Elbrus preparation

Flights
You need to arrive into Mineralyne Vody (airport code: MRV). Most arrivals into MRV go via Moscow. When you book your airline ticket you should tell your agent that you need to arrive into MRV on the morning of the advertised start date of the climb, you should then return home or fly to Moscow if staying there for a few days on the afternoon of the expedition end date.

Please be aware that there are three airports in Moscow! Most international flights will come into Domodedovo code: DME (Cyrillic : Домоде́дово) or Sheremetyevo, code SVO (Cyrillic : Шереме́тьево).

Many carriers fly into Moscow but limited carriers connect to MRV, therefore it may be necessary to book two flights rather than one through ticket being 1) from your home to Moscow return and 2) from Moscow to MRV return. Aeroflot Russian Airlines will fly from many international airports and then also fly on from Moscow to Mineralnye Vody, both probably via Sheremetyevo airport.

With other airlines you will probably have two seperate tickets and fly through Domodedovo, if this is the case you will need to collect your luggage and check in again for the second flight. Please leave plenty of time for this, at least 4 hours, as the second flight operator will not make any allowance for the first if it is delayed or there is a problem with luggage/immigration.

Example: If flying from London you need to book London to DME or SVO return and then either SVO to MRV return or DME to MRV return. You should ensure that your internal flights use the same airport as your international arrival / departure. Transfers are possible between the airports but they can take a long time and can be expensive. This all sounds complicated but it won't be any problem for your flight agent.

A flight agent that we recommend is www.dialaflight.com. They handle our own staff flights and they have a proven track record. Contact aa@dialaflight.co.uk or 020-8935-9040 and say that you are an Adventure Alternative client.

If you have any concerns at all with your flights then please do speak to us before you book them.

Vaccinations and Travel Health
There are no required vaccinations required for entry to Russia however you should consult your doctor if you have any concerns regarding existing conditions or health issues.

We have a contract with Interhealth in London which can provide expert travel advice and guidance on travel in any country. Benefits include:
* Free travel consultations and health advice with a medical team to discuss pre-travel requirements such as malaria prevention and vaccination requirements. Tel: 020 7902 9033- 2-3pm Mon-Fri or doctors@interhealth.org.uk
* Access to our own Online Travel Health Advice Centre
* Urgent medical advice – for serious health issues, available 24 hours a day. emergency phone line: 079 7325 0026

Baggage

Please clearly mark your luggage with your own contact details and the following for Adventure Alternative in Russia (you can copy and paste this image into word or paint to print it):-

Please also ensure that you retain your half of the luggage tags that are put on your bags at check-in. This is sometimes stuck to your boarding pass or passport. Some airports in Russia will not allow you out of the terminal with a bag that you don’t have the corresponding tag for.

Insurance
We advise you to take out your insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip. Because Elbrus is in a region which has an FCO warning against all but essential travel you may find that your normal policy is void.

We advise clients to buy their insurance for Mt Elbrus from Campbell Irvine Specialists as they understand the issues above. For quotes you can contact them by calling: Tel: 020 7938 1734 (UK) or from Ireland on +44 20 7938 1734 alternatively you can send an email to info@campbellirvine.com.

You need to ensure that you have a policy which covers trekking to high altitude, but it does not need to cover technical climbing. You should bring with you a copy of your policy and ensure that other people knows where you keep it. It is also worth bringing a photocopy of your passport and to keep it separate to your own documents just in case you lose your passport. 

Visa

You will need to have had your visa issued prior to travel and it will consist of a full page insert into your passport. Please bring a couple of copies of this page and of the main page of your passport. Sasha may need to take at least one of these copies for official registrations at the various government checkpoints and you should also keep a copy with you somewhere safe. The visa is virtually impossible to alter or extend so make sure that it is correct well before you travel.

There is a section on our Russian country page with more information on obtaining the visa. 

Money

The local currency in Russia is the Rouble. You can obtain Roubles prior to travelling and this is probably the best option. There are ATMs in Moscow which takes Visa and Mastercard, and there are bank with forex facilities, however, depending on your flight times you may not have time to visit these facilities. If you bring home currency do remember to have small denomination notes because many local places will not be able to offer change for large notes. You can take sterling, euro or dollars, and change it easily, including small amounts at the hotel desk. If you are travelling from Northern Ireland or Scotland then remember to bring Bank of England sterling notes, you may have difficulty changing regional notes.

It's a good idea to carry a small amount of Russian Rubles, preferably in low denominations, for transport and refreshment purposes. These are best stored in a small wallet separate from your main currency, cards, passport etc so that you can access them easily without flashing all your valuables in public.

Arrival

Adventure Alternative guide Alexander 'Sasha' Lebedev will meet you at Mineralnye Vody airport. 

Sasha will also subsequently arrange a team briefing with the whole team including any additional guides. They will discuss everything about the trip and what you need, equipment rentals and timings for the departure to the trip location. If you have any last minute queries about clothing or equipment please raise this with Sasha who will check the suitability of your own gear and advise whether to hire additional equipment.