I summitted Elbrus, age 16, on the 4th August 2009 with my dad. We went as part of an Alpine Ascents team lead by world renowned guide, Vern Tejas who has completed the Seven Summits over 10 times, and has a hundred and one other achievements to boot. Look him up if you have time!
To the best of my knowledge, I believe I’m the youngest British female to have summitted Elbrus.
We had such a great time on this trip, and are still in contact with some of the people we climbed with. We soon became “Team Poker Face” after Vern’s obsession with the song became known, and we played it throughout the trip no less than twice everyday, including having it blasting out as we threw ourselves down the slopes in ice axe arrest practice!
We had beautiful summit day weather and everyone on the team made the summit, the weather was so good that Vern told us females to carry on down, as he posed sans le vêtements!
Up until summit day, when we were not even half an hour from the summit, I didn't feel the effects of the altitude to any great extent, but when we stopped to rest just before the summit I felt my head start pounding straight away. Top tip: pressure breathe even when resting! Pressure breathing was a life saver this trip, and I completely recommend it to everyone who climbs. Although you start off feeling a little bit stupid as it involves blowing out very loudly, when your whole team starts doing it and you feel the results, you forget the humiliation!
We also had an amazing acclimatization day practicing our rope work through a very impressive crevasse field, with a couple of members putting their legs through the snow and finding nothing but a gaping abyss below…
On top of that, we had an unbelievable day of ice climbing on the edge of the glacier after we’d come back down from summiting!