07/04/03 - 07/16/03
Moscow- We stayed in the Hotel Russiya (largest hotel in Europe), right next to Red Square. The buildings in Moscow are all enormous, old, and beautiful. A lot of time spent hanging out in Red Square, walking around to see the sights, and even a bus tour of the local touristy favorites with a history lesson.
Elbrus Valley- The starting ground for most trips up the mountain. Around 7000ft and several valleys to hike around leading to glaciers and spectacular views of the high peaks all around. We stayed in a Dacha where the vodka is cheap and Usef the bartender played Dire Straits over and over for us. A few interesting encounters with the locals here!
Mt Elbrus- The pinnacle of our trip, the mountain! An extinct double-coned volcano standing tall at 18,510ft. We took the gondola and shady single-chairlifts up to around 12,000ft where we would make home for the next several days. The weather was...interesting, full on blizzard the first day and beautiful the next couple for our summit attempt.
Since a week and a half wasn't quite enough vacation and friends are stationed in nearby Germany, I met up with them for a handful of days in Grindelwald Switzerland....