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Climb Europe's highest mountain, Mt. Elbrus (18,481' / 5642m) !!! 20% off !!!!

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Notes of climbers about us.

Send email - alptour@online.ru

Steve Martin (USA)  falconridge@cowisp.net  February 10, 2008

 

Hello, Nikolai,

 

Well, it's been several months since we returned to Colorado after the great experiences we had with you and your guide Olga while we were in Russia.  It has just dawned on me that I never sent on to you the "testimonial" I had mentioned that I'd write for your Alptour website.  I've included it later in this e-mail.  Use all or as much of it as you'd like to.

 

We've been promoting you strongly here in Colorado, to members of the Colorado Mountain Club and to subscribers to 14erWorld.com, an organization of serious climbers, many of whom travel to various countries for climbs.  I'm certain that you'll get some future bookings from these promotions.  Carolyn Randall is still assembling her team for a late July 2008 climb of Mt. Elbrus.  She'll be contacting you during March to make arrangements with you, once she has her team in place.  Recall that Carolyn was originally to come with Paul, Kevin, and me last summer, but had a fall off her bike and broke her hip.

 

Here's the testimonial for you to use in whatever way you care to:

 

WOW! What a terrific experience, made so by the wonderful support and assistance provided by Nikolai Savin. We desired a non-guided climb of Mt. Elbrus, but needed all basic trip arrangement and ground support actions including visas, airport pickup and accommodations in Moscow, in-city transfers, all travel help between Mineralnye Vody and Terskol, hut reservations, food and cooking at the hut, and return to Moscow followed by a good tour of key locations in the city. Nikolai arranged and directed all this support in a highly professional fashion that made our entire trip seamless, highly enjoyable, and very successful! What impressed us most was Nikolai’s responsiveness and adaptability: when we initially made arrangements with Alptour we had five in our group. Two needed to drop out due to accident injuries or family health issues, well after Nikolai had made and paid for all ground and support reservations for five people. He quickly found ways to save money for the remaining three of us, going so far as to offer us to sleep in his Moscow flat and to spend one night in his personal quarters in Terskol.

Nikolai is extremely reliable in every respect, and is a good communicator–prompt, detailed; he uses excellent English. His knowledge of and experience on Mt. Elbrus are outstanding. Furthermore, he’s a fun person to be with, and Olga, one of his guides who picked us up at Moscow airports and gave us the tour of the city, is an absolutely delightful person. Nikolai and Olga made our trip very, very special! Thank you!! 

Jerome DaSilva - Canada. jeromejdasilva@yahoo.com

My trip with Nikolai was excellent. It was well organized and things seemed to go as planned except for a few minor hassels at the airport. This being said I was expecting more hassels. The Caucasus region was friendlier, and appeared safer than I had expected. Accommodations in Terskol were spartan, however it was very clean, and there was lots of food. There was no hot water, only luke warm. The acclimatization hikes we did were actually quite impressive. They were merely hikes, but the scenery and views were great. We went up Elbrus by way of the gondola, and while on the mountain stayed in huts. We did not stay in the barrels, but another hut a short distance away. This was great. It was quiet, relatively clean, and had great views. We also spent a night in the silver hut (or priut). I did not like this hut as much. It was stuffy, and not as clean. It was also quite loud with other climbers getting ready to go early in the morning. I did become quite ill from the altitude, and Nikolai was very experienced with the treatment (descent, descent. descent). He took me back down to the valley for a night, and afterwards we were able to make it to the summit with no problems. I cannot say enough good things about Nikolai. He is a very strong climber and guide with a wealth of climbing experience. He is also very cautious and conscientious. His English is great and he made excellent arrangements for us in terms of drivers and accommodations. I would recommend bringing some comfort food and snacks, as the food in Terskol was healthy and plentiful but "not like home". Communication in Terskol was difficult so let your family know that they might not here from you. Overall it was a great trip that exceeded all my expectations. I felt very safe and well guided with Nikolai, and the Caucasus Mountains were beautiful. Thanks Nikolai for taking me to the top of Europe.

 


 

James Wilde (USA) <jameswilde@web.de>

On Wednesday, April 30th, at 12:15 local time my guide Nikolai Savine and I reached the summit of Mount Elbrus (5642 meters) under blue skies and warm conditions for the area. The summit marked the second of the seven summits of the world for me and brought me great pleasure.

The trip was marked with varying weather conditions. Upon arrival, fresh snow 2 feet deep in the valley had caused power outages and we had to stay in darkness and without heat in our first night. Temperatures were -20 degrees Celcius and wind was blowing to 40 kilometers per hour on our first day on the mountain. We slept most of our nights above 3700 meters (above 11,000 feet) in the barrel huts. As we were part of the first groups of the season to arrive, the huts and kitchen required "digging out" from the winter snows. The trails which were created every day in the deep snow, were covered every night by snow in the windy conditions. Unlike Kilimanjaro, we had to carryin everything ourselves.

Luckily, the weather cleared on our third day, creating warmer conditions for our trek to the upper parts of the mountain. Radiation from the sun was high and the -20 degree temperatures up high (very mild for 17+K feet) were very bearable in the afternoon.

On the day before our summit attempt we moved the Priutt Refuge of 11 (an old hotel which had burned down 3 years ago) where we spent the night at 4200 meters. It was from this point that we started out trek to the summit the following morning at 4 AM.

The last to start and having not taken advantage of the snow cats which run up to 4700 meters, we were in for a long day. By 5:45 AM, we reached the Pashtukov Rocks where the other teams had been dropped by the snow cat taxi service. We were only 30 minutes behind the other teams at this point. In the cold, thin air at the rocks of Pashtukov, we had to put on our crampons for the ice fields and glacier areas which laid ahead.

As sun broke, we were still a good two hour hike to the traverse leading us to the flat traverse to the saddle (half way poit to the top). Nikolai, having warned me several times of our fast pace, insisted on the patience required to get us to the summit. If it were not for his instruction, I believe we would have had to turn around.

By 8:30 AM we reached the traverse which was not much of a respite. Nikolai yelled to me, "Mt Blanc is finished." He meant that the traditional peak of Europe which Western Europeans had recognized during the communist era was now below us. We still had 800 vertical meters to climb.

Two hours from the saddle between the east and west peaks of the two-headed volcano, we sat and had a drink of lemonade and tea. Very dehydrated and tired, I finished the last drops of liquids which I had brought with me, ate a chocolate bar, and we moved on. It was at this point where we overtook many of the teams that began before us. The traverse looked so easy and the distance to the saddle was easily underestimated as was the case most of the day. Sun, ice, and the constant glare made it difficult to judge distances.

At 10 AM, we finally reached the saddle, a traditional stopping place where climbers tend to sleep before making the final push to the top of Europe's highest mountain. The saddle, was littered with remnants of vomit, feces (diarrhea), urine and an old hut which did not stand the test of the harsh conditions. Most people who feel weak or suffer from the altitude tend to call this their summit though it still lies 400 meters below the peak.

With a short rest, we push up the steep, icy slopes of the West peak of Elbrus. Wind and cold conditions had shaped the snow into hard, breaking wave-like shapes, allowing for good places of purchase for our crampons. It seemed that we could see the summit. However, what we saw was a false peak. After 40 minutes, we reached this false peak and saw the actual peak "only 500 distance meters away, about 1600 feet." The last 500 meters of somewhat flat walking took us almost an hour to cover. The thin air enable us only to go at a moderate tempo, some would call it crawling.

At 12:15, we found ourselves on the last slope of 5 vertical meters where Nikolai was so kind as to give over the lead and take some of the most remarkable pictures I have seen, while I summited.

Elbrus sits above the Bahksan valley of the Caucasus between the Black and Caspian Seas. Though it is less than 20 KM (12 miles) from the border of Georgia, it is a very popular tourist spot for Russians, Austrians, and Germans. I encountered only the normal Russian problems while in the area (inconsistant opening hours, unreliable infrastructure and Spartan living arrangement when in the valley). Having expected this as a minimum, my expectations were exceeded. The comraderie, willingness to help, and flexibility which Nikolai provided made for a very comfortable trip when we were off the mountain. As well, his English is excellent and enjoys explaining mountaineering techniques, the history of the area, and the geology of the mountains surrounding. He has over 30 years of mountaineering experience and has climbed Elbrus over 50 times. I can recommend him highly as a guide in the Russian Mountains.

As an addendum to the trip, Nikolai helped me to organize a helicopter boarding trip. The helicopter was safe, the trip was exciting and successful and for Heli boarding standards, very inexpensive. Cost for 5 days, 6 runs per day with and internal costs within Russia (transfers, hotels, food etc runs about 2700 dollars). For those of you interested, I would love to return next February or March for the powder season

Egfried Miller (Austria) -E.Miller@lks.at  in German and English

Wir, eine Gruppe 5 österreichischer Bergsteiger, waren Anfang Mai 2003 im Kaukasus. Wir sind anfänglich in das Alpincamp Ullutau (Adyrsutal) gefahren, wo wir traumhafte Schneeverhältnisse vorfanden. Wir wurden dort sehr gut versorgt, ein eigenes Haus mit Ofen und Vollpension. Die Gegend hinterläßt einen gewaltigen alpinen Eindruck. Wir haben dort oben nur 2 andere Schibergsteiger gesehen, es ist sehr einsam. Weiters konnten wir uns im Adyrsutal bei aussergewöhnlich schönen Schitouren - unter anderen Gumachi und Mestiatau - gut auf den Elbrus vorbereiten.

Im Anschluss bestiegen wir mit Schi den Elbrus und fuhren direkt vom Gipfel mit Schi wieder ab zur "Silverhut" (ehemalige Prijut 11), wo wir von Nicolai wie immer bestens und viel zu ausreichend versorgt wurden.

Die Schneeverhältnisse in der Region waren sehr gut, wir konnten noch bis ins Tal abfahren.

Wir bekamen Nicolai von Bekannten empfohlen, und möchten und können uns dem völlig anschließen. Nicolai ist ein absolut ehrlicher, sehr zuvorkommender Mann. Er holte uns am Flughafen in Minvody ab, und organisierte genau den Plan, den wir vorher per Email vereinbart haben. Kleinere und größere Ändernungen (z.B. eine weitere Nacht im Hotel im Tal anstatt der vorbestellten Tonnen, Terminänderungen auf der Silverhut,...) waren nicht im geringsten die Rede wert, organisierte Internet, Email,... . Nicolai hat uns durch seine Umsicht und Freundlichkeit jeden Tag überrascht, er hat für uns am Elbrus gekocht und uns dabei bestens versorgt. Die Schitouren haben wir immer alleine gemacht, Nicolai hat uns dann immer schon mit Tee und Bier erwartet. Er hat sehr gute Kontakte im gesamten Elbrusgebiet, was die Sache sehr angenehm macht. Eine Reise ohne Führer können wir uns nicht vorstellen.

Wir danken Nicolai ausdrücklich für die wunderschöne Reise, und dass er uns am Ende noch persönlich seine Heimatstadt Moskau gezeigt hat - sehr empfehlenswert.

Wohin wir auch immer in Russland reisen werden, auch für eine Moskaureise, wir werden es mit Nicolai machen. In Österreich muss man einen so ehrlichen, netten Mensch wie Nicolai erst einmal finden. Vielen Dank.

Just for Nicolai, I translate it now for you that you know - I write it down shortend:

We are a group of 5 Skiingtourists from Austria, have been in Caucasus in Mai.First we were in Alpincamp Ullutau, best for skiing, best snow, lonely. We had an house with heating and have been fully served. Mountains made: Gumachi, Mestiatau. Than Elbrus with skis - going down with skis directly from the top. Best conditions. Nicolai waited and cooked for us in best way in Silverhut.

Snow was very good in whole Caucausus, also weather.

Nicolai was recommeded to us from friends.Nicolai is absolutly honest, a very friendly man, he organized the trip in perfect way, how we talked about in Email. The changes of reservation of the mountain huts have never been a problem - in Austria and Europe it would be a problem.

Nicolai cooked for us,and has been here for everything, brought informations, organized using the internet. Waited for us with tea and beer,... . He knows many peoples in caucasusregion, what is very important.

We thank Nicolai for the wonderful trip, at the end he showed us his hometown Moskau - very, very good - it is his city! Never visit Moskau without Nicolai.

If we come again to Russia, Moskau - we make it just with Nicolai, and really just with him.

In Austria it is not easy to find a man so friendly and honest as Nikolai. Thank you very much.

 

alptour@online.ru