On September 24, athletes from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Poland, the United States and Indonesia took part in the sixth edition of the Elbrus Race, with the finish line right on the highest point of the European continent.
Among them, two young Polish runners, members in Artur Hajzer team of winter climbers, smashed the previous records in the Extreme Class. Andrzej Bargiel, 22, was first to cross the finish line, scoring 3h23m37s -- almost half an hour less than the previous record, established by 14x8000er summiteer Denis Urubko in 2006 at 3h55m59s.
Two girls ran the Extreme Class category for the first time: Maria Khitrikova (Ukraine) and Aleksandra Dzik (Poland). Aleksandra "Ola" finished first and thus set the first woman record on that route at 5h4m41s.
Winter Broad Peak training
Aleksandra "Ola" Dzik is making a name for herself among the climbing community. After a bold attempt on Nanga Parbat in summer this year, she was one of the climbers stranded in a fierce storm on a descent from Pobeda summit some weeks ago.
"The Polish team led by Artur Hajzer made the impression of highly trained and strongly motivated athletes," Organizer RussianClimb.com stated. Following the Polish achievements in winter Himalayan climbing, "Artur now wants to build a young and capable team. He regards the Elbrus race as a chance to test the athletes' endurance in high altitude, cold, wind and extreme fatigue conditions."
The Polish team included several runners and climbers including Artur himself, who ended tenth in the classic itinerary. They are training for a winter attempt on Broad Peak.
New hut already saving lives
Speaking of Elbrus, a recently built hut is already proving valuable in rescue operations.
"A new rescue hut has been just opened on the
saddle of Elbrus at 5,300 meters," Alexandr Yelkov told ExplorersWeb. "It is the highest construction of its kind in the world, and it has already helped to save the lives of two climbers from Poland." The rescue was performed by a group from Alex Abramov's Seven-Summits Club, whose members helped a young man and a girl after they apparently slipped and fell on a descent from the summit. The man sustained a broken leg and the girl had a broken collarbone and further minor injuries."
Editor's note: The race is run in two categories. First, Extreme Class, which is from Azau (2,400m) at the base of the mountain to Elbrus' highest point on the Western top (5,642m) -- a 13 kilometer-long itinerary with over 3,000 vertical meters diference between exit and finish line. And second, the Classic Route, which is from the so-called Barrels (3,700m) near the upper station of Elbrus Cable Car. The finish also being on the Western top.
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