The Build Up...

Contrary to what the French would have us believe, Mont Blanc is not the tallest mountain in Europe. In fact there are a number of mountains in the Caucasus mountain range that are above 5000m. Although some geographical purists argue, the Caucasus range marks the dividing line between south Eastern Europe (European Russia)  and south west Asia (Georgia). Europe's highest peak is called Mount Elbrus and it lies in the Kabarda Balkar Republic in the CIS. Elbrus has two summits, the west summit is higher at 5642m, the east summit being slightly lower at 5621m. Elbrus rises majestically above the Baksan Valley dwarfing everything nearby it. It is permanently snowcapped and attracts a lot of ski tourists as well as mountaineers.

Mount Errigal
Lulu at the foot of Errigal
Bringing Up The Rear
Going For It...
Summit of Errigal

I can't ski, so I guess I came here to climb. This will be my second trip to significant altitude and I'm hoping that my memories of my previous experience will make for a more comfortable ride. How naive, eh? At least this time I have actually done SOME training on some of the peaks around Ireland and the Lake District in England as well as an aborted attempt on Mount Kosciuszko due to atrocious weather conditions.  At least I have a moderate level of fitness attained. I guess I've already learned something from the past!

Keswick, England
English Weather
Getting Late
Mount Skiddaw

Either way I'm now sitting in the Azau lodge preparing for an ascent that should take me to 5642m above sea level, all things going well...