This was the last of my 7 Summits quest... and it was an auspicious expedition. IMG handled the logistics very nicely, and guiding by Mike, Sasha, and Igor was great--attention to detail, always totally safe even when conditions were hairy, and everyone had a great time. On this outing, the food in Terskol was not great--although I think that was not IMG's fault. The food there is just not tasty and many of us developed mild diarrhea. So that sucked. But the trip overall was so fun and beautiful that it did not matter. For details, please see my blog: http://pottinger.net/osm/expedition/elbrus-2017/
We gave Andrew at Beyond Red Square a tough task in helping us get to the top of Mt. Elbrus, fly to St. Petersburg, and then take a train to Moscow. He did so without any complaints or delays via hundreds of emails. All of our guides, cars, interpreters, etc. were all on time. To be honest, Andrew had to coordinate much more than that. To get to the top of Mt. Elbrus, we actually took two flights, an airport shuttle, a car, three gondolas, a snowmobile, a snowcat, and finally a snowboard which I rode from 5000m down to 3000. Only the snowboard was coordinated by me. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru, and the Inca Trail with other guide services, but I would rate Red Square as the best organized of them all. Russia was fantastic and I would consider it as a place to live if the need ever came up, now that I've spent some time there. All the "Russia BAD" crap that we hear on TV and from other idiots here in the USA is complete nonsense. The roads were smooth, the people were great, and there is much to see in Russia. Chris and I found ourselves saying "that's a great idea, I wish we had that in the USA" more times than I can remember. Overall, a very memorable trip and I'm already trying to get my family to St. Petersburg in the next year or so. PS. Andrew met us at the Min Vod airport to shake our hands and leave us with a goodie bag full of homemade cookies and other treats. His handwritten thank you note inside was something you won't get anywhere else.