Elbrus Expedition

Ascent of Mt. Elbrus (5642m), Caucasus, Russia

Caucasus is a region found at the border of Europe and Asia, situated around Russia to the north, the Black sea to the east, Turkey to the southwest and Iran to the south. The Caucasus includes the Caucasus Mountains along with plains which surround the former. The Caucasus Mountains are often used as the dividing line between Europe and Asia; territories which occupy the Caucasus are considered to belong to both continents. The northern part of the Caucasus is known as Ciscaucasia, while the southern as Transcaucasia.

Elbrus (5642m) is the highest peak in the Caucasus, found in west Ciscaucasia, territorially belonging to Russia. It is also considered to be the highest point in Europe. ‘’The normal route’’ is considered to be the easiest and most accessible climbing route. Most groups utilize the gondola lift from the Azau station in order to get to Mir station, from where they would usually proceed on foot towards camp Garabashi (3800m). Above Garabashi, it is possible to rent a snowcat and reach Priut 11 or the Pastukhov rocks. If a group decides to proceed from Garabashi on foot, it would take 90 minutes to get to Priut 11 and an additional 2 hours to reach the Pastuhov rocks. From there, it would take around 3 to 4 hours of walking in order to get to the Saddle, and another 4 to 5 hours to reach the summit.

West summit is the highest point of this massive, two-peaked volcanic cone known as Elbrus. Asia, along with the border between Russia and Georgia, lies down the main Caucasian reef which is around 10 kilometers south from the summit of Elbrus. East summit (5621m) is around 1.5 kilometers away from its western counterpart, separated by ‘’the Saddle’’ (5416m). Over 70 glaciers are to be found sliding down the frozen cone of Elbrus whose icy surface covers around 130 square kilometers.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Mineralny Vody. Transfer from Mineralny Vody to Terskol. Arrival in Terskol. Accommodation in a hotel. Regulation of permits necessary for the ascent with the local authorities. Rest in a hotel, in Terskol.

Day 2

Ascent to the observatory Elbrus at 3380m in the vicinity of Terskol, for acclimatization purposes. Accommodation at a camp found at an elevation of 3380m. Rest.

Day 3

Return to Terskol in the early morning. This day is primarily designated for rest and preparation for the expedition to come. Dinner and rest in a hotel, in Terskol.

Day 4

Transfer from Terskol to Azau. Arrival in Azau and transfer by gondola to the Garabashi camp at 3800m. Climb to Diesel Hut (4157m), where we’ll spend the night.

Day 5

Day for acclimatization to the top of the Pashtuhova rock at 4600m. Return to our accommodation in Diesel Hut. Overnight stay.

Day 6

Departure for the climb to the top of West Elbrus (5642m) at around 3 am in the morning. Return to Diesel Hut. Overnight stay.

Day 7

Spare day in case of bad weather.

Day 8

Spare day in case of bad weather.

Day 9

Departure from Diesel Hut to the gondola on Garabashi. Gondola descent to Azau. Transfer to Terskol. Dinner.

Day 10

In the early morning transfer from Terskol to Mineralne Vode airport, just in time for your flight home.

Dates & Prices

July 11th, 2022
Spots available: 8 1040 €, Per Person

FAQ

What’s included in the price?
To maximize convenience, we include as much as possible, so you can just relax and think about hiking & climbing. Here’s what’s included:

  • Transfer from Mineralny Vody to Terskol, and back
  • Transfer from Terskol to Azau, and back
  • 4 night stay in a hotel in Terskol, double room, (half-board)
  • 3-night accommodation in Diesel Hut
  • Entrance fee for national park Elbrus
  • Use of the gondola lift in Mir
  • All necessary permits
  • OVIR registration
  • UIAA professional guide

Price doesn’t include the following:

  • Water & beverages
  • Food during the climb
  • International travel & health insurance
  • Visa expenses (for those who need a visa to enter Russia)
  • Voucher necessary to gain a Russian visa and enter Russia
  • Personal expenses such as the use of telephone, internet access, souvenirs, etc.
  • Ratrack services

You will need to cover flights; insurance and extra personal costs. You’ll need to book your flights to and from Mineralny Vody, travel insurance and cover other personal expenses.

What’s the hike like?
The hike is strenuous to very strenuous. Acclimatization hike to Cheget, that last 4 to 5 hours, with an easy pace. You will walk on a mountain trail. It is safe and solid. The second hike is moderate (Garabashi barrels – Pastuhov rocks – Garabashi barrels), but you should walk slowly because it is more than 4000 above sea level. You will walk on snow with crampons. On the third day, you will climb to the Diesel hut and it is approximately 2-3 hours. The fourth day is for rest and acclimatization. The fifth day is the summit day when you walk up 6-7 hours and back 3-4 hours.

What skills/experience/fitness do I need?
You need a high level of fitness level. We recommend the previous hiking experience at altitudes up to 4000 above sea level. Your guide will give you full instructions and a safety briefing at the start. The experienced instructor will be with the group all the time. Climbing skills are desirable, but all you need to climb to this top, you will get instructions from the guide.

What do I need to bring with me?

  • Backpack (50-70l)
  • Climbing backpack (up to 30l max)
  • Sleeping bag (-10 Celsius in the comfort zone)
  • Gaiters
  • Crampons
  • Ice axe
  • Harness
  • Carabineers (1 HMS, 2 regular)
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Cotton t-shirts
  • Trekking socks
  • Gore-Tex jacket
  • Down jacket
  • Polar sweater
  • Trekking pants
  • Gore-Tex pants
  • Gloves
  • Polar of woollen cap
  • Hiking shoes
  • Climbing boots
  • Toiletries

What are the guides like?
All the activities on this trip will be led in English by a qualified and professional guide and support by local guides.

What’s the food like?
All food is local and freshly cooked hearty mountain meals. These include domestic cheese, chicken and lamb meet, local tea, honey, eggs, rice, pasta and vegetable. We can organize your meal in the way you like. The drinks are not included.

Can my dietary requirements be catered to?
Absolutely. Just let us know when you fill in your travel documents.

When can I go on this trip?
Book on to our pre-set dates above. If you are considering alternative dates, the perfect time for this adventure is from May to September.

What’s the weather like?
Summer is the best periods to visit the Caucasus region. In summer average temperature is around 18; Autumn is slightly chillier but still really pleasant and the colours are stunning. During the final ascent, the average temperature is around – 15 degrees Celsius.

How do I meet the transfer?
At your arrival, the transfer will be holding a sign with the name of the tour. We’ll give you all the extra details before travelling.

How big will the group be?
This trip will run with a minimum of 6 people, and a maximum of 15. Please note, if there are not 6 people booked the trip may be rearranged or cancelled. Please contact us for confirmation before booking your flights, or book with a credit card.

Can I customize the trip?
Of course! For private groups of six or more the trip can run on any days you wish, be extended or changed to suit your needs. Enquire now for a private trip.