Sun, 17 Aug, 2014
We were met by Vladimir and our two climbing mates introduced below. We dumped our bags in the van and started what was meant to be a four ride south to the border of Georgia. One thing that is apparent from our travels is that the trip to the mountain is often the most dangerous aspect of the entire climb. Kilimanjaro - crazy driver, Denali - flight through 'one shot pass', Aconcagua - the Argentinean equivalent of Mario Andretti on mountain roads, and with Elbrus we had the fastest driver south of Moscow. He had his van doing light speed whilst threading between oncoming trucks and passing various vehicles, cows, donkeys and other farm yard animals. All the time this was happening, the radio played an eclectic range of Muzak interspersed with Dolly Parton and Kenny G. David had mentioned that he may in fact have tasted his spleen about half way. Almost to Terskol, the rain came down heavily and caused a bunch of flash floods. Curiously, our driver increased his speed which seemed inexplicable. Perhaps we needed to get past some area that was either going to be washed out and subject to a landslide (see Aconcagua blog) - but we will never know. We arrived at our hotel and the driver was met by locals and everyone shook his hand and slapped his back - I presume this was because he just broke the land speed record from MV to Terskol by doing the 4 hour trip in 02:59:34.
We are safely tucked into our new accommodation and have completed the obligatory bonding ritual with teammates. Now off to the mountain for some acclimatization. This is what we came for.
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Adam MacDonald, David Banman and their worldwide climbing adventures!