The only way is up for Stoney climbers

Roger Owen and Alistair Beeley celebrate after reaching the summit.
Roger Owen and Alistair Beeley celebrate after reaching the summit.

A pair of Stonehaven men have scaled Mt Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, at the ages of 64 and 67, proving age really is just a number.

Roger Owen (64) and Alistair Beeley (67), who are members of the Stonehaven Hillwalking and Mountaineering Club, travelled to Russia, or more specifically the Caucasus mountain range, which borders on Georgia, for the challenge, and the two had quite an adventure.

The attempt on Mt Elbrus, which would see Roger and Alistair conquer their third out of seven continental summits, was preceded by a five day trek to get acclimatised.

Roger said: “This acclimatisation trek really was the highlight of our expedition; it was full of beauty but with lots of adventure. We were transported on the first day up into the high valleys by an ancient, rust-bucket, four wheel drive minibus whose driver continually poured streamwater over its radiator to keep it going but the big shock came when the backseat came loose and tipped three of us into the boot as we ascended a heart-stoppingly steep track with unfathomable drops to the side.”

Then of course the real hard work came; scaling Mt Elbus. Roger added: “The ascent of Elbrus is a tough, hard climb entirely on crampons and with ice-axe at the ready because of the risk of steep, icy slopes. We were looking over scenery so stunningly beautiful that it would have taken our breath away, if we had had any left. The jagged mountains to our south defined the border with Georgia and the shadow of Mount Elbrus lay right across them. Then, finally, Alistair and I stepped onto the summit together and let the emotions rip with some pretty exuberant back-pounding. We were, on July 23, finally standing on the summit of Europe at 5642m, around 18,500 ft, the fulfilment of a long-held dream and, for two guys aged 64 and 67, a pretty reasonable achievement.