Alyssa Azar Prepares to Summit Mount Elbrus
The final countdown is on for Alyssa Azar's next climb - Russia's Mount Elbrus. At 5,642 metres, Elbrus is one of the seven summits and is the highest peak in Europe. We caught up with Alyssa to chat about her gruelling preparation and get some mountaineering tips.
You've been keeping pretty busy since your Everest Summit. What are some highlights from the past year?
It has been a busy year since Everest. The highlights would be the release of my book, receiving the Key to the City of Toowoomba, crossing the Kokoda Track again and getting to return to the Andes to climb late last year.
The next mountain you have your sights set on is Mount Elbrus in Russia. Why did this one grab your attention?
Mount Elbrus got my attention because it is one of the Seven Summits and also because of the interesting location in Russia. It is located in the Caucasus Mountain Range and I've never climbed there before so I am really looking forward to it.
How are you preparing for this ascent?
My preparation is a mix of training. Always pack training on the hills at Mt Cootha, building up strength and endurance, running for cardio, as well as gym sessions with weights and bodyweight circuits for added strength.
What is the most challenging part of Scott Evennett's training programs?
I've been using Scott Evennett's training programs for every climb since right before Everest. The most challenging part is he always sets a few sessions in particular that are meant to push me mentally by being big or really tough and I have to find a way to work through it. It's always a mix of pack sessions, gym sessions and running.
What are you most looking forward to about Elbrus?
I am most looking forward to climbing on another one of the Seven Summits as well as experiencing a part of the world I haven't been to yet.
Who will you be climbing with?
I'll be climbing on a private expedition this time with myself and a local Russian guide through the company Pilgrim Tours.
What gear will you be taking?
I'll be taking mountaineering boots, crampons, ice axe, harness, carabiners and a short rope. Also, I'll be taking a thermal base layer, my Mountain Designs Pro-Elite Base Layers I used on Everest and the White Limbo Down Duvet.
What are some of your top tips for budding mountaineers?
My top tips would be to gain experience and slowly build up. Trekking is a great way to begin for the experience of being in the outdoors and undertaking endurance activities. Start with day walks and build up to multi-day treks. Also work on your fitness and strength for a good base. When getting into climbing go through a professional to teach you any skills you need and to guide you, then, when you're confident and depending on your goals, undertake bigger expeditions and peaks.
What's next on the agenda?
I am looking at a return to Mount Aconcagua in December this year as well as climbing some other Andes peaks while I am over there.