Denis Urubko at Pastukhov rocks/ Photo: Dmitry Drachev
3 km vertical Race
Elbrus Speed climb, 5642 ž
September, 14, 2006
Due to the strong athletes Elbrus Race competition, organized by www.Russianclimb.com and Top Sport Travel (www.sklon.ru), was held at such high level. The initiator of the competition in the format "Azau - West top" was Serguey Surmonin, the Moscow high-altitude climber and ski Maraphon runner. Two years ago he assured me that such long route combined with Elbrus height will be attractive to the strongest high-altitude athletes in the World. Mountain Race with more than 3000 m altitude difference requires all athlete's resources mobilization, so only those will choose this route, who can do it well, as a result of long training process. The first-step list of the participants became clear in the beginning of June.
Two with the half months of preparation, all worries and doubts are now only memoirs and the mistakes correction material.† The weather on September, 14 was excellent! "We wonder what did it cost for organizers to order such weather?" - joked athletes. Some days before the start, the ice, which lied along about the whole route because of unusual hot August, was covered by the fresh snow, and the route became as usual in September.
Denis Urubko and Svetlana Sharipova came to Caucasus already September, 4. They were going to win the Race. And the next day they climbed Elbrus col to spend the night for acclimatization. "It was the most awful night I have ever spent in mountain. I've just climbed Lenin peak the month ago, and during that night on Elbrus during the strong storm at the col I was thinking about women who died on Lenin peak in 1974 near the tents which were broken by the storm", - Svetlana said. At 4 a.m. Denis woke she up and ordered to wear boots and warm suit in case the tent could be broken. But tent stayed, and Kazakhstan duo acclimatized and were ready enough for the Race.
Referee team came to Caucasus September, 9. In Elba Hotel we met with Serguey Surmonin with his wife and 9-month daughter Vera, Vladimir Suviga (Almaty), Alexander Kerimov and Serguey Seliverstov from Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) - they trained at Lenin peak during the summer, Andrey Puchinin from Almaty (he did fast climbs at four 7000 peak in 1,5 months), Mike Silin from Saint Petersburg, Bulgarian climber Luchezar Nikolov and Ural climbers Vitaly Baljukin (Chief referee in our team), doctor Alexey and Victor Kamenskikh. There was the ceremonial meeting at the dinner: Vladimir Suviga met Vitaly Baljukin. They climbed together many days ago, and didn't meet during 20 years.
Marry, if you want to take part in the Race!
Vera was the pretty baby, as calm as her father. Serguey works in Tashkent in long-term buisiness-trip, and his official holiday he used during† Everest expedition this Spring, so to come to the Race he had to: marry! (to register officially their marriage with his wife Nadja for receiving the marriage trip holiday). So, they came to Caucasus by the whole family.
Next day Vladimir Voronkov (Saint Petersburg) and Elbrus guides Roman Gubayev, Oksana Novak (Ukraine) and Anna Petrova have registered in Race list. Abu (Abdulkhalim Elmezov) works in Elbrus rescue service - in 1991 his time from Azau till Priut 11 (4200) was 1 hour 37 min. Boris Korshunov came only September, 13 - he was busy at his engineering work - tested new space sputnik. So he flyed from Moscow only September, 13 early morning, and September, 14 at 7 a.m. he already started in the Race - without acclimatization. " I won't run fast, only for pleasure," - promised the famous high-altitude grandfather to referees.
September, 10 when we placed the competition posters in hotels and caffees, many climbers from different countries said us:" That's a good idea. You'll have a hundred competitors next year". But when they heared that the man who pretends to win wants to run the route in 4 hours with the half, they shaked heads: "No, it's impossible!"
September, 11 opening ceremony, Azau. All members got the gifts from sponsors: Red Fox Trail Bag and Simond carabine. Vitaly Baljukin said thestory how in 1993 he took part in Maraphon race (42 km) from Verhny Baksan village till Elbrus West Top. Mikhail Rusakov from Moscow was the winner (11 hrs 50 min), the 2place† Prizer was Stas Simonkov (Bielorussia) - 12 hrs 20 min, and Vitaly was the third (12 hrs 40 min)
Qualification start (Bochki - Pastukhova rocks)
Sep, 12. Roman Gubayev from Teberda was the first who reached Pastukhov rocks - 1 hour 07 min
Sep, 13. The referees, who worked at the upper part of the route, climbed the col and spent night there, in the tent. Valery Shamalo, Alexey Gorbatenkov and cameraman Vladimir Fedoseev worked at the top. Tatiana Timoshenko and Eugeny Kolchanov worked at the col.
We've read about the interesting fact in the new book about Elbrus exploration history, just published in Nalchik: "1891. Germans Gotfrid Mertsbaher and Ljudvig Purtcheller with two guides climbed Elbrus West top, managed all the way from Terskol village to the top in the shortest time - 8 hours"
The plate of onion.
Denis felt not so good in the evening before the start, so he ordered the plate of fresh onion (great doze of vitamine C!), and ate it with the tears.
We couldn't asleep at night (nervous!). About 6 a.m. It was dark. But the sky was clear. I fixed start at Azau.
6 a.m.. Start! Four climbers - Denis Urubko, Serguey Surmonin, Alexander Kerimov and Serguey Seliverstov - have just flowered at the dark site of the steepest part of the route. Good luck! I was thinking about the huge work which those guys were going to do to run that extreme route:
Sunrise began in 10 minutes after.
Nick fixed start at 7 a.m. at Garabashi (3708 m) 12 athletes (3 women among them) run the "Classic" route. 1TV, the main Russian TV Channel, and NTV Channel worked there and filmed the Race.
Referees fixed time also in middle points: at Pastukhov rocks, and at the col. †Athletes could drink hot tea there.
Then we're waiting first results at Garabashi ("Bochki"), the upper† Elbrucs cablecar station.
Photo: referee Dmitry Drachev (Pastukhova rocks, 4700)
Andrey Puchinin reached the top first on "Classic" route. 2 hrs 46 min. Some minutes after him Denis Urubko finished! 3-55! Fantastic! We're waiting that he win, but not in SUCH TIME! Those, who saw Denis at the route, said he run like flew behind the surface!
Roman Gubanov finished second at "Classic"(3-07), and then: Svetlana Sharipova! (3-21)
Some minutes later Alexander Kerimov finished at Extreme route! His time was 4 hrs 34 min! Excellent! It was the result which Denis planned for himself before the start. Great, Alex!
Abu was sad: "Why did I run in plastic boots!" His time was 3 hrs 48 min. (all members run in boots with crampons, but most of them used light trekking boots)
Then, with short time difference, Oksana Novak, Victor Kamenskikh and Vladimir Voronkov reached the summit. Then Serguey Seliverstov finished at the Extreme route His time was 5 hrs 49 min. And soon Boris Korshunov finished! 4 hrs 58 min from Garabashi, in 71 y.o. without acclimatization!
Luchezar and Mike didn't reach the top, and Anna climbed the col only 5 min after the control time - so she had to return back. .
Serguey Surmonin reached the top after 6 hrs 22 min fight. Then in two hours all members and referees descended back to Bochki and then to Azau by cablecar.
Sep, 15 was the award ceremony, all competition members get the special certificates. Winners was warded by prizers from sponsors and special "Caucasus" gifts from Balkaria Sport Committee. Then was the ceremonial dinner, then Denis Urubko's film about Manaslu climb, then guitar and songs:
Elbrus Race Sponsors:TOP SPORT TRAVEL, BASK, REDFOX, SIMOND, SIVERA, Elba hotel.
Welcome in 2007!
The previous race: ELBRUS RACE (5642 m ), September 2005