glacier

Countdown to Elbrus…

 

I’m back down from my early morning Wicklow Mountain hill-walk.  elbrus 2It was cold and windy up there, but bracing and totally energising. Walking on a blustery day like today really makes me feel alive.

My leg is properly healed now and I’m training hard for Elbrus.  I’m heading to Russia in July with Pat Falvey Irish and World Wide Adventures, to climb the highest mountain in Europe. Elbrus is a frozen volcanic glacier with a big reputation and one of the ‘Seven Summits’ the highest mountains of each of the seven continents.

The odds are stacked against me, because I need to fit 6 months of training into less than 2 after being injured earlier this year.  It’s a serious challenge and I’ve got an awful lot of work ahead.  It doesn’t help my confidence when I keep finding little details like this on ‘about.com’…..

•Climbers regularly die on Mount Elbrus, as many as 30 a year. In 2004 alone, 48 climbers and skiers died on the mountain. Elbrus is considered one of the world’s most deadly peaks with a high ratio of climber deaths to climbers.

May the force be with me! I’m heading down to Pat’s Kerry Mountain Lodge shortly to begin training on Carrauntoohil. I hope I’ll be ready for climbing Ireland’s highest mountain. It will certainly show me how much work I have to do. Kerry will bring this challenge home.

 

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Mount Elbrus — Europe’s Highest Mountain

Bar LiftDaily Mail borderWell the challenge is on.  In the next two months I need to pour 6-months of training into just 8 weeks. In July, I travel to Russia with Pat Falvey Worldwide Adventures to try and reach the summit of Mount Elbrus – the highest mountain in Europe and one of the Seven Summits.

I’ve been planning the climb for close to a year, but falling and slicing my knee open in February wasn’t part of the plan. At this stage I’m not nearly ready, and have only started to resume the training plan that I should have been working on for the past three months.

leg2I don’t know if I’m going to be ready in time, but the knee has healed well and is taking weight – and with two months left, I’m not saying ‘no’ just yet.  Tips, hints, suggestions about rehab and healthy eating will all be very welcome in the coming weeks, as I crank up the race to be fit.

At some point I’ll have to make a decision about the safety of joining an expedition on a mountain where unpredictable weather calls for endurance, fitness and the ability to move quickly if nature throws a curveball – and all this at altitude. For now, I’ll just concentrate on getting fit. I feel like I’m 23 stone all over again. I have a mountain to climb.

Elbrus – ‘the stats’

Elevation: 18,510 feet (5,642 meters)
Prominence: 15,554 feet (4,741 meters)
Location: Caucasus Range, Russia. On the border of Asia and Europe.
Coordinates: 43°21′18″ N / 42°26′21″ E
First Ascent: 1874 by Florence Crauford Grove, Frederick Gardner, Horace Walker, Peter Knubel, and Ahiya Sottaiev (guide).elbrus 3

Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia.  At 15,554 feet (4,741 meters) it is also the tenth most prominent mountain in the world, and one of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Mount Elbrus lies on the geographical dividing line between Europe and Asia, but most geographers consider it to be the highest mountain in Europe.

‘Climbing.about.com reports that Elbrus is considered one of the world’s most deadly peaks with a high ratio of climber deaths to climbers, as many as 30 in a year.  Considered an inactive volcano, Mount Elbrus is perpetually snow-covered with an icecap and 22 glaciers. Lava flows cover the mountain as well as 100 square miles of volcanic ash and debris. Pyroclastic flows of ash and mud, indicative of a powerful eruption that melted ice, also drain off the mountain. An 800-foot-wide snow-filled volcanic crater is on the mountain’s western summit. Elbrus last erupted around 50 A.D.

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