Day by day description
Day 1. Arrival in Mineralny Vody
Arrival in Mineralny Vody, 30min bus drive to a hotel in the small, cosy town of Pyatigorsk. Weather permitting, Elbrus, which is 70km to south will stand on the horizon. Hotel.
Day 2. Drive to “Emmanuel Meadow”
We leave the town in a 4WD vehicle for a long drive across the high grassy plateaus to the northern foothills of Elbrus. Again, weather permitting, these hours will be not boring, for the landscapes there are superb. Depending on the state of the earth-road, this drive can take from 4 to 6hr. We come to the place called “Emmanuel Meadow” (the camp place of the very first Russian expedition to East summit) with a stone, bearing a memorial inscriptions dating back to 1829 and camp there at 2500m. Camp.
Day 3. Acclimatization outing
Acclimatization outing to the assault camp (3800m). We will use it for bringing there some personal things and gear. On the descent we will see exotic lava outcrops and a mountain lake at 3200m. 6-7hr. Camp.
25 june - 04 july 2016
16 july - 25 july 2016
30 july - 08 august 2016
13 august - 22 august 2016
Included in the price
1. Meeting and seeing off in the Mineralny Vody airport
2. All land group transfers according to the program
3. Accommodation in a hotel on the double room basis - 2 nights
4. Meals: no meals when in hotel, full board from dinner on Day 2 to breakfast on Day 9.
5. Staff: one English speaking guide for the mountain part and extra guides for the planned day of ascent of Elbrus (3-4 clients to one guide), cook
6. Local police registration
7. Luggage storage (not needed on the mountain) when climbing
8. Ropes for climbing
9. Safety measures: radio, first aid kit, registration with Rescue Service.
10. Cooking equipment and fuel
11. Visa support
Not included in the price
1. Moscow services
2. Return air fare to Mineralny Vody
3. Single accommodation supplement
4. Individual car transfers
5. Personal equipment rentals
6. Extra (personal) guides and porters
7. Insurance (medical and other)
8. Any changes in the program initiated by client(s) and entailing extra expenses
9. Work of extra guides on second attempt on reserve day
10. Extra nights in hotel
11. Meals when staying in hotel
Nearest date 25 June - 04 July 2016 г. Duration 10 days / 9 nights Group Group size 5
The highest mountain range of Europe (seven summits over 5000m) is definitely not the Alps, but the Caucasus which goes from the Black to Caspian seas for nearly 1200km, rises at its center part to 5200m and reaches its highest at Mt.Elbrus (5642m).
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.
So, here is Mt.Elbrus, the highest summit of Europe.
Undoubtedly it is the most impressive and beautiful European peak. And easily accessible one.
The price for this climbing trip is far lower than for some of the famous Seven.
We feel these three points can outweight any doubt: to go or not.
Four 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).
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.
Off the caravan ways
Nowadays Elbrus sees dozens of hundreds of people each season from all over the world.
99% of them do the Classic route. We run this trip, it is our staple product, but also we have much more scenic and secluded alternatives to the Classic. It is Elbrus from north, from south-west and a tranverse from south to north.
The heart of the Greater Caucasus, the amazing cluster of five majestic peaks over 50000m called Bezengi is on our offering list as an acclimatising playground for an Elbrus climb.
For easier navigation can suggest the following ranging of our Elbrus climbs:
1. easy technically with maximum comfort and crowds (the Classic)
2. easy technically with less comfort (no hotels and cafes, camping instead of huts), but with a lot of wilderness and fantastic scenery, no crowds (Elbrus from north)
3. mixed: easy technically with maximum comfort and crowds in the south and a lot of wilderness and fantastic scenery and no crowds in the north (Elbrus with traverse from south to north)
3. mixed: more demanding technically (yet quite affordable for novices), hotel in the valley, lift with a cableway, camping at the starting point plus wild high mountain scenery and the total seclusion as a bonus (Elbrus from south-west)
For more information see the detailed programmes.
The northern and southern sides of Elbrus differ strikingly. Standing 11km north of the Main Range, the mountain juts out deep into flat green pastures bounded by dry low bare peaks. 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. A hut taking 15-20 people, stands at 3800m, at the edge of the snow fields stretching to East summit. A big advantage of the route is, that being in the wind shadow of Elbrus, this place has the benefit of better weather.
This climb from the northern side is a small expedition: you go to a Seven Summits peak without using cable-ways and Snow Cats. You do it on foot, like everyone do it nowadays in the Himalayas, Alaska or South America. Going by this route you can climb Elbrus "free", as the pioneers did it, who would undoubtedly refuse not only to accept a "lift" with a Snow Cat but even to take a cable-way itself.
Clothes for Elbrus climb:
- 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.
Footwear for Elbrus climb:
- 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);
Personal climbing gear:
- 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.
Camping and trekking gear:
- down or synthetic sleeping bag good for -10C;
- sleeping pad;
- rucksack (40-50liters);
- 1-1.5liters 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 Emmanuel Glade it is 4WD vehicles, a bit less comfortable.
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.
Meals when in hotel are not included in the price. There is a lot of 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)
3 stars in Kislovodsk (4 or 5 stars - on demand), on a double room basis. Tents are on the same basis.
Health and insurance
Health-care on the mountain is limited to the first-aid kit the guide carries. When in Mineralny Vody and Kislovodsk in case of serious health problems the local hospital and your insurance policy are to take over. Your policy must cover climbing to 6000m.
The English speaking head-guide will look after you while in the mountains. There will be lessons of belaying on snow and cramponning at the starting point. 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.
As on any high mountain a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures should be expected: from freezing-cold nights (down to -5-10C), 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.
Safety and Responsibilities
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.