just a light morning breeze,” our guide told us. That quote would later became an inside joke among us, especially since the winds got even worse – it was practically a hurricane up there. Despite the worsening conditions, we knew there was no turning back. We had worked too hard. We finally made it to the western summit around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Sure, we were slow – the climb took us more than 12 hours – but we made it. And that’s what counts.
I have had the chance to climb Elbrus a number of times since then: with friends, with clients, the eastern peak, the western peak… even the “Cross”. However, that first climb will always be the most special to me.