Elbrus Speed Climb 2009

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Semen Dvornichenko, a participant in the 2007 race. Photo by O. Checkulaeva / elbrusrace.ru

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A Speed Climbing Competition on Russia's Mt. Elbrus (5,642 meters) will be held on September 9th, 2009Elbrus, the highest peak of Russia and Europe, is a well-known peak of the Caucasus. Its white-snow double-headed peak is beautiful not only as a geographical object, but also as a symbol of the high achievements, grand size, crystal pureness and triumph of its conquerors. Elbrus is located in 12 km from the Main Caucasus Ridge. A high-quality road enables you to get to the foot of the mountain from Mineralnyje Vody Airport, Pjatogorsk and the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, Nalchik. The regular shape of the volcanic cone and slopes, which are covered with glaciers over 300m high, form a sort of a mountain stadium. The speed climbing path follows the classical route: Azau clearing – Bochki – Pastukhov’s Rocks – Sedlo – Western Elbrus. During the high days of the Soviet climbing school, the alumnae of which still get the world astonished by their high results in climbing, Elbrus speed climbing competitions were held very frequently and were the elimination competitions for those who wanted to take part in serious expeditions to the Himalayas. In the post-Soviet era Elbrus is visited by a great number of groups of climbers and tourists, both independent and supervised by professional guides, but its opportunities as a mountain for serious sports events are used insufficiently. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world the highlands become more and more popular as a place for speed climbing, but with the routes with smaller altitude change, and thousands of sportsmen take part in the competitions (for example, climbing to Nonblank, , Mount Rainer, Ungfrau etc.). In September 2005 TOP SPORT TRAVEL and Information Server for Climbers WWW.RUSSIANCLIMB.COM decided to revive the tradition, which existed before the 90s, Elbrus speed climbing competitions. The pilot event was successfully held on September, 15 2005. Now these competitions are held annually. TOP SPORT TRAVEL (WWW.SLOPE.RU) (St-Petersburg) is a company, which has 13 years of successful experience in organizing extreme journeys, mountain expeditions, ascensions in many mountain areas of the world, including dozens of annual Elbrus ascensions, water, horse, ski and other types of expeditions, mountain skiing tours, special tours for children and families. The company is headed by Nicolas Shustov, Master of Sports in mountaineering, a participant of Elbrus speed climbing at the beginning of 90s (his record for the route ‘Priut 11 – the Eastern Peak’ was 2 h 12 min , the best time was obtained by a mountaineer from Kazakhstan, Anatoliy Bukreev, 1 h 47 min), Camel Trophy -93 participant. Information Server for Climbers WWW.RUSSIANCLIMB.COM is a special web-site in English and Russian, which is well-known in many countries and publishes everyday news about the main events of the climbing world, expedition reports, biographies of famous mountaineers, stories, historical surveys and an extensive archive of photos of the mountain areas in the whole world. It provides the information support for the majority of the leading climbing projects in the CIS. The competitions are purposely held in September. According to the multi-year statistics, the weather at that time in Elbrus Region is good and steady, and there should be no be no extensive ice section on the route. For the majority of people a simple climbing to Elbrus by a classical route is a dream, which is not so easy to come true, because in order to climb this not easy and sometimes severe peak, besides for a good physical training one should acquire strong mountaineering skills. The competition among the strongest sportsmen in the high mountains, fight for the fastest covering the route from the foot of the mountain – Azau clearing (2400 m) – Western Peak (5642 m) is unique and challenging, because nobody in Europe arranges speed climbing competitions with the altitude drop for more than 3000 m. Such fighting will become a great challenge for the participants, as a usual climbing to the peak from Bochki hut, located at 3700m in average takes 7-8 hours, so the competitors have to cover the route from the foot to the peak practically running.

Outdoor company BASK and Anatoli Bukreev memorial fund supported V Elbrus Race! We are happy to say that company BASK confirmed its General Sponsorship of V International Elbrus Race ! Even in our difficult times, they found the opportunity to support our a bit crazy competition with money and prizes. The event's organizers are very grateful for BASK's help! We are happy to inform as well that we have got a new partner from USA for the Race: The Anatoli Boukreev Memorial Fund gave us $1000 as prize for winners of Elbrus Race 2009! Elbrus Races continues the tradition of races, founded by the legendary climber Vladimir Balyberdin. Champion of the race was Anatoly Bukreev — on the route Refuge 11 — East Peak, he fixed a time 1 hour 47 minutes. One of the participants — American Kevin Cooney — was the second of a race 1990 (in the next report we will tell more about «balyberdin» race, and show the old photos from our archive) This spring Kevin introduced Elbrus Races to Anatoly Bukreev International Fund and they decided to support our competition. It is a great honor to the organizers! In addition to its other achievements, Anatoly Bukreev made a lot of excellent high-speed ascent. He won first place in the preliminaries to the second Himalayan expedition climbing in the USSR at the peak of Communism, the Pamirs climbing from a height of 6700 to 7400 m-1 hour 25 minutes. Moreover, in his background:1987 First high-speed ascent on the section of Lenin (base-apex-base), 14 hours 1990 May Dehn, 6193 m, the first solo speed ascent on the West edge, 10.5 hours 1994, May 15, Makalu, 8,476 meters high-speed ascension 46 hours. 1995, October 8, Dhaulagiri, 8176 m, 17 hours and 15 minutes. 1996 May 17, Lhotsze, 8505 m. solo speed climb 21 hours 16 minutes 1997 July 14, Gasherbrum II 8035 meters. Solo climbing speed, ABC (5800 m) — peak of 9 hours and 30 minutes. Kevin Cooney, on behalf of The Anatoli Boukreev Memorial Fund wishes to all participants of the competition, health and the best results!

For more information visit: elbrusspeedclimb.com