Moscow - Mineralny Vody - Kislovodsk - Elbrus - Kislovodsk - Mineralny Vody - Moscow
Why go there?
The northern and southern sides of Elbrus differ strikingly. Standing 11km north of the Main Range, the mountain juts out into flat green pastures bounded by dry bare peaks rising to an average height of 3500m. Above the vast grassy Irakhitsyrt plateau (2800-3000m) the silver-grey tongues of the glaciers descend into the fantastic green jungle of pristine moraines adorned with red and black volcanic outcrops of incredible shapes. Cosy alluvial cirques nestle among them and the largest one, called the “air-strip” (2900m), is long and flat enough to take small planes.
To climb Elbrus from the northern side is to follow the tracks of the pioneers, to climb by the route of the first Russian ascent of East Summit of 1829. There are no power transmission lines,
good roads, hotels and cafes here. True wilderness.
A big advantage of the route is that, being in the wind shadow of Elbrus, this area has the considerable benefit of better weather.
||Arrival in Mineralny Vody. Transfer to the base camp called "Emmanuel Glade" at 2500m in the northern foothills of Elbrus. The road is across the high grassy plateaus and these hours will be not boring, for the landscapes there are superb. Weather permitting, Elbrus, which is 70km to south will stand on the horizon. In 4-5hr we come to the Glade (the camp place of the first Russian expedition to Elbrus in 1829; there is a stone there, bearing a memorial inscriptions dating back to that year). Accommodation in huts. Huts.
Important note: please make sure you arrive in MinVody not later than 12.00. The group transfer is planned for 13.00pm.
||Today we go up to 3100-3200m to acclimatize and see some exotic lava outcrops and a mountain lake. 6-7hr. Huts.
||We walk to the assault camp, which is at 3800m on a high moraine bordering the lower snow fields. Now we can look over the multi-colored dry range to north and see the endless pastures stretching to the horizon. Accommodation in a hut. 5-6hr
||For better acclimatisation we spend this day climbing to the lower end of Lents Rocks, the rock band, which goes straight to East Summit. The ascent on snow is not difficult and steep and in 4-5hr we come to the lowest part of Rocks (4800m). Descent will take a couple of hours. Hut. 5-7hr.
||Day of rest and preparations. Also we use it for traning in walking in crampons and getting people out of a crevasse. Walking around the camp. Hut.
||Ascent of Elbrus. We start at 3am, and the climb with descent will take 10-14hr. We follow the line of Lents Rocks and the ascent slope is as gentle as on the classic route. From the summit the the jagged and snowy Caucasus Main Range to south and the immense sweep of the green pastures rolling into the blue haze of the horizon to north are the sights, breathtaking, giddy. Descent to the assault camp. Hut.
||A reserve day to make up for day 6, in case the climb is excluded by bad weather. Descent to the assault camp at 3800m. In case we have done the climb successfully on Day 6, we descend to our base camp at 2500m. Hut.
||Today we board our bus and go back to Kislovodsk and further to MinVody airport. Flight to Moscow. End of trip.
Important note: please make sure your flight to Moscow is not earlier than 19.00pm.
1. All land group transfers
2. Meals: full board in Caucasus from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8
3. Local registration
4. Accommodation in huts and tents
5. Ropes for climbing
6. Safety measures: radio, first aid kit, registration with Rescue Service.
7. Cooking equipment and fuel
8. Staff: two English speaking guides for a group of 6, cook and porters for tents, food, fuel, cooking gear, ropes and 10kg of personal things
Price does not include
1. Any changes in the programme demanding additional expenses
2. Accommodation sigle supplement
3. Personal equipment rentals (only on special demand made in advance)
4. Extra guides and porters
5. Moscow service
6. Return air fare to Mineralny Vody
7. Insurance (medical and other)
This climb is an expedition in wilderness, i.e. all nights are spent in pretty small huts or even tents. It means the space to keep your personal things is rather limited. So, there will be no storage room for “luxury items” (a couple of bottles of whiskey, the thick volume you cannot somehow finish reading for a year etc). A very wise thing would be to keep it all to the unavoidable minimum.
Tips guidelines (important information!)
You entrust your life, health, your time and money to the guides. And the guides take this responsibility for you and for the success of the whole trip. They are doing this 24 hours.
10-20 USD per day is expected as the normal amount of tips for the Guides and the staff of the program. If you liked everything about the trip, please don't forget to thank them. You can give the tips directly or to head guide and he will distribute it among the staff.
Necessary travel papers (documents)
Passport with a valid Russian visa, voucher and immigration card
By air and by land
From Moscow to Mineralny Vody we fly with a Russian air company. Normally it is Aeroflot flying from Sheremetyevo Airport.
For transfers: comfortable private buses or minivans.
Huts (in some cases tents) both on Emmanuel Glade and in assault camp at 3800m.
Full board from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8
Two English speaking guides for a group of 6, cook and porters for food, group equipment (tents, ropes etc) and 10kg of personal things.
Health and medical insurance
Health-care on the mountain is limited to the first-aid kit the guide carries. When in town in case of serious health problems the local hospital and your insurance policy are to take over. Your policy must cover climbing to 6000m .
As on any high mountain a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures should be expected: from freezing-cold nights (down to -5-10ºC), to sizzling hot noons if still and sunny (especially on snow); from a delicious calm under a blue sky to a hurricane slashing your face like a whip. The higher you go, the harsher the conditions. So, your range of clothes and footwear must comply with any of such turns. For details see out gear list.
Practically none on this trip, except some meals in road cafes and cafe on Emmanuel Glade
Satellite Internet might be available. Cell phones do work on the northern side.
Possibility of renting personal equipment
Request must be placed in advance
Heavy-weight fleece / pile jacket
Light/medium-weight, synthetic long underwear shirt (polypropylene/capilene)
Water proof / breathable jacket with hood (Gore Tex is strongly recommended)
Long sleeve, light weight shirt for sun protection (preferably synthetic)
Down or synthetic fill jacket with hood, must fit comfortably over your fleece jacket
Fleece pants (full side zips allow ventilation)
Thermal under wear
Wind- waterproof and breathable pants with full length zips
Liner socks - 2-3 pairs
Wool or poly socks (medium-heavy thickness) - 3 pairs
Light weight trekking boots, or strong shoes
Climbing boots, plastic of leather – must be right for step-in crampons
Liner gloves - 2 pairs
Medium weight fleece gloves
Wool or fleece mittens
Wind-stop shell overmittens
Wool or fleece hat
Glacier glasses with side flaps
Extra pair of your normal glasses, or lenses
Down or synthetic sleeping bag good for -10ºC
Sleeping closed cell foam pad
Day pack – for the summit attempt. Should hold: 1-
Crampons (with a repair kit), must fit your climbing boots
Screwgate carabiner -2
Ice-axe, 60-70 cm (optional)
Collapsible ski poles (a must!)
Personal first aid kit
Lip balm (spf 25+) and glacier cream (spf 40)