Elbrus climb by Classic route, 8 days
Group size: 6-10
1 490 USD
Deposit: 300 USD
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.
||You should arrive in Mineralnye Vody (Airport: MRV), which is the gateway to the Caucasus. From there we travel for 3.5-4 hrs in a private bus on a good paved road across plains, through small towns and villages into the Baksan valley. Hotel accommodation.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please plan your arrival to Mineralny Vody before 13.00/1pm, when the group transfer from the airport to Terskol departs. If you arrive much later, be ready to pay 60-70USD for an individual car transfer.
||In the morning we go for acclimatization to the "Ai" cafe. It is an easy day and we are back to hotel early enough to visit the rental gear office, to organize and try on rented gear. Return to hotel.
||We go by bus to Azau station (2356m), the start of the Elbrus cable car, and will ascend to the white open spaces of the Elbrus snow fields. We leave our things in the mountain hut where we will stay later that night, and will ascend a bit further to acclimatise.
We will pass several huts and in about 1.5 hrs we will arrive to the famous Refuge of 11, 4100m (burnt down in 1998). Here we spend a couple of hours on snow training (crampons, ropes) and then we go back down to our hut for the night.
||Today we go again up, to the snow fields to Pastukhov Rocks (4750m) to accclimatise. Descent to Refuge.
||Day of rest and preparation. Dinner and overnight in the hut.
||The long and hard Elbrus summit day. When ascending we can take a ride with a Snow Cat to the top of Pastukhov Rocks (4750m) or to the start of the traverse (5100m). See the 'price does not include' section above for the addditional costs.
From the saddle (5300m) between the two summits a snow slope of 30-35degree (about 150m) leads to the summit plateau, from where the stunningly contrasting views to south and north open up and a final short ascent will take you to the West summit of Elbrus, the summit of Europe.
The return trip to the hut normally takes 10-14hr. Often the long descent is even more exhausting that ascent, so to save time and energy (and feet) there is another option to ride the snow cat down as well. Normally we descend the same day to the valley so we can enjoy our great hotel. If we arrive to late for the last cable car, we can stay the night in the hut.
||Reserve day and descent to the hotel in the valley or a full day in hotel if the Elbrus summit was climbed on Day 6. Party in the evening! Hotel.
||Bus drive to Mineralny Vody for your flight out to Moscow. End of trip.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Our group transfer from the hotel to the airport starts early, but please plan your flight back to Moscow from 11am onwards.
- All land group transfers according to the program
- Accommodation in the Povorot or Azau Star hotel in Terskol (3-4 nights)
- Accommodation in our special huts on Elbrus (3-4 nights). No more double bunk beds!
- Meals: full board from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8
- One English speaking guide and extra guides for the day of ascent of Elbrus (3 clients to one guide)
- Elbrus cable-ways return tickets
- Climbing ropes
- Elbrus national park fees
- Visa invitation if needed (depending on nationality)
- 7summits-club t-shirt, buff and a small foldable backpack.
- If you summit, you get the special 7summits-club Elbrus medal!
Price does not include
- International airfare
- Moscow services
- Return airfare to Mineralny Vody
- Single accommodation supplement
- Individual car transfers (group transfers are included)
- Personal equipment rentals
- Extra (personal) guides and porters
- Insurance (medical and other)
- Any changes in the program causing extra expenses
- Snow Cat service on summit day. This must be paid in cash in Rubles, though if needed, your guides can assist if you only have USD left. The additional costs for the snowcat depend on how high the snowcat will take you (to Pastukhov Rocks at 4600m or to the start of the traverse at 5100m) and if you want to take the snowcat only up, or also down. The costs will be between 5000 and 17,500 Rubles, which is approximately between USD $75-275, depending on the day rate.
- Services of the assistant guides on reserve day (Day 7) if the first summit attempt (Day 6) took place but was aborted (due to any reason: health, weather, etc). In this case, the work of the assistant guides on Day 7 should be paid for in cash on the spot.
- 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)