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DWA SOUTH AFRICAN ELBRUS NORTH - 2011 EXPEDITION

A South African group of Dream World Adventures was organized by Mrs. Rosemary Gardner and besides her the group included 7 team members: Mr. Joseph Shava, Mr. Jacobus Grove, Mrs. Eldaline Botha, Mr. Sidwell Sibisi, Mrs. Lerato Thwane, Mr. Lazarus Muchenje and Mr. Matthys Franken. Mr. Viktor Ershov was their head mountain guide in the Caucasus, Mr. Andrey Afrin was their second mountain guide, Mrs. Marina Ershova and Mr. Andrey Ershov served the group in Moscow and Miss Katya Martynenko - in St. Petersburg. Because of the anti-terrorist operation on the South side of Elbrus that part of the Elbrus area was closed for tourists and the expedition was forced to work on Elbrus from the North.

After short acclimatization treks in the area of Base Camp on the Emmanuel Glade (~ 2500 m) the group reached Camp 3800 m and did an acclimatization ascent to the Lenz Rocks (~ 4800 m). The climbing route from 3800 m to the Western Summit of Mt. Elbrus is very long and they decided to try to reach the Eastern Summit. The group overcame all difficulties and on August 7 Mr. Jacobus Grove, Mr. Sidwell Sibisi, Mr. Matthys Franken, Mr. Joseph Shava, Mrs. Rosemary Gardner and their Russian guide Mr. Viktor Ershov successfully reached the Eastern Summit of Mt. Elbrus (5621 m). The climb was very hard for three others and with their guide Mr. Andrey Afrin they were forced to turn back from 5200 m. After Elbrus the group had several days for sightseeing in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Rose Gardner:

Dear Andrey,

What an adventure Elbrus 2011 was!! The route from the North was far more challenging than the usual climb from the South, not only due to the lack of infrastructure there, but because of a lengthened summit day beginning from 3800 m, which made the going tough for each member of the team. Our team was holding out for news of the South opening, but when was not forthcoming and Ersh Travels gave us the option of either the route from the West or North, the team decided that the expedition would indeed go ahead using the North - a decision which I imagine some may have come to rue as we came closer to our goal. The remoteness of the mountain and long days of travelling to just get set for the expedition tested even the most humorous of the bunch! All part of the adventure, I kept telling them all!

Your logistics and arrangements made that the expedition ran smoothly, thanks very much! The team was spoilt by the cooks at the two camps (2500 m & 3800 m) and I know all have fond memories of these ladies. I appreciate your insistence at arranging an additional mountain guide, since on our summit bid we decided to split the group in two where Viktor guided the first, faster group and Andrey, the remainder. Both are very experienced members of the mountain rescue team and a special word of thanks must go to Andrey for instituting a rescue of one of our team who succumbed to an asthma attack after turning back from 5200 m. Viktor is also highly commended for assisting Similo, Thys & Cronje to the Eastern Summit before rushing down to assist with the rescue. We were blessed to have these capable guides with us!

The experience was both enlightening and enriching and the beautifully wild natural surroundings remain in memory. If we were forced, due to closure on the South, to look at future trips to the North or West, we would not hesitate, and we look forward to working with Ersh Travels again soon.

My thanks to you & Marina for accompanying us in Moscow and once again for Katya's assistance to those who went on to St. Petersburg for some more sightseeing.
DWA group in Mineralnye Vody
DWA group in Mineralnye Vody
town of Pyatigorsk
town of Pyatigorsk
on the way to Base Camp
on the way to Base Camp
Base Camp on the Emmanuel Glade, 2500 m
Base Camp on the Emmanuel Glade, 2500 m
view of Mt. Elbrus from the way to Base Camp
view of Mt. Elbrus from the way to Base Camp
in the canteen of Base Camp
in the canteen of Base Camp
Base Camp
Base Camp
Base Camp on the Emmanuel Glade
Base Camp on the Emmanuel Glade
Joseph Shava
Joseph Shava
trekking for acclimatization
trekking for acclimatization
Mount Elbrus from the North
Mount Elbrus from the North
during acclimatization to the valley of Mushroom Rocks
during acclimatization to the valley of Mushroom Rocks
Sidwell Sibisi and Viktor Ershov
Sidwell Sibisi and Viktor Ershov
training before the climb
training before the climb
Camp 3800 m
Camp 3800 m
Lazarus Muchenje and Lerato Thwane
Lazarus Muchenje and Lerato Thwane
during the climb
during the climb
Russian guides Andrey Afrin and Viktor Ershov near Lenz Rocks
Russian guides Andrey Afrin and Viktor Ershov near Lenz Rocks
Rosemary Gardner, Joseph Shava and Jacobus Grove near the Eastern Summit
Rosemary Gardner, Joseph Shava and Jacobus Grove near the Eastern Summit
Sidwell Sibisi on the Eastern Summit of Mt. Elbrus, 5621 m
Sidwell Sibisi on the Eastern Summit of Mt. Elbrus, 5621 m
after successful ascent of Mt. Elbrus with other climbers
after successful ascent of Mt. Elbrus with other climbers
photos: Rosemary Gardner, Joseph Shava, Jacobus Grove, Eldaline Botha, Sidwell Sibisi

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address: Fontanka 64-63, 191002 St.Petersburg, Russia
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