Bryan can now cross of Elbrus from his list! His call this morning made my week, and I am counting down the days until I get to see him again.
I am sure he will tell his story, so I am not here to update you all on those details–those are for him to share. I will say I wanted to beat him to the blog so you if you do in fact read the tale of his experience, you can do so with some perspective I have. You see, when Bryan called me this morning he shared how hard the summit was. Later he also happened to shared how the locals love that he knows a few words in Balkarian, and then told me he knows “cheers,” “thank you,” and “excellent.” I laughed at knowing “excellent,” and thought perhaps the snow patrollers taught him–I pictured Bill-and-Ted-like patrollers saying “Ex-cee-leent!” Bryan steered me in the right direction and away from my ridiculous image of what the snow patrollers were like in Russia and told me the story of how he knows “excellent.”
You see, when he was hiking up in the worst weather ever, passing other groups, trying to find the route, and fighting possible frostbite, his guide Sulton would ask how he was doing. Instead of saying something to the tune of, “I’m freezing my balls off and miserable!” (which was probably true), Bryan asked how to say “excellent.” And that is how he would answer when Sulton checked on him.
Sulton: Bryan, how are you doing? (insert thick Russian accent)
Even when Bryan told me about his trip, he didn’t complain. Nope, he told me about how he drew on others for inspiration. Though the trek was hard, he thought about how hard it might be for me to have him gone. Can this man get any more amazing!?! Bryan downplays how challenging things are, but he also downplays how strong, smart, thoughtful, kind, and insightful he is. I assume if you are reading his blog, you know him and know this about him already. And he is correct: he is excellent!