Five factors of succes.
- Good company which implies good guides, the key figures of any adventure trip.
- Weather (the most stable in July and August).
- Tactics (number of days, acclimatization, help of "lifts" such as Snow Cats etc)
- Well chosen equipment (we can offer the full range of this in the local rental offices).
- Getting basic mountaineering skills which can be important for Elbrus and useful for your future climbs!
Autumn, winter and spring demand on the organization of Elbrus climbs a bit more than summer. So, for these seasons we add one day to our standard programme, so it is not 8 but 9 days.
The highest mountain range of Europe (seven summits over 5000 m) is definitely not the Alps, but the Caucasus which goes from the Black to Caspian seas for nearly 1200 km, rises at its center part to 5200 m and reaches its highest at Mt.Elbrus (5642 m).
Seven Summits peak.
Nowadays some climbers have reduced climbing into a highly technical “hi-end” profession, thus getting farther and farther away from modest lovers of mountains. But Nature has more sense than that and has provided the globe with good old volcanoes where almost anyone can feel and be a Climber.
Day by day description
Arrival in Mineralnye Vody. Climbers should arrive on a morning flight. From the airport we drive 3.5-4hr to Cheget village. The group transfer from airport Mineralnye Vody to Cheget village leaves at 2 pm. Cheking into the hotel. Dinner in the hotel. This will be followed by a talking about tomorow plans. In a good weather you can see Elbrus.
In the morning, after a hearty breakfast we walk to the waterfall at 2750m and international astronomical observatory 'Pik Terskol" (3150m). On the approach, we'll walk through the green forest and then through the grassland. During the first half of the approach, our objective will remain hidden by the trees. However, at the end of the second part, the impressive north walls of Donguzorun (4400m) and Nakra (4200m) peaks will be revealed. Return to the hotel. Lunch in one of the many fine Cheget's cafes. After that - equipment chek. All the things missing can be rented. A dinner in a restaurant in the hotel.
We leave in the hotel our things not needed for the climb and go by car (20min) to Azau staion (2356m) of Elbrus cableway and its three runs take us to Garabashi huts (3800m). We stay in a hut not far from the Bochki. Acclimatising outing to Pastukhov Rocks (4750m) on the vast snow fields. Usually it takes 5-6 hr. During our walking we have lunch stop, lunch includes sandwiches, fresh fruits, chocolate, nuts. Return to our hut, dinner.
On a rest day breakfast is late. Then its time to learn how to use all special equipment and have some practical trainning on a snow slope. Also Guide will tell about ascent tactics. Lunch and dinner in the hut. After diner there follows preparation of clothes and equipment for the climbing Elbrus.
Summit day begins early. We generaly leave camp at night or early in the morning .It depends on the weather and condition of participants. During ascension it is possible to use services of the ratrak to rise to different heights – it significantly saves forces and time when climbing Elbrus. Attention to participants!!! All questions connected with the ratrak can be discussed on-site, the day before ascent. The guide doesn't bear responsibility for the ratrak and its organization, and can help participants with this question only. Ascent on West Summit takes from 10 to 14hr. The views to south and north differ stunningly: alpine ranges to south and grassy green fields of foothills going to the horizon to north. Descent to the hut. Dinner and night in the hut.
This day can be used as spare in case of any circumstances which prevented to make ascension the day before, for example – bad weather. In the same day, after descent from Elbrus, it is possible to go down to the hotel if time allows. OR in case the attempt of ascension was made in a planned order the previous day, descent to the valley is necessary today. Moving to the hotel. Free time in the afternoon, rest in the valley. A dinner, devoted to climbing Elbrus, in the evening. Night in the hotel.
If the group went down the day before - a day of rest and relax. Easy walk. Night in the hotel.
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure in the airport. The group transfer goes in the first half of the day, to the first flight which participants depart. Departure time is specified on the place.
- meeting and seeing off in the Mineralnye Vody airport
- all group transfers according to the program
- accommodation in a hotel in double room basis - 3 nights
- accommodation in high hut on Elbrus – 4 nights
- meals: breakfast when in hotel, full board when on Elbrus
- staff: one english speaking guide for the mountain part and extra guides on the summit day (3-4 clients to one guide), cook at hut
- local police and rescue service registrations, visa support
- Elbrus cable-way tickets
- luggage storage when climbing
- ropes for climbing
- return air fare to Mineralnye Vody
- single accommodation supplement
- individual car transfers
- personal equipment rentals
- extra (personal) guides and porters
- National Park fees
- insurance (medical and other)
- any changes in the program demanded by client(s) and entailing extra expenses
- Snow Cat service
- work of extra guides on second attempt on reserve day
- extra nights in hotel and high hut
- lunches and dinners when staying in hotel
- down jacket
- thick fleece jacket
- thermal underwear
- waterproof breathable outdoor jacket
- shirt with long sleeves (prevents sunburns)
- thick sweater (wool or synthetics)
- fleece pants with long side zips
- wind&waterproof breathable pants with long side zips
- wool or fleece hat
- liner gloves - 2 pairs
- medium weight fleece gloves
- wool or fleece mittens
- wind-stop shell overmittens
- thick socks - 2-3 pairs
- lighter socks - 3 pairs
- light weight trekking boots, or strong sheakers
- climbing boots, plastic or strong leather (must fit in snap-on crampons)
- crampons (must fit your climbing boots), snap-on type preferable
- ice-axe (glacier walking type, not a short "tool" for ice climbing!)
- collapsible ski poles
- glacier glasses
- sit harness
- two screwgate karabiners
- down or synthetic sleeping bag good for -10C
- sleeping pad
- rucksack (40-50 liters)
- 0,7-1 liter thermos
- personal first aid kit;
- head torch
- water bottle
- lip balm (spf 25+) and glacier cream (spf 40)
- pocket knife
At all times while in Russia you should have the following documents: valid passport with Russian visa, immigration card and Voucher (part of our two invitation papers).
For land transfers we use comfortable private minivans. To get to Garabashi huts we use Elbrus cable-ways, car and chair-lift.
Important. In case the Elbrus cable-ways do not work (does happen, but very seldom) and in case you would not want to carry up all the loads on your back, the extra expenditure (not listed in "price includes") on a four-weel truck to the Garabashi huts are to be divided between the clients. Then the cost of the cable-ways tickets will be taken into account.
The same if the group decides to descend after the climb, when the cable-ways will already not work.
On the day of the ascent a Snow Cat can bring you as high as 4600m, 4700m and even to 5000m. This service is highly recommended, for a lot of time on the ascent is spent on walking over vast and almost flat snow fields at lower altitudes. As a matter of fact these distances will be already covered on the acclimatizing outings.
The price per person for this lift depends greatly on the height you want to get to, on the machine's capacity and group size. It may be from 50USD up to 120USD and even more. Your guide will deel with this after discussing the point with the group.
Please plan your arriving to Mineralny Vody before 2pm: the group transfer from Airport to Cheget Village leaves at about 2pm. If you arrive more than half an hour later than that, please be ready to pay for an individual transfer to the hotel (from 50 USD). The group transfer on the way back leaves before noon and is aimed at the earliest client's flight.
Meals are the usual European type. Lunch-packets for outings are chocolate bars, apples, juice, nuts etc.
We will change the menu on demand (as always do for Indonesian, Korean clients etc) and for vegetarians of course. If you personally want something special we will see to it.
Lunches and dinners when in hotel are not included in the price. There are many cafes around where you can choose from wide menues. The prices are pretty low (from 350 to 500 roubles for a good lunch=7-10USD)
In the Baksan valley we put our clients in the Jantamal Hotel on Cheget Village. Double rooms, free Wi-fi in the hall.
Our high hut on Elbrus is at 3750m away from the Barrels. 4 persons in a room. There is a canteen, electricity from a generator, toilet booth outside.
Health-care on the mountain is limited to the first-aid kit the guide carries. Down in the valley in case of serious health problems the local hospital and your medical insurance policy are to take over. Your policy must cover climbing to 6000m. We do not provide any insurance!
Take enough of your personal medicines if you know you might need them.
The English speaking head-guide will look after you while in the mountains. There will be lessons of belaying on snow and cramponning not far from the hut. He will get the forecast and discuss with the group the best time and tactics of the ascent. During the ascent the group will be accompanied by guides-assistants (3-4 clients to a guide), who will bring down the weakened members. A cook will listen to your specific wishes and cook for you.
In any high mountains the higher you go, the more difficult and uncomfortable the conditions. Elbrus is 5642m, so, on this trip the range of your clothes and footwear must comply with hot sunny day down in the valley and with snow blizzard at 0-5C on the mountain. For details see our gear list.
Safety is of the highest priority for us. All the serious ourdoor activities, especially climbing, imply a certain amount of danger. The guides who will work with you on Elbrus are fully responsible for your safety, so their authority in the safety measures during the climbing is indisputable. Their decisions when climbing will be the last and decisive.
The guides will have all the necessary climbing gear, GPS navigators and radioes, mobile phones (they do work on the south side) and first-aid kits.