Crevasses on Elbrus are rare on the normal route. If you wander below the Saddle it is much worse. This is easy to do on the descent if there is poor visibility due to weather. This has happened quite a few times in the last few years. I was there last September, as recorded in my book “Elbrus, My Waterloo” [CLICK HERE]. Quoting from the book:
“The conditions reminded me of the Muir Snowfield on Rainier in September. Open crevasses in the middle of the snowcat trail, water running over gravel-dusted ice with a layer of slush, bare dirt hills at 40% or better grade with waterfalls running down them.”
When I was there in September, all of the open crevasses on Elbrus across the Normal Route were well marked. Elbrus is climbed every day by local climbers. They wand the route very well. If you look carefully you can see the line of wands extending out to the Saddle, even from the Barrels nearly 5,000′ lower. I noticed them on my acclimatization hike to the Pastukhova Rocks, as well as on Summit Day. Some were pretty deep and I could see down probably 20′ or so. Most of them though were pretty narrow cracks, though it’s hard to say if there were holes under the snow bridges. The snowcats run over the route quite frequently, so I assumed they’d pack it down hard or break through.
Crevasses on Elbrus Gallery:
Right now I’m in the beginning stages of training for Elbrus Race 2013 with my friend and team-mate Todd Gilles. Here are links to our profiles on the list of participants:
The crevasses on Elbrus shouldn’t be a problem for us at all. It will be late September, so it’s likely they’ll be open and exposed. But they’ll be wanded, and the event organizers will do everything they can to protect the runners.