Elbrus: A “Pathetic” Climb?

I saw this story while surfing through MountEverest.net earlier and found it to be a surprising report. Spanish Climber Francisco Ortiz has voiced his displeasure with the climbing techniques being used on Elbrus, calling it “pathetic.”

It seems he was surprised to have visited the mountain recently and found that the trip up to 3700m was conducted by cable car to a crowded hut, where he was further dismayed to see the amount of trash that was tossed onto the glacier and left there. That’s not all; he reports that from there, many climbers then hitch a ride, on a Snow Cat, up to 4800m, where they then finally begin the climb to the summit.

Elbrus is 5642 meters in height and is the tallest mountain in Europe, making it one of the Seven Summits. But can someone really take pride in climbing it when you only have actually scaled about 840 meters under their own power? What’s the point?

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on “Elbrus: A “Pathetic” Climb?”

  1. You can also land a helicopter at the summit of mount everest that make the climb 0 meters.
    There are several ways of getting help to climb summits, by cable car, by snowcat etc. Climbing a 5000 meter mountain is still challenging then climbing Australia’s highest mountain that is around 2000 meters, and for some is counted as a seven summit.

    It is the thin air that is the challenge, and what yourself feel about the different climbing technique that count. I myself have climbed Elbrus without cable car because to my climbing “mind” that is the right way of doing it, but I would never say that someone climbing mont blanc and use a cable car up to Aguile du midi is “cheating” and that it is not an accomplishment to get to the summit

    http://www.elbrus.eu and http://www.thomasnederman.com

  2. Thomas,

    You make a great point. Climbing is what YOU get out of it, and every individual is different in their approach. Personally, I think I’d feel detached from the mountain if I rode up it most of the way in a cable car and snowcat, but for some that is the way they want to approach their climb.

    Mountaineering is an activity in which you get out of it what you put into it. There are plenty of challenges to be found, and everyone can challenge themselves in different ways. For some, it’s to summit via a traditional route, while for others, it’s to get to the summit, in any way that they can.

    Looking at it from a different perspective, what if someone who summitted Everest without bottled oxygen said it wa a pathetic climb because others were using the O2. Most people would dismiss a comment like that out of hand, saying it was a crazy thing to say, and they would be right.

    We all need to find our own challenges, and our own way to the summit. Let the other climbers do as they will. Again, thanks for the perspective.

  3. Actually, someone touched down with a helicopter on the summit of Everest just last year. It was pretty stunning and amazing at the time.

  4. Anonymous,

    With all due respect you’re talking out of your bum! You can’t get a helicopter to the top of Everest as the air is too thin!

  5. There was an anomaly in barometric pressure that day. That was the only reason he could do that. Usually base camp is as high as helicopter can safely go.

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