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The trip to Elbrus from the border with Georgia took the whole day. The road was surprisingly very good (apparently, it was recently reconstructed). On the way, there were several police checkpoints. Regular post-Soviet villages and cities with many pharmacies, shabby supermarkets “Magnit”, petrol stations and kiosks were constantly passing by.

The road would be absolutely boring if the Caucasus mountain range were not rising above the horizon. Because of the mountains, it felt like we were driving on the autobahn somewhere in southern Bavaria overlooking the snowy Alps. But this feeling immediately disappeared as soon as we approached the Soviet settlements with gloomy houses and buildings.

After the town of Nalchik we picked up our guide from Ukraine and began to drive towards the mountains. We could see even the two-headed summit of Elbrus right ahead of us. Soon we drove into the picturesque gorge. Only ugly settlements and Soviet buildings have mutilated the whole view.

On the first day, we settled in a hotel, rented equipment (you can rent everything near Elbrus. In fact you can come just in shorts and a T-shirt) and discussed the following days with a guide. A slightly different program was awaiting us: we would do the acclimatization from the east, from the most picturesque ascending track to Elbrus (most tourists acclimatize by climbing the Observatory and the Cheget peak).

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