Second Rest Day
Again, another uneventful day other than the ice axe practice. We got up late and had breakfast. The weather was unusually misty and cold at Barrel’s Hut. However, Elbrus was clear and visible which got us wondering if we should have gone up.
After breakfast, we put on our double boots and crampons and took our ice axe. Dasha led us to a nice spot on the Garabashi glacier where there was sufficient snow and ice to practice ice axe usage and self-arrest.
We all took turns falling and arresting ourselves on the glacier. There were a couple of other people who were doing the same thing. It was fun overall, but we wondered if we would have the presence of mind to execute the self-arrest if it did really happen in reality on the mountain. It requires a lot of concentration and placement of the ice axe to execute a good self-arrest.
After about an hour, we returned to the Barrel’s Hut and the rest of the day went by lazing around. We were mostly indoors in the hut as the weather outside deteriorated even further and became really chilly.
Lunch was pretty standard with the usual food. Dasha collect the funds for the snow cat for the next day. The fees was 1,000 euro for travel up to 5,100m. It would be 500 euro if we were to travel till the Pashtukov Rocks only. That is some serious money that the snow cat makes for difference of just 300m. Anyway, considering our stamina and not knowing how we were going to perform at higher altitude, our best bet was to get the snow cat to drop us off as high as possible.
By dinner time, around 7pm, we had a quick dinner. I did not eat much as i did not want to have any issues regarding toilets early in the morning. Since we were to wake up at 1.30am, and there will be no electricity, we had to sort out all the gears so that we could get ready with our lead lamps.
I wore two base layers and prepared my climbing bag. It contains a spare set of gloves, ice axe, trekking poles, first aid kit, water flask, some sweets and snacks for the trip up the mountain. The rest of the items that i needed to wear were the head scarf, beanies, down jacket, outer shell, mittens, gaiters, double boots, crampons and head lamps. I changed the batteries of the head lamp just to make sure that they were fully charged. I also had a spare set in my bag. All arranged and set in order so that i do not need to think the next morning when getting ready.
With everything ready, we went off to sleep. Luckily, i had a sound sleep that night, which was quite surprising as the night before the climb i do not normally get any sleep at all. The mood was of excitement as well as uneasiness. We all looked forward to getting this thing over with while at the same time not knowing what to expect.
We had watched a lot of videos online of the summit, but most of them were taken on the easier sections of the climb. What we were going to experience the next day will be something that we will always remember.