It was an Upper Canada College father and son adventure of a lifetime when Grade 9 student Tom Gormley joined his Old Boy father Dan Gormley ’79 in climbing Russia’s Mount Elbrus earlier this month.
Elbrus is a dormant volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range. While there are differing opinions on how the Caucasus are distributed between Europe and Asia, it’s generally considered that Elbrus is in Europe and, at 5,642 metres (18,510 feet), is the highest mountain in Europe and one of the “seven summits” (the highest peak on each continent).
The elder Gormley previously climbed two of the other seven summits, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Aconcagua in South America, and states that Elbrus offers the most consistently “alpine” experience of the three peaks. The climbing party dealt with snow, ice, steep slopes and high winds throughout their time on the mountain, and crampons, ice axes, ropes and harnesses were a must.
“It was a good introduction for Tom to ‘real’ climbing,” says Gormley.
After touring Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Gormleys and five other climbers from Sweden, the United States and Canada went to the Caucasus and embarked on the five-day expedition. They reached the summit of Elbrus on July 8.