Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe, had been on my mind ever since climbing Africa’s Kilimanjaro. So after a lot of talk with climbing buddies, a group of us rallied and set out for Russia and another of the 7 summits in 2012. Before every climbing expedition I go on, I do my absolute best to understand the mountain, weather, gear required and whether or not I am physically & mentally prepared too climb. The military taught me a lot about risk assessment, training and gear required to get the mission done. Maybe this is one of the big reasons I pursue wild outdoor adventures.
Most would think after a serious injury sustained during military operations, a person might decide to mitigate risk & danger from their activities. For me I just think harder about what I am going to pursue, and I than try to analyze the benefits of participating in the experience. Climbing is an interesting thing. Why climb a rock in the middle of nowhere? Well, climbing seems to be very comparable to life and the ups and downs we all experience, basically a metaphor. In life we climb high, or at least we try to climb towards our goals & dreams, but we also descend. I believe there is no way around the descent, we sometimes descend back into our normal moods, or in certain situations we may descend into a depressive state of mind.
In the end its all about the journey, right? Well, wherever you decide to go, however you decide to live life, I feel that the descent and adversity we all encounter truly pave a path towards happiness and great accomplishment. What’s that quote I’ve heard in a movie before, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity”.
I bring up a lot of philosophical things in this blog post because this climb on Mount Elbrus was very dangerous and adventurous. My buddies and I were trapped in a white out in a crevasse field on the flanks of this mountain, and at times I really thought I was a goner. I had put a lot of trust into my climbing friends, who were just as blind as myself in the snow storm. We all forged ahead and made the necessary navigational adjustments to move out of the crevasse field and down out of the storm back to our base camp.
Follow the below link to read an article by my friend Brian Mockenhaupt about our adventure on Elbrus: