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Asia, USSR, Caucasus, 1984

Caucasus, 1984. David Broadhead and I spent three weeks in the Baksan valley of the central Caucasus in the summer of 1984. We made ascents of Ushba North by its north ridge, the north face of Ullu-Kara-Tau, a traverse of Dongus-Orun and Nakra, an ascent of Jangtugan and a traverse of the east and west peaks of Elbrus. An attempt on the north face of Ullu-Tay-Chana was repulsed in the face of high temperatures. The range is not much frequented by Western mountaineers, although it offers challenges of high order. Traversing long ridges or attempting long mixed or icy faces give the best objectives. The following points are worth bearing in mind: 1. In 1984, $800 covered everything from Moscow back to Moscow; 2. We found no hindrance in attempting any climb we wished, though occasionally we had to be strong minded; 3. Control times are given, but they are generous. In any event, radios are carred by all parties; 4. There is no helicopter rescue service; 5. Some dried food might be worth taking; 6. Sportingly, there are no weather forecasts, maps or guides, and the only hut is on Elbrus.

Desmond Rubens, Scottish Mountaineering Club