The Freight Train and Rest Day
Can you identify this sound? Maybe a lion poised for the kill, or a giant agitated hippo? Close, but it is our bunk mate two bunks away who I will be nominating for loudest snorer to the Guinness Book of World Records.
We have never encountered someone who snores with such force. As a result, sleep has been very hard to come by at night - the shelter actually shakes when he snores !
We have named him the freight train, although he bears a remarkable resemblance to Little John from Robin Hood lore. We have a tough time being angry at him, though, as he shared some cognac with us yesterday.
All in all, our Russian bunk mates have been lots of fun.
We received a lot of snow and wind overnight, so attempting the climb today would have been foolhardy. Instead, we descended to the valley floor to eat kebabs and boost our red blood cells for our final push tomorrow.
Our altitude gain has been by far the most aggressive of any mountain we have climbed, so the rest day was most welcome.
As we were returning up the mountain, Adam realized he really, REALLY needed to use the bathroom, but we were halfway up the gondola. So, we stopped at the next station, and where did he go? The world's worst bathroom. I'm not just saying that- Outdoor magazine rated this toilet the worst in the world! Just Google "worst bathroom world Elbrus" and click on the first entry and you will see what I mean.
Adam couldn't get himself to go all the way in and he had to hobble around doubled over for another 20 minutes before he found something that wasn't quite as squalid...
After this traumatic episode, Adam and I convinced two snowmobile drivers to drive us up to our shelter, which was another hair raising experience. This marked the 7th different type of transportation on this trip, which has to be some sort of record.
Now for the actual summit plan - the idea is for us to set off around 4:00 am for an hour long ride by snowcat - if the weather stays as forecasted, we hope to arrive at the summit somewhere between 9:30 am to 10:00 am (12:30-1:00 am Steinbach time). From the summit, we head over to the other side of the mountain down to about 13,000 feet - a long day.
The weather still doesn't look great, so there could be many variations on this theme - we just have to be patient and flexible.
Here's hoping for some light wind and snow - it is windy but absolutely breathtaking right now!
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Adam MacDonald, David Banman and their worldwide climbing adventures!