Mineralny Vody - Terskol - Elbrus (5642m) - Terskol - Mineralny Vody
If asked about the highest and most dramatic mountains of Europe nine out of ten Europeans will answer “the Alps”. Yet, the grandest and by far the highest mountain chain of Europe (seven summits over 5000m plus Mt.Elbrus with its two summit: 5642m and 5621m) is the Caucasus stretching between the Black and Caspian seas, in the continent’s south-eastern corner.
And undoubtedly, Mt. Elbrus, this white double-headed dormant volcano, is the highest, most beautiful and most alluring mountain in Russia.
The fact that Elbrus is the highest point in Europe suffices for many to go and climb it. Yet, this obvious attraction is not the main one, for Elbrus belongs to a handful of mountains with a very special and irresistible kind of beauty which lies in their shape and setting. Most of them are volcanoes, such as Fujiyama, Ararat and Kilimanjaro, and like all these, this mountain is a world apart. It stands 11km north from the Main Range and exceeds its neighbours in height by 1200-2000m.
The ascent is made easier by using the new high-speed ski-lift (cable car) and if requested, further support by Snow-Cat. This is one of the 7 summits that can be climbed by anyone in reasonable shape. Even if you do not have experience on glaciers and with crampons, as we will teach you on the spot.
Our expeditions have the best services. We are Russian-based, but with multi-lingual guides, have our own special huts, access to the best hotels and guides. We have fixed departures every few days with the highest chance of success.
- Group transfers from the Mineralnye Vody Airport (MRV) to Terskol are included in the price. Please plan your arrival to Mineralny Vody before 13.00 (1 PM). If you arrive much later, you might need to pay 60-70USD for an individual transfer.
- For the same reason please do not plan your return flight from Mineralny Vody to Moscow (on the last day of the trip) before 11.00 (11 AM).
- Most countries need a visa to visit Russia, see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Russia for all details. Note that most of Latin American South African and Israeli citizens (amongst a few others) do NOT need a visa. If you do need a visa, we will supply the needed visa invitation letter free of charge.
Necessary travel papers (documents)
Passport with a valid Russian visa, immigration card, voucher from the Russian tour operator (a part of an invitation letter). See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Russia for details, we will supply the requested invitation lettter/voucher.
By air and by land
From Moscow to Mineralny Vody you will fly with a Russian air company. Normally it is "Aeroflot", but there might be alternatives. Please plan your arriving to Mineralny Vody before 1PM in order to join our group transfer from MRV Airport to Terskol (departure at 13.00/1 AM). If you arrive much later, be ready to pay extra for individual transfer (60-70USD, could be more).
For land transfers we have comfortable private buses or minivans. To get to our Refuge we use Elbrus Cable-way; from 3750m to 4600m/5100 on the Elbrus summitt we normally take a Snow Cat (not included in the price!).
A hotel in the Baksan Valley.
On Elbrus: our special huts. From 2019 we will use our new hut, which has single beds: no more dangerous and annoying bunk beds with moving upstairs neighbours, enough space for your boots, clothes and gear!
Full board from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8.
An English speaking guide from 7 Summit Club for the whole program and extra guides for the Elbrus summit day (2-3 clients per guide); a cook at the hut.
Health and medical insurance
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 insurance policy are to take over. Your policy must cover climbing to 6000m/20,000ft.
As on any high mountain a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures should be expected: from freezing-cold nights (down to -5/-10ºC, 20-10F), to sizzling hot afternoons if it's still and sunny (especially on the 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, the range of your clothes and footwear must comply with any of such possibilities. For details see our gear list below.
In Caucasus meals are relatively cheap: you can have a decent additional meal with meat and beer for 8-10USD.
Wi-fi access to Internet in each room in our hotel; cell phone works in the Baksan Valley and on Elbrus up to 5000m
Possibility of renting personal equipment
Any climbing gear you can rent in our office in Terskol.
Heavy-weight fleece 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
Double climbing boots
Crampons (must fit your climbing boots)
Collapsible ski poles
Down or synthetic sleeping bag good for -10ºC/-20F
Sleeping closed cell foam pad
Karabiners with screwgate lockers - 3 items
1-1.5 liters thermos
Personal first aid kit
Lip balm (spf 25+) and glacier cream (spf 40)