Луганський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка

Climbing Mount Elbrus

The master student of Luhansk Taras Shevchenko National University Konstantin Pavlenko climbed the Mount Elbrus.

On the night of the 5th to the 6th May, the master student of the Faculty of Natural Sciences “Earth Science” conquered the western peak of Elbrus (5642 m.) – stratovolcano in the Caucasus and the highest mountain peak in Europe, included in the list of the highest peaks of the planet “Seven peaks “.

Konstantin told us about how was the climbing and what had to be experienced during the ascent to the altitude.

  • Kostya, recently you managed to climb the western peak of Elbrus, and this is a height of 5642 meters. How did the idea come to conquer this height?

Why do people go to the mountains? It seems to be a simple question, but for some reason an unambiguous answer will never be heard. Maybe because there is no universal, correct answer? Everyone who goes to the mountains has his own goal, his motive. So I have … I planned climbing Elbrus in the beginning of 2017.  It was planned as the first step in high-altitude mountaineering.

  • Was any of your friends, maybe classmates, next to you at this moment?

At the time of the ascent, only my acquaintances were with me. I knew someone. But in general, relations within the group were favorable.

  • You are a geographer by profession, not a climber. Where did you prepare for the ascent?

Yes, I’m a geographer by profession, but I’m engaged in sports tourism almost 11 years. It was this sport that gave me tremendous experience and necessary skills. I would not say that I somehow specially prepared for the ascent. I just trained in the usual mode for myself.

  • Tell me about the very ascent. How long did it last?

The entire period of ascent took exactly one week. But before the ascent the most important is the passage of acclimatization in the highlands. The success of the ascent depends on this aspect. 
Our base camp was at an altitude of 2350 m. This height was our starting point.
On the first day we made an exit to “Mir” Station, which was at an altitude of 3450 m. We climbed, conducted snow and ice exercises and started descending to the base camp.
On the second day our group made an ascent to the “Priyut 11”, which is 4050 m. On the same day we went back to the base camp.
The next day we actively rested. Someone went for walks on local waterfalls, someone ran to the meadow of Narzan to collect water. Someone just lay in bed.
After a day of rest, we had a plan to spend the night in “Priyut 11”.
In the evening before the exit we checked all the equipment and left early in the morning. The climb took us about 4 hours. The weather did not spoil us much. Starting at an altitude of 3500 meters, all the time the snow melts. Visibility sometimes fell to 10-15 meters.
When they climbed to “Priyut 11”, they immediately put up tents, built a snow wall against the wind, and began the ascent to the Pastukhov Rocks, which are at a mark of 4500-4700 m. Despite the bad weather, there were a lot of people on the route. Having risen to the top of Pastukhov Rocks, we drank some tea from thermos and started descent to “Priyut 11”, where we were waited by very cozy tents. We spent the night and went down to the base camp in the morning.
In the base camp, the next day we rested, and prepared for the upcoming ascent.
And then that day came … From the base camp, we began to climb the cable car to “Mir” Station. From there we were on foot.
Breeze blows, snow sweeps, what else could be better.

We reached the “Priyut 11”, took off our clothes, rested, and began to drink tea. Somewhere at 6 pm we all went to bed. The ascent was at 12 o’clock in the morning.
We woke up, drank some tea, put on our clothes, and by the hour of the night we were already at a distance. On May 6 at 9.45 a.m. I was standing on the Western peak of Elbrus!

  • What did you manage to survive during the ascent? Were there any difficulties?

Acclimatization was the most difficult for me. At this altitude, people often experience hypoxia or mountain sickness. It can manifest itself at any time and in absolutely any form. I had another problem. With the rise to great heights, according to regularity, the pressure was lowered and caused headaches. But all this was only the first 2 – 3 days.

  • At the top you stand with the flag of the native faculty. Did you prepare in advance?

The idea to raise the flag arose quite spontaneously. I was always very fond of my faculty and the opportunity to raise his flag to the highest peak of Europe – it was an honor for me!

  • Do you plan to conquer another peak?

After climbing Elbrus, the global goal now is to climb Lenin Peak. Well, as for plans for the near future, then in July I plan a trip to Ullu-Tau to perform sports ranks.

  • What would you wish for those people, maybe for students who want to, but are afraid to climb to the top?

To be afraid of such an event is normal. The most important thing is that the person really wants it!

Students and teachers of LNU congratulate Kostya and wish him the conquest of new peaks, reliable equipment and good weather!


Iryna Bakhmet, Press Center of LTSNU

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