Russian powerlifters are known for their kickass appearance and performance. But Murmansk native Andrew Rodichev recently topped them all by climbing Mount Elbrus – Europe’s highest peak at 5642 meter – carrying a 75 kg barbell on his back!!
An intense training regimen
For starters Rodichev had to come up with an entire novel training regimen as no-one had ever tried such an extreme high altitude ascent. Normal mountaineers do carry backpacks up the mountain in a weight range from 20-30kg. But only the extreme ones that don’t opt for porters. And even then they only carry the bare essentials, and climb as light as possible in the later stages of the peak ascent.
Rodichev however wanted to carry the 75kg barbell all the way to the top. And for that he needed to train hard.
so In order to prepare himself for the arduous trek, he trained twice a day, seven days a week. Every morning he would run on the streets of his hometown of Murmansk for an hour and a half carrying an additional 10 kg of weight for increased intensity. In the evening, he would work out at the gym lifting weights. As a bodybuilder he needed to lose weight for this high altitude adventure so he lost 20 kg of bodyweight to reach the ideal weight for his kickass mission.
The driving force
Apart from setting a super ambitious goal for himself, Rodichev also wanted to raise attention to the fact that powerlifters in the Russian federation are not very well supported. Russia has not much professional equipment for competition and training as it is expensive and hard to get. A professional 480 kg barbell costs 500,000 rubles (around $8,000) but the city of Murmansk and regional administration has no money so we can’t get the proper training equipment we need. I want to do the Elbrus climb carrying a 75kg barbell to draw attention to the Powerlifting Federation in Murmansk region and to raise money so we can get proper training equipment giving us a chance to be competitive on a global level.
The 75 kg barbell
Lifting a 75 kg barbell in the gym while doing squads or bench presses is quite different from dragging it up Europe’s highest mountain. Dragging a barbell that consists of a 20kg bar, two 25kg discs and two 2,5kg locks by default is a torture. But to make this torture at least a bit bearable Rodichev used a pillow underneath the bar to make the entire weight bearable on his neck/back. And with this ‘comfortable’ setup Rodichev took off!
A slow but steady ascent to the top
In the lower parts of Elbrus Rodichev moved with a speed of 50 vertical meters per hour. Then reaching the Elbrus saddle point at 5400 meter his vertical ascending speed dropped to only 15 meters per hour due to the severe lack of oxygen. And the 75 kilograms on his back of course!
In total it took him eight long days to move slowly, slowly to the top. But in the end he made it. All the way to Europe’s highest mountain carrying his 75kg barbell.
A barbell statue on the top of Elbrus
After eight long and gruelling days Rodichev reached the top of Mount Elbrus. With the barbell. What a sight it was.
And what a sight it is, because Rodichev decided to leave the barbell there. Forever.
So as from now, if you climb Mount Elbrus, you can find some proper weight lifting equipment on the top. Remember it was left there by Rodichev to raise awareness for a lack of equipment in Murmansk.
So when you happen to be at the top of Elbrus and start doing bench presses with your back in the snow remember the man. The only man to climb one of the 7-summits carrying that bloody heavy thing!