On July 19, 2021, I was in Kazbegi. I went to Archie Giga’s place. Well, everything was as usual there. Hospitality, hospitality, “I have no customers, I have guests”, shashliks, khinkali, khachapuri, tomatoes, wine and a river of chacha. Barely fought back). Archie, thank you for everything!
On the 20th of July I met the team. Marina Balyuk, Vika Batorshina, Vladimir Melnik, Maxim Bogdanov. I liked them). And I was not mistaken.
Who’s the guide? Like who! Pavlo Krotiuk, interesting!
Pasha is a reliable, responsible, serious (aha-ha, who’ll believe it?), creative (Pasha, I’ll remember those river jumps on the precipice for a long time! And cracks! Especially that one, 1.5 m wide! ). And Pasha is kind and good food. We had a lot of food)))). Of course, we carried it by ourselves. But: “What do you want?” And here you have a sausage sliced into neat slices 7 cm thick, and cheese, and bread, and Snickers marsa, and maybe bulgur with stew? Or maybe some Kissel ???? Oooh!!! Thick kissel at 4,000 m – it’s fabulous!!!
Okay, I’m going the wrong way. I mean the hardships, the overcoming and clenched teeth.
On the 21st of July our program of climbing Kazbek began. We happily gave our heavy backpacks to the horses, and we ourselves remained with the storm backpacks. Vika Batorshina played a little music and to the strains of hi-ha-ha-ha we started hiking up.
We hike, talk, stop, take pictures, the grass is green, the views are gorgeous. So far, everything is very, very glamorous. If only on the way the waiters in butterflies were standing, and with trays, and on those trays wine glasses, and with kindzmarauli …., hold me seven!!!
Okay. There weren’t seven. There were five. And Pasha. And it seems to you at first, that he’s such a softy goody-goody. When you need it, he’ll kick your ass so hard.
We walked and walked and came to Altihat. It was a big hut at an altitude of 3000m. But we had our own tents. We put them, walked up and down on the acclimat, ate, what more do we need? We had to go to the wind.
Oto attraction unheard-of and unprecedented equilibrium, observation and luck. And it is not only in this place, it is everywhere on climbs and hikes.
By the way, it was on the first acclimatization that I saw that everything was serious. Did not feel yet, but saw. And rough rivers (we jumped over them. Pasha said: “Aaap” And tigers sat down at his feet). Rumbling waterfalls. And there is a huge glacier. I didn’t know that we would stomp on this glacier. That’s a lot of stuff. If mountains-rocks, then up to the sky. If the rivers, then bubbling and bubbling. If waterfalls, then megatons of water fly down all the time.
We came back, ate, went to bed.
Day one was over.
I came up with the name of the review, and now I’m thinking, “How can I explain it without naming it? As in the children’s game “Yes / no say, black / white do not offer. Because what if the magic power of a great amulet will be lost?
Back in Kazbegi, Pasha told me a mysterious story that British scientists had recently found out (just give them money and they will find out anything) that if climbers have…er…red underwear, then everything will be fine with the weather. My eyes went round at once from such a mystical coincidence, and I showed Pasha a piece of my underwear, quietly, a little piece. And Pasha immediately realized that trou… oops, my underwear is red! And he has red!!!
Immediately I cut off the question, “What were you doing there???” We were getting ready!!!! We need to be ready in all directions. We have equipment, we have strength, food, this and that, but the energy is just covered the back, or rather, ass…
And immediately answering the question, “And how was the weather?” – The weather we had was just the opposite of the weather forecast. If the forecast said rain – it didn’t rain. If it rained with a thunderstorm – no rain, no thunderstorm. It was sunny and quiet. Believe it or not. Only on the storm the wind was really very strong, 50 km/h, but… I’ll tell you about it later.
So you can draw conclusions about the influence of magic amulets.
On July 22 we woke up briskly in tents at 3000m and started to gather. It rained, yes, but that’s because I briefly lost faith in the amulet, for which I was punished (to get wet in the rain – not cool). And the team oooh very insistently asked to believe in the amulet again.
Assembled, went. Weed, stones, rocks, stones. Yesterday we did the exercise of jumping over turbulent streams. You know, it’s invigorating. Very invigorating. Stretching is not bad at all. Everybody was jumping like bunnies, or rather, like fallow deer. Such grace, you know, mountain. Eyes, too, like those of a doe. Big, dark and wet.
We reached the glacier. A huge field, not horizontal, even a little vertical. Ice with ice and mud. You take a couple of steps and immediately begin to love these pieces of mud. Because your feet don’t slip on it. And on ice, you’re like a cow on ice. Let’s go, let’s go slowly. And the glacier is flowing hard. One could even say it is flowing. I say to Pasha: “And we’ll go back through this glacier? And how? How can we go across the glacier? The mud will wash away”. Pasha: “Everything will be okay.”
And I’m trusting! I trust people! Especially my dear guide.
Water from all sides. Rain on top, ice on the bottom. We could have a physics lesson: “Aggregate states of water. Practical exercises.” Good thing there was no steam. Although I was hot under the raincoat, and there was a little steam.
We came to the meteorological station. 3650м. What is a weather station? It looks like a shelter for suffering mountain hobos, who are glad to have a roof over their heads, where they can dry off, get a little warm and sleep overnight. In terms of prices, it’s a Hilton. Luxury and spa and resort and palace and fuck-all. There’s a bunch of tents near the weather station, so there’s a lot of people in the neighborhood.
We’re the cool kids. We got a room. Figured we’d stay in one. Not because it’s expensive. But because we all feel great together, we just can’t live without each other.
Room. 6 sq.m. Bunk beds. In front of them a square, where we piled … Stacked neatly. One outlet. One light bulb. Room style – loft after the fire and flood. 120 bucks a night.
There is also a shared resto…dining room. No water. Toilet outside, of course. Walk back and forth to the toilet – shortness of breath. On all the mountains we walk – no shortness of breath. To the bathroom on the weather – there is shortness of breath.
But if it seems that I am somehow sarcastic about the weather station, it is not so. We were very happy that there was such a wonderful station. And that there is a free room!!! There might not have been(. Dry, warm, flat under the back. What more do you need! And the people there hang out very cool. All charged, all just talking about saturation, wind, rain, weather window, knots, bundles, etc.
We left some things behind and went to acclimatize. And not just simply, but with tents. Rocks, rocks, rocks again. Up on rocks, down on rocks, sideways on rocks, a break on rocks.
We met Kostya!!! Rejoiced!!! Pasha and Kostya are my guides from Elbrus. It is so unusual, when somewhere very far away at one time in one place meet people who are somehow connected in the past….
We reached 4100m. We pitched our tents. Pasha had a training session. A bunch of crampons. Cracks in the ice… It was funny. Exactly till the moment when Pasha led us to the crack of 1-1,5 m. Pasha offered the tigers “Aapp” again. But the tigers said: “Pasha, are you serious?!!!” . And Pasha jumped. And then he jumped back. So it’s kind of possible. Okay, Pasha, next time I’ll try!
And then we saw the moon. Practically full. And it’s inexpressible. Here’s the wow-wow. Too bad there wasn’t much time to enjoy the silence and the view. And so I wanted to hang out, just look and be silent…
We went back to the weather in the dark. We got there all right. We ate. We went to bed.
By the way, my saturation was good all day.
July 23. So nice to wake up in a warm and dry room! From the upper bunk we had a great view of the glacier. Lying there like on the top shelf in a train compartment you can look out the window. The sun is shining (amulet works), birds are flying, you are not in a hurry anywhere. No fuss in your head!
That’s us. And Pasha has been monitoring the weather forecast for two days. And we have a good weather window for July 28. But on July 28th Max and Vova have to leave! And Pasha is conjuring. And we know about the amulet. And the conversation is as follows: “There is a variant to go on an assault on July, 24. But according to the forecast there is a thunder-storm below, and wind 50 km/h at the summit. And acclimatization is not enough. How do you feel? Are we going?” – Fine!!! Let’s go!!!
We gather slowly, have breakfast. In decent restaurants, the chef offers a compliment to the guests – something nice to be remembered. We are in a very decent hotel and restaurant. A compliment from Chef-Guide Pasha – a liter of Rehydration Drink per person! Oooh, that unforgettable taste of Rehydration Drinker!!! )))) Did you drink warm sea water? And a liter of warm sea water? It’s memorable for a long time!
That’s it, goodbye Hilton. aka weather station, and let’s go.
Again, rocks, rocks, rocks.
We came to our camp. By the way, Max Bogdanov reminded me how we pitched our tents. The first one quickly and without wrestling. And with the second one we had to play a little. The guys worked with bulldozers and surveyors, enlarging the site. They took out the excessive ground from the slope and made it more even. Everything turned out great. Our tent was the size of a tent. The six of us got together there later for a meal and just to hang out, chat. It’s so great when you feel at ease with those with whom you eat, drink, sleep, walk, and get tired 24 hours a day. It’s so important to be at ease with the team and feel supported. We had it that way.))
We went to bed early because we got up at 2 am.
And then time X. We got up at 2, went out at 4.10. Well, we were going long, well, yes. Assault backpacks, flashlights, glasses, cream, thermos, iron, cats and TDS. Vika with the hare. Hare since recently always goes with her on climbs.
Binder, ice axe, 1 trekking stick. We go. Passed all the cracks. When it was dark, it was good – it was not cold and there was no wind (amulet?)). The sun rose and there was a breeze. Let’s go. The wind was getting stronger and stronger. At some point I decided that it was time to put the top on. I put them on and immediately realized that I can’t feel my thumbs pads. Damn!!! Immediately began to crush, squeeze, twist, first on one, then the other hand. Until I felt the pads coming off, recovering.
Then it got harder. The wind. But it was bearable. And here we are on the cofferdam. Aaaaaaaaah!!! That’s where you just clench your teeth on… on… on… something!! It’s almost unreal to get up. Almost). And immediately it is clear, the bundle is life. Sticks left, further only with ice axes. The last wall. Here we almost crawled. One step at a time, one small step at a time. You could not even look up, whether the guys were advancing or not. You only look at the rope. The rope jerked – you jerked at 50 centimeters. It was very difficult to reach the ice-axe – 10 centimeters of ice balls, and then there was just ice or very pressed snow. Yelling something is useless. Even the person closest to you can’t hear anything. But if Pasha is going forward, it means everything is under control, everything according to plan.) There are only two thoughts in my head: “How will we go back? It’s harder to go back!!!” And pictures. I want beautiful pictures on top!!! Clouds back and forth, then find the top, then leave. But I’m with the amulet, I’m to the left! Sunshine! I want sunshine on top!
Yahhhh!!!! There is a top!!! At 9.50!!! This is such a feeling of happiness!!! It wow-wow-wow-wow-wow!!! We were there hugging, laughing, congratulating each other. We took pictures, of course. We thanked Kazbek and treated him to a good kindzmarauli – it’s a tradition. For having let us in. He tested our strength a little, but he let us in. He showed us his beauty. And we ask him to let us go. Sunshine? It’s there! No clouds! The wind is weaker than at the jumper. It’s beautiful! You’re above the clouds, above the mountains! Aah!!!
Behind us climbed a pair – a man and a woman from Magnitogorsk, they went up from the Russian side. And then started a bunch of Andrey Nikitenko. This is a separate story. This cyborg climbed Kazbek before us, alone. Then we met – we went up, he went down. And then, much lower than us, he picked up the guys who had remained without a guide and led them to the top. He went up again!!! Cyborg)).
And the descent was much easier. Either the wind became quieter, or something else, but it was easier for me to go down. Snow and snow. Those who go on boards and skis would understand.
We came down tired, of course. But happy))))). There were also small adventures. Marina, remember “sryryvyv”?
We came to the camp, and we have guests. About 5 tents, Kazakhs. They still with hope for the top, and we already with the top)))))))))).
The next day we gathered and went to the weather. There we gave a part of our luggage back to the horses. Further on we went down briskly. Exactly to the glacier)))). Remember, I asked Pavel how we will go down. Well, here we are, here we are. Skating rink. Crooked, sloping, with cracks, but skating rink. And a little bit vertical! And no mud!
How did we get down it!!!! Two hours of total concentration, my brain, hands and feet were working in high tension mode. But we went down). We went with Pasha!) And then it turned out that the river is not just clogging, and raging. And in the place where we jumped and it was scary, now what the hell is going on. And we had to jump. And we jumped!))
That’s it, next green, grass, Altihat, down, down, down.
On the asphalt I could not believe that there are flat surfaces. That was it. It’s only been five days and so much has happened. Sometimes 5 days fly by and there’s nothing to remember that touched your soul. And these five days I will remember for the rest of my life. There is definitely something to remember).