Kavkaz - Arrival, Trek to Schelda Glacier

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After four years of independent traveling I choose comfort of travel agency "CK Adventura" and with my girlfriend Petra (update after 1 year: my wife) bought a trip to Caucasus. Petra was the only women in 12 member's team (+ Czech 2 guides). She was a little bit nervous at the beginning but very fast adapted to the team :-).

We flew to Caucasus via St.Petersburg in northern Russia. We spent one day there to wait for connection to Mineralnye Vody. At the airport we changed money (100USD=2750 Rubles). The exchange rate doesnt differ to much so it is less hassle to change it immediately (in Mineralnye Vody is more difficult to change). We managed to see centre of the city. Hotel was below average (paid by Air Pulkovo, our airline). We used public transport: private minibuses (5R), "state" buses (2R) and metro (3R tokens).

Minerarlyje Vody welcomed us with real heat and disorder right after arrival in the hall (baggage was "find-it-yourself" from conteiners). In the front of the airport was a lot of taxi drivers offering transport to Terskol by Elbrus (40USD per car). The airport hall was realy worth to take a photo....

In a front of airport ordered bus was waiting for us. Part of the group went to town to change money and buy some supply. In the meantime our driver did a repair of bus gearbox! At 4 p.m. gearbox was assembled, remaining guys came and we started to drive toward the mountains.

We are in a subtropical climate and temperature confirms (approx 30 degree). The grass is everywhere dryed by heat to yellow. The road is quite O.K. and after 2,5 hour we entered Baksan valley. We bypassed the world's biggest molybden-wolframm mines. Surrounding hills beccoming higher and higher and in Elbrus village we turned left to Adyl-su valley with our base camp - locally "alplager" called "Elbrus". It is a nice surprise. Mountain cottage with bungalovs around. The latest disco hits from loudspeakers for teenagers occupying bungalovs makes place a bit noisy ...

Me and Petra, as the only couple, have the "suite" - big double bed, hot shower, balcony, ... real luxury which we did not expected. (The accomodation was included, normaly cost 5 USD/person probably if you are in a group). We are ordering brekfast and dinner in the local canteen (both 26 rubles). The food was also good, breakfast had even three courses!
Next day we are making aclimatisation trip to Schelda glacier. The path goes through meadows full of flowers to glacier moreine.

Than among rocks to the huge glacier wall. We continued further on a right side toward schelda rocky wall where glacier splits into two smaller ones. The surroundings were truly amaizing. Real high mountains scenery!

Venca and Ondra did some exploration of the glacier and his crevasses.

[ Continue(6-day trek through vallyes Adylsu and Adyrsu) ]

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2002 RG