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ELBRUS RACE (5642 m ), September 2005

Under the patronage of Elbrus region Administration and Saint Petersburg Administration.


Press release

September, 20, 2005.

Saint Peterburg

In the Soviet period speed ascent competitions on Elbrus slopes - from "Mir" station till Garabashi station and from Priut 11 till the col - were the part of training program of members of the first soviet Himalaya expeditions (1982, 1989). Elbrus was well-known for all seriuos Soviet mountaineers, the mount's location was very comfortable and it's height was enough for the race. It was cosidered as a prestisious action - to take part in those races, and the strongest USSR climbers had competed there.

Now Mt. Elbrus is in the focus on Caucasus. Mountaineers from any part of the World try to summit Elbrus all year around. The Mount is now the object of the International program "7 Summits" (climbing the highest tops of all continents). Elbrus is especially lucky nowdays - in spite it's the part of Caucasus, one can reach it's bottom without special frontier guard's permit, the way along Baksan valley is comfortable and safe. Hotels in Terskol, "Bochki", Priut 11 and the new modern hut some meters higher than Priut - do Elbrus climbs more and more comfortable, and from day to day a lot of groups go to their dream - Elbrus tops. But, exept some events - all of these climbs are of "tourist class". But 15-20 years ago those slopes were the place for serious mountaineers ambitions battles!

Vladimir Balyberdin was the first who had understood the annual Elbrus speed climb Championship perspectives. In 1987 he organized there the first Fall Elbrus Race - from Priut 11 till the col. September wasn't the accidental choose - it's the best season here. There's no ice on the route usually in September, and the whole way to the tops is more safe than in other seasons. Next races were in 1988 and 1989. Anatoly Boukreev is a legend of that Races - he won in 1989 - and his result was 1 hour 47 min (Priut 11 - East top).

Taking into consideration the increase of the popularity of extreme sport and mountaineers quantity in Russia and CIS last years, the accomodation convenience in Elbrus region, the experience in organization of sport events and experienced mountain guides, we decided to reborn the tradition of speed climb competitions to the highest Europe point. and Top Sport Travel (Outdoor company, led by Shoustrov brothers - Nickolay and Alexey (Masters of Sports in mountaineering, members of Balyberdin's Elbrus Races) managed to organize Elbrus Race this Fall - from "Bochki" (Garabashi) till West top (5642 m).

The Race took place September, 15, 2005.

Detailed weather forecast the week before the start showed that in the race day the weather'll be fine, with weak wind.

September, 14 was the qualification start (12 athletes were registered).

September, 15 at 3-30 a.m. the weather on Elbrus was wonderful! The clear sky was covered by stars, it's warm enough and about no wind. If it's an ideal place and time for each event, this time was such for the Elbrus Race. Serguey Bogomolov and Valentin Bazhukov - veterans, who remember better Elbrus ages, greeted competitors and organizers of the Race, said some words about the important and perspective role of such event. Russian mountaineering as Sport is not so strong last years as in former USSR, and such races may become the stimulus for sport ambitions.

At 4 a.m. Top Sport Travel guides team (time and safe route control), with warm clothes, tents, stoves, hot tea, headlights, medical kits, boots for atletes - for the descent, some climbing gear, video- and photo cameras and so on... - started by Snow Cat and went till Pastukhova rocks, anf further reached their positions at the route.

At 7 a.m. competitors started from Garabashi ("Bochki"). The start signal was announced by the famous Russian cllimber Valentin Bazhukov.

Caucasus demonstrated all it's beauty that morning on sunrise - in clear air one could find all peaks, as in Geographic atlas - from Tjutju Su till Nakra - Dzhailyk, Adyr Su, Ullu Tau, Koshtan Tau, Dych Tau, Chatyn, Bzheduh, Shelda, Ushba - all high 5000-m peaks and not so high lies around - the great panorama without any clouds.

The route was good. For the beginning - the Snow Cat track till Pastukhova rocks (4800 m). Athletes could run without crampons, in cross shoes. Further, the traverse trek on East top slope till the col was also good. But there was cold already .

Mikhail Osipov (born in 1979, lives in Prokhladny town) was the first who reached the West top of Elbrus - his time was 4 hours 10 min. Vladimir Yakimov (born in 1956, lives in Sosnovy Bor town) went just after him till the col. But he felt bad there. Got the first aid, he decided to turn back and began to descent guided by Alexey Tjurin. Two women - Vera Ponarovskaya (born in 1957, Prokhladny town) and Vilena Korzhuk (born 1970, Rovenjki town) at the traverse turned back and helped Vladimir too. Guides called for Snow Cat, which arrived to Pastukhova rocks, and soon the group was at Garabashi - thanks to the Head of Elbrus region rescue service Boris Tilov. Vladimir was fine soon.

After Vladimir Kuznetsov (born 1956, Samra) reached the top, all competitors and guides descended to "Bochki", where Race' members were awarded by certificates and prizes from organizers and sponsors ( RED FOX, OUTDOOR -CENTER TRAMONTANA, EX magazine). The Winner of the first oficial Elbrus West Race Mikhail Osipov was awarded by Cup. All members of 2005 Race can run in 2006 Race without qualification start.

Guides team worked well. Time and safe control at the route was managed by Oleg Demidenko, Alexey Tjurin, Dmitry Drachev and Alexey Gorbatenkov. All of them are the experienced mountain guides, who climbed Elbrus many times and guide a lot of groups there every year. Medical control before and during the race was provided by specialists from Center of athletes's health searsh (Sochi).

Elbrus Race will be the annual event, beginning from 2005, in the middle of September.

Application form for 2006 Elbrus Race will be published in special Internet site soon. We invite climbers, skiers and other athletes from any countries take part in Elbrus Race 2006, and suggest to National and Regional Mountaineering Federations to think about preparing athletes (teams) from their states (cities, regions) for the competition.

Organizers, in their turn, will do their best for Elbrus Race-2006 would be more comfortable and safe, and begin now to cooperate with sponsors for forming the prise fund in the different nominations.

We're very pleased for the Race's support for sponsors RED FOX, OUTDOOR-CENTER Tramontana companies, Ex magazine, and also Elbrus region Administration and Saint Petersburg Administration, "Bochki" hotel administration, Elbrus region Rescue Service, and Sochi Medical Centre. We invite the interested organizations to take part in next Elbrus Race in September 2006.

September, 15. Morning .

September, 14. Qualification start.

Vladimir Yakimov. Medical control in evening before stert

Vera Ponarovskaya

Vladimir Kuznetsov's finish

Vladimir Yakimov near the col

Vilena Korzhuk

Guides are going to the col

Guides's tent at the col

The Winner (left) at West Elbrus top. Near him - guide Alexey Gorbatenkov

Mikhail Osipov near the col

Mikhail Osipov - not far rfom finish.

Mikhail Osipov - the last meters.

The cup.

Septmber, 12. Ushba top

Guides were thinking very intensively about competitor's health...

September, 15. Ushba top.

Moon on "Bochki"

Mikhail Osipov near the top

September, 15. Sunrise.

Top Sport Travel guides

See you soon, Elbrus!

Valentin Bazhukov

Serguey Bogomolov

Organizers team

Alexey Shoustrov

Elena Laletina

Dmitry Drachev

Oleg Demidenko

Alexey Tjurin

Alexey Gorbatenkov





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