Conversation during trip to the mountain included that 3 days prior, two people struck by lightning, man died.
There is no forgiveness in the mountains. Severe weather roles in at any moment which compromises safety, health, and life. There are not good areas of natural protection on this mountain. For the most part, Mount Elbrus is simply a huge stout mountain with two elevated peaks. Western Peak reaching 18,510 feet (5642 meters) and Eastern Peak 18,442 feet (5621 meters).
May 2017 experienced climbers, woman slipped and slid into rock to her death. The husband carried his wife down in his arms to be buried. Approximately 25 deaths per year occur on Mount Elbrus. This is a place that weather, altitude, and accidents can lead to dangerous situations very quickly.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
The people here are tough, mostly Russians on holiday with an occasional adventure seeker from a nearby country and an intermittent visit from someone in pursuit of the elite Seven Summits club.
I found myself impressed with the level of inherent strength, drive, and character of each person whom I have encountered. There are strong traits of generosity and the spirit of a servants heart. I have been blessed to meet these folks on the mountain and have an opportunity to share.
Mount Elbrus was not enough. I strongly felt compelled to summit both peaks. Our team had a 100% success rate for Mount Elbrus. This was composed of three groups, which was lead by our Team Alpha. Upon decent to second summit only two candidates qualified for climb. Kirill from Russia and myself. Kirill initially passed on second ascent due to a friend not qualifying. I was in awe, this is Kirill’s second time to Mount Elbrus. The first trip was not successful. He finished first summit strong and was ready for the second challenge. Kirill simply put someone else before him. This speaks highly of his character. I attempted to share some words of encouragement with him to join second summit, but he opted out. The team descending had 5 others and two guides, they were in good hands. We will just say Kirill had a spontaneous prodding to turn around and join Team Omega – now the three of us headed up for the second summit. 100% success rate on second summit. However, we were only people on mountain to attempt dual summit.
The second summit was much steeper and had mixed surface to climb. Well covered in purpose, this was only a matter of placing one foot in front of the other.
The descent from second summit was steep and sketchy. However we safely made our way down to meet up with part of our initial team . We waited with them for awhile so they could catch a ride down on snowmobile’s.
As team Omega headed down the mountain on foot, we had a great amount of time to talk and reflect. We were headed down from an expedition called the “cross” – up mountain to peak 1 across to peak 2 and back down. We arrived base camp, the “work” has been completed. How appropriate! “And he said to me, “It is done! I am
the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Revelation 21:6-7 ESV
During my time in this region, I have be honored to meet and start relationships with people from Russia, Brazil, Austria, Poland, and Norway.