The packing..

31st May 2014
I spent the past couple of weeks training hard, getting the last bits of equipment and gear and watching every single climbing video of Mt. Elbrus North side on youtube.
Yet I know that nothing can quite prepare me for the harsh weather, altitude and the long days of pushing higher and higher on Europe's tallest mountain in the Caucasus Range.

It's been 2 years since I was at altitude in the Nepal Himalayas and although Mount Elbrus rises "only" 5,642m (18,510ft) above the sea level, it is the deadliest mountain of the 7 summits. As many as 30 people die there every year due to altitude sickness and effect of the the extreme cold, many poorly trained individuals get into trouble for these reasons.

Excitement has turned into nervousness; am I going to be able to capture the raw beauty of the mountain? Will I make it to the top and back? Are my legs going to carry me all the way? Am I mentally prepared?

I had to choose the mountaineering equipment rather carefully.. Nowadays there is a large variety of ice picks, trekking poles, clothing items available but for me weight was always going to be an issue as I'll be carrying DSLR cameras etc so I decided to pick the lightest yet toughest ones possible:
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles
Black Diamond Venom Adze Ice Axe
Grivel G12 crampons

To protect my eyes from the strong sun and snow blindness, I'm taking the Julbo Revolution Zebra googles and the Julbo Trek glacier sunglasses.


I've got a pair of Salomon trail running shoes for traveling Salomon Quest for lower altitude trekking and the Scarpa Phantom Guide for technical and icy terrain.

As per camera gear, I am taking my Nikon D800 with the 24-70mm f2.8 & 10.5mm f2.8 super wide angle lens. I'll also have the bombproof Panasonic Lumix DMC FT5 and a GOPRO Hero 3+ to take photos and videos during the expedition.

Along with the -20C Mountain Equipment Snowline down sleeping bag I'm taking a self- inflatable matt for extra cushioning and protection against the cold at night.

Most of the gear is brand new and hasn't been tested by me but I fully trust the brands and the feedback from other climbers. Look forward to reporting back with my personal feedback! ;-)