CAMP 1 (4750m) After a couple of eventful days we are back with updates… This week, Adi Rusu experienced first hand what it means to get medical treatment in Kyrgyzstan. Fortunately, he is now safe, back home and he will recover soon completely. The last day he spent in the basecamp with the guys it snowed 40cm. Snowing did not stop yet, but the forecasts predict tomorrow should be the last day, then the weather should be kinder to our boys :). This will allow Dani to re-join Adi Fako and Misha with the first helicopter flight up the mountain as he descended in Karkara together with Adi Rusu 3 days ago. At higher grounds, Adi Fako and Misha already prepared the tents in Camp 1 (4750m) and spent last night there. Even though Adi Fako was as well a bit sick he is better each day. They did complain about the really salty food, but the guys liked the base camp (4200m)… Adi Fako said it is one of the best ones yet :). The morale is good. The guys are taking it step by step getting prepared for higher and higher altitude. Fresh snow means a higher risk of avalanches so they will have to wait for a few days before heading upwards, which will also give Dani a chance to get his body accustomed with the altitude in Camp 1. Adi Rusu said even the locals told him this is one of coldest, snowiest years Kyrgyzstan has seen yet… so we hope our boys will feel better the next days and that the weather will allow them to reach the summit. Starting with Camp 2 (5400m) the satellite signal should be better and the guys should be able to tell us more themselves :).
We landed in Kyrgyzstan at 5:30, local hour, after a very nice flight with Turkish Airlines. Although we didn’t manage to sleep much, we have eaten well and we’re all feeling good.
From here a van is taking us towards Karkara today. The translator was present only at the airport and now we’re stuck for 6-8 hours with a driver that doesn’t understand English or us at all and we don’t understand anything from him either…
The joys of traveling with an agency and not being able to pick your own driver or to spend how much time you would want buying things in the bazaar. However, the Mercedes Sprinter we’re travelling with does have enough space for us and all our bags and we did manage to buy everything we needed.
Today we will have partial GSM signal and starting with Karkara we’ll need to find a satelit solution to at least let you know that we are ok. This means that you’ll have to wait for the pictures, the movies and the story details until we’ll be back in civilization :)… in just a few days…
Thanks to Cosmin (from FreshHolidays) and to having the Ultrabook (from Intel) with us, we managed yesterday to finish with all the craziness with the visa quite fast, spending afterwards our time in the beautiful Istanbul.
We had a good night sleep at a hostel 10km away from the airport and now we enjoy this great city for a few more hours :).
BASECAMP: Khan Tengri After the drive through Kyrgyzstan, a helicoper took us to the basecamp of Khan Tengri two days ago. We knew from the beginning that the altitude of the basecamp is higher than normal due to the specifics of the mountain and that proper aclimatization is crucial. Unfortunately Adi (Adrian Rusu), is facing health problems and cannot continue any further without complications. He was taken by helicopter back to the grounds and is travelling now towards the Bishkek Airport. With the help of Cosmin (Fresh Holidays) we booked him a ticket on the next plane to Romania, tomorrow morning. Sometimes, you might need more willpower to stop, than to endure anything to reach the top… For the rest of us (Adi, Dani and Misha) the next days will be important to get our bodies prepared for the ascent. Thank you for being by our side in this period!
July 21, 2012. Today at 11:20 Romanian Time, peak Lenin, 7134m, was climbed by Adrian Fako, Lucian Rosu, Tiberiu Pintilie and George Porancia.
Inca o data Atitudinea a invins Altitudinea.
We got in the local bus, ready to travel the last 200 km to Azau. The border of Kabardino-Balkaria was heavily guarded, but being in a local bus, nobody asked anything. Probably with a personal car we would have been asked about papers.In the morning we entered the Baksan valley, the way to Elbrus mountain. About 30 km of nice scenery, old wolfram mines and hydroelectric power plants. Nowadays, the mines are closed and the area is very poor.
On the way, our driver was changed by another one, which, in the end, proved to be a cop, by the large gun that he carried beneath his blouse. He was probably checking us visually, as we noticed him staring at us from time to time. We were ok, just some tourist with dollars, willing to climb Elbrus mountain.
The mountains in front of us grew bigger and bigger, and from the distance, we saw the first glaciers. We reached the Seherezade Hotel, the one owned by Pilgrim Tours, at first time in the morning, about 7:00 am. We knew our light package included 2 meals and a night in the hotel, but we preferred to keep that for the down climb. We spent 200 rubles for each of us (6 dollars) to take a shower, to repack the backpacks with the necessary gear for Elbrus and to split to food for the first and second part of the expedition. The room became a big pile of food, clothes and gear.
We left a large sac of things at the hotel, that cost 50 rubles per day (1.6 dollars). It was about 25 kg in weight, just to get an idea. The rest of the things were on us, or in our backpacks. From 35 kg each, we reached about 26-28. Big improvement!
After the shower, we decided to get outside for a picnic, and from there strait to the cable car. This is used to get people to 3800, and it helps you get up quicker. You wouldn’t like all the hot dust at the base of the mountain. It costs 20 dollars per person, you can pay in rubles or in US dollars.
From the Chairlift we went on foot for another hour or so to place the tents. We remembered the cable car ends at 3000, so we decided to camp at 3500-3700. What we didn’t know was that we were extremely wrong: the car ends at Garabashi at 3800. So, our acclimatizing day, at about 3000 m, ended up at 4000-4050, just before Priut hut. Small difference, but without another day on a smaller mountain, it seemed like climbing Mont Blanc in… 2 days. We were ok, at least for that moment…