UPDATE: March 2020
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak Phase 1 has been postponed till it’s safe to travel again.
In 2020-21, I will be taking some major steps towards Phase 1 of my adventurous mountaineering dream and also raise awareness about mental health. I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Elbrus. Both of them are part of phase one of my Seven Summits dream. I will share all about my journey, challenges I face and planning that went on behind the scenes etc. If you want to summit either of these mountains or are interested in learning more about high-altitude trekking then you should subscribe to get updates on future posts. I hope my experience will be useful to those who are thinking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Elbrus.
I will go to Nepal in May and trek to Everest Base camp. It’s an incredible journey of 15 to 18 days. I’ll write in detail about the adventurous journey. If this interests you then let me tell you that many interesting Himalayan blogs from past expeditions are lined up too.
Phase 1 of “The Project”
In June and July 2020 I’ll attempt Mt. Elbrus in Russia and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Elbrus is an expensive affair. Read below to know the mountains.
It’s the Russian Caucasus that’s the residence of Europe’s highest mountain, Elbrus. At 5642m / 18,510 ft, Elbrus and its double-coned volcano is also a certified member of the ‘seven summits ’ – the highest point on each continent – and is coveted by mountaineers all over the world. I have been dreaming about this climb since 2015.
Terrain: Snowfields of blinding white where one ascends step by step, permitting climbers to see far and extensively. The snow might be deep and soft or, in peak season, firm and crunchy beneath your foot. In a single section, climbers should use fastened ropes. The gradient is steeper with a vertiginous drop to the basin under. I’ll hire a skilled guiding firm to assist with the route.
The summit night on Mount Elbrus is difficult as you begin from the huts at 3,900m and hike to the top and come down after the summit. You’d be climbing up to 1,742m of ascent into extreme altitude above 5,500m. It might take as much as 9 hours to achieve the summit and in variable climate circumstances, you push safety limits to the utmost. When you attain the summit, you then need to return to the Huts at 3,900m. That is an extra 4 / 5 hours of trekking downhill. You’ll be walking for 12 / 14 hours with no sleep. That is exhausting regardless of how fit you might be.
The climate on Elbrus might be harsh and unpredictable. At one moment you are sweating under the sun and a little while later you are putting layers on to fight the cold. Already icy temperatures usually drop to well under freezing, significantly at night.
Here are the tentative dates for summit window that I have come up after much research on the weather patterns:
20 – 30 June for South, North, Traverse.
All July – for South, North, Traverse.
1 – 15 August – for South, North, Traverse.
1 – 15 September – for South, North, Traverse.
15 – 30 September and October – for South.
As I would like to do a traverse on Mt. Elbrus, so July suits me the best.
Mt. Kilimanjaro ( 5896m / 19,340 feet ) is the highest peak in Africa. It’s also a certified member of the ‘seven summits ’. What makes Mount Kilimanjaro distinctive is that regardless of its proximity to the equator, it’s topped with ice. The glaciers have existed for greater than 11,000 years. They were greater than 300 ft (100 m) deep and prolonged 6,500 ft (2,000 m) from the mountain summit. Nevertheless, as a result of climate change, the ice has been vaporizing at an alarming pace. Some scientists estimate that Mount Kilimanjaro’s ice cap can vanish by 2050. Only time till tell is they are right or wrong. I for one want to climb it as soon as possible.
One can climb mount Kilimanjaro all around the year, nonetheless, it’s best to climb when there’s a lower risk of precipitation. The dry seasons are from the start of December to the beginning of March, and from late June to October. I’m considering late June or July for this climb.
An attainable add-on to above climbs is to climb Mt. Dykh-Tau together with Mt Elbrus and Mt. Kenya together with Mt. Kilimanjaro. Dykh Tau ( 5,205 m / 17,077 ft ) is on the checklist of the Second Seven Summits. That’s an alternate checklist to the well-known and further widespread Seven Summits quest. This checklist consists of the second-highest mountain peaks on every continent and is taken into account harder and troublesome than the usual guidelines as a result of it consists of ascents of K2, Mount Kenya and Dykh Tau, three climbs which may be extra sturdy than the easiest peaks on the continents.
Mt. Dykh Tau
Though elevation is much less, technical climbing expertise is required to summit Dykh Tau than for Elbrus, making it a tougher climb than the very best mountain of Europe. Amongst 10 climbing routes to the summit, not one is less complicated than 4A by the climbing classification. Nevertheless, the true hazard is the excessive risk of avalanches. This makes it an enormous and exciting problem as there is no such thing as a straightforward path to the summit. The most secure interval to climb is from July to September. I believe it is an excellent thought to climb it after Elbrus with good acclimatization. So August suits me the best. I’ll take a call primarily based on the funds raised for Phase one.
Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa and stands significantly unjustly within the shadow of it is neighbour Kilimanjaro, which lies some three hundred km away and is seen on a clear day. Kilimanjaro might even see way more guests – because of the potential for the summit through various non-technical trekking routes. On account of typically uncertain honour of being one among many Seven Summits – nonetheless, Mount Kenya affords a wealth of great and quite a few climbing prospects on a rock, snow and ice.
The principal summits are the twins Batian and Nelion, and these can solely be reached by way of technical climbing by way of quite a lot of rock or ice routes. The third highest peak, Level Lenana ( 4985m / 16355 ft ), is a well-liked vacation spot for trekking events. It is most secure to climb Mt. Kenya throughout the dry seasons: January – February and August to September offer essentially the most reliable climate. The principal routes are prone to be extra crowded.
So, what is the best way to train for these climbs?
The truth is it’s on you. Everyone’s body is different. What might be easy for some could be hard for me.
In the end, it comes to experience at high altitude, body conditioning over the years, acclimatization – how effectively our body adapts to the dearth of oxygen.
Three important factors I concentrate on are having the most effective acclimatization for my climbs, physical mental endurance.
For optimum chances of success, I’ll visit Leh to acclimatize by staying for a few nights above 5000m.
I will camp at Manokarma for 2-3 nights before taking on any of these climbs.
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Peace, Love and Freedom is all that we need.