Mountaineering Cat Scales Elbrus. Next Stop, Everest?

Graf travelling in Chegem, Russia
Graf travelling in Chegem, Russia | Courtesy of Andrey Ostanin
Dasha Fomina

One of Russia’s most famous felines and Instagram celebrities, the mountaineering cat named Graf, together with his owner, has travelled around the Ural ranges, climbed Elbrus and ice-biked across Lake Baikal.

It all began in the spring of 2016 when Andrey Ostanin, a seasoned traveller and mountain climber from the Urals, adopted a one-month-old kitten.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVPqH83HcG0/?hl=en&taken-by=graf_andreevich

At the time, Andrey was already planning his Mount Elbrus climb and didn’t feel like leaving his newfound friend he’d named Graf – Russian for ‘Count’ – to stay with relatives.

Graf’s training for the big ascent started with daily walks on a leash and easy treks. By September 2017, they’ve already explored the Ural ranges, including Konzhakovskiy ridge, hiked in the Crimea, cycled on ice across Lake Baikal and even climbed 5,000 metres (16,404 feet) up Europe’s highest mountain.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLWYs3WAana/?hl=en&taken-by=graf_andreevich

The adventurous cat seems to share his owner’s wanderlust, doesn’t mind having to wear winter apparel and willingly poses for photos. Graf has an Instagram account where his exciting adventures get documented: from stalking doves in the Crimea to ice-walking on Lake Baikal to rock climbing and sitting in his owner’s backpack.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLNh2hRgD30/?hl=en&taken-by=graf_andreevich

According to Andrey, travelling with a pet can be extremely rewarding but requires patience, training and some extra preparations, such as thoroughly planning your mealtimes and overnight stops.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ7bt1VgQ3u/?hl=en&taken-by=graf_andreevich

He advises not to take your animal off leash, unless necessary, as he once spent two hours in the forest by the Arakul Rocks looking for Graf, who had been hiding 10 meters (32.8 feet) away from the tent. Andrey also confessed to smuggling his cat into hotels, where no pets are allowed, and having to put up with some hygiene issues.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ7bzmPAZR3/?hl=en&taken-by=graf_andreevich

Now, Andrey is mapping out their next Elbrus climb – only this time he hopes to go above 5,000 meters (16,404 ft), while Graf is competing to be Russia’s favourite cat on national television.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQzs-KCg_BH/?hl=en&taken-by=graf_andreevich

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article