Inspection tour to Elbrus area, Aug 2005

Inspection tour to Elbrus area, Aug 2005

Inspection tour to Elbrus area, Aug 2005 SHORT INSPECTION TOUR
6-12 AUG 2005

Ten hundred clients and ten years of cooperation…

It is really time to visit this famous and nice region of the World to see and feel where they travel to and what they ski-tour and climb.

The main goal of my trip with the best friend and partner Bernhard Letz (Verkehrsburo, Austria) was to investigate, how the situation in the region of Elbrus mount changed from Soviet times, what new hotels, people, transport, guides, infrastructure in general appeared during these years. And understand why thousands climbers dream to visit this great region and climb the highest summit in Europe.

After arrival in Mineralny Vody airport - transport gate of the region - we were transferred by russian microbus "Gazel" to the valley of Baksan river. Two hours - and we were in the valley and were driving along the river by quite good mountain road, passing the main town of the region Tyrnauz, some local villages Verhny (upper) Baksan (where Adir-Su river flows into Baksan river), Elbrus (here Adil-Su river flows into Baksan river), Tegenekli and at last - Terskol - the tourist center of the region. 3 km more - and we are at the upper part of Baksan valley, at the glade Azau, where Azau cable station is situated.

In soviet times, even 5-6 years ago, only three hotels and number of alpine and tourist bases were situated here. But now, when the flow of tourists increased dramatically due to stable situation in the region, local people built here tens private hotels, which are much better than "soviet" hotels. Two of them are at Azau glade, 100m far from cable station. We were welcomed in the wooden hotel, with all necessary facilities - toilet, hot water, satellite TV, so on in each room. Hospitability of the owner and staff does not have limit additionally to the comfort of the rooms itself.

So the first imagination about the place where the clients live and stay was more than positive.

But next impression must be - to see ELBRUS!
We went to Cheget glade, which is 5km lower from Azau and used chair lifts (first - double chair, then single chair) and appeared on the slope of the second most famous place - slope of Cheget mount. Our clients ski-tour or climb here by foot, but we are too lazy and our time is limited…

The views we saw - unforgettable! No words - just look at:

Elbrus from the foot to the top!

Donguz-Orun with its ice cap and hanging glacier in the form of "7" and Nakra mounts!

Great impression!


Additional impression is the number of excursion buses on the Cheget glade, which came from the cities of the region of "Mineralny Vody" (mineral water), Piatigorsk, Essentuki, Kislovodsk, Zheleznovodsk, where hundred sanatoriums are situated and people live, drink mineral water, treat their health and - take part in the different excursions, including to Elbrus area. They are so happy to see small piece of snow, in summer! That puts off the clothes and takes the numbers of pictures! We too…


Well, after so great experience (which was a part of our goal), it is time to inspect some hotels.

There was only one hotel - Tourbase "Cheget" - on the Cheget glade. But now there are at least 8 private hotels. And it was so interesting to compare. And we found - private is much much better.


And one more step - fruitful negotiations with the local authority.


After negotiations it is so useful to treat yourself with mineral water at the "Narzan" glade. Bottled Narzan is nothing in comparison with natural.


Adil-su valley is the next place for investigations. Our clients have acclimatization ski-tour or climbing here. Good road leads to the alpine base Jantugan, from here they go to Gumachi pass (on the right, but now we avoid to use this route due to avalanche danger in spring and bad snow condition in summer), or to Kashkatash glacier and plato, or some other points in this valley.

View of famous mount Schelda is so nice!


Passing the stone, like climbing trainer, I could not escape the occasion to touch it at least… It could be hardly imagined that I climbed rocks ten years ago… so only nostalgia…


Valley Adir-su is famous by its elevator for transport, alpine base "Ullutau" and "Jailik" and number of summits with different routes for climbing. For us - it is famous by its choice of great ski-touring during spring season. We must see them, even on summer.

Elevator is really great! Nowhere we can see the same. Oleg tries to explain how does it work.


Alpinbase Ullutau is situated at the upper part of Adir-Su valley, near border point. And we saw one of the famous mount Ullutau with shape like spade.


In Ullutau alpinbase only one house is suitable for accommodation during spring, when no alpinists in the region. Very simple accommodation, without facilities, but we should be happy to have walls and roof.


By chance we were witness of Memory day in Ullutau Alpine base. All alpinists in the valley gathered at the cemetery of alpinists at this time and Mr Porohnya, one of the eldest alpinists of Russia, just read the names of alpinists, who died in the mountains. Every name - stroke of bell…


Look - how many young alpinists are around… Old Russian alpinists provide them not only with their great technical and tactic experience in climbing mountains - but mostly they try to give them the feeling of traditions of Soviet and Russian alpinism, friendship and help, support and memory… It is good lesson for all of us.

Well, valleys, hotels, transport, meals - everything is ok. Now it is time to examine the infrastructure on Elbrus itself.
Wagon of cable car took us to the first station "Stary Krugozor" (something like "Old Observation Point") at 3000m, then second part to the station "Mir" (may be "Peace", may be "World") at 3500m, then by chair lift to the world wide famous place "Bochki" (in English may be Barrels, may be Tanks, but only when you see these "Bochki" you can translate this word correctly).


Weather was really great and this place at the altitude 3800m was like Antalia (just without sea, which is just 300km on the South). There is kitchen and dining room; each "bochka" can accommodate 5-6 pax, quite comfortable for this altitude.


Here we met some groups from different countries, some guides, who lead them to the top. One of the most experienced guides - nice lady Alexandra. We cannot escape the chance to take the photo with her, especially as she led our groups to the top as well.


And again - great views around - Elbrus - so close to us, Donguz Orun, Ushba and whole Caucasus up to Black sea.


We must see the same views from upper part - and walked to Priut at 4050m by foot.


There was "Priut of 11th", three stored building, Mekka of alpinists. It was burned down on 1998 and it was real tragedy of all alpinists round the world. By great forces locals repaired the building, where generator was, and now this building can accommodate appr 30-35 pax and all people continue to name it "Diesel Hut".


We did not have problem with acclimatization (body memory, as we think) and first lunch was so pleasant. Sun, snow, blue sky, no wind - real paradise!


We climbed with pleasure to the end of the first rocks and had a first cup of tee looking around.


We did not have climbing the top in our plans. So we decided just to walk over Pastukhova rocks, till appr 5100m, just to be over the all Caucasus mounts (at least nearest). And we did it.

Sunrise was more than impressive! And we saw very rare effect - Shadow of Elbrus on the sky! That's the moment when we can say - dreams come true!

letz_elbrus_bern_sun (1).jpg

Short rest in the Diesel hut with farewell tea and cakes and come down to the valley.


What can be more pleasant than the first glass of beer after climbing!


We continued our inspection tour by driving to one of the city of "Mineralny Vody" region - Piatigorsk, tasted local mineral water - (as so unpalatable as so much useful for liver…), spend the nice evening in the restaurant of the hotel Intourist, and came to the final opinion - OUR INSPECTION TOUR WAS SUCCESSFUL OF 120%!

Everything is ok in the region - situation, hotels, guides, transport, infrastructure. Welcome and welcome to travel here.

Contact your best operator in Austria and Germany

Osterreichisches Verkehrsburo AG

Wahringer Strasse 121, A-1180 Wien

Tel 43-1-406 1579

Fax 43-1-408 1124


on Begrnews.com


Contact person is Mr Letz Bernhrad, the great specialist in climbing programs in different regions of the World in general, and in Elbrus area in particular.

See you on Elbrus!

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