Overview

Climb of Mount Elbrus - South route

We offer an eleven day guided climb of Mount Elbrus by the easier south route with five or six trips every season from May to August. The nearest airport is Mineralnye Vody (normally via Moscow) and the minibus journey to the Baksan Valley is about four hours.

Accommodation is in a local hotel in the village of Cheget called Hotel Nakra. We acclimatise for three days hiking in the surrounding hills before going on the mountain for a total of six days staying in comfortable mountain huts (rooms sleep up to six). This allows for excellent acclimatisation and two possible summit attempts. The ratio of guide to client is 1:4 for mountain days and 1:6 for valley days and our average summit success rate is 85% on those days when the weather allows a summit attempt.

Our trip package includes all accommodation, transport, meals and guides. There are no kitties or extra expenses other than those listed. 

Mount Elbrus is the highest peak in the Caucasus and in Europe, and one of the famous Seven Summits. The South route is the most common ascent route offering more infrastructure and access to ski lifts and snow machines for carrying equipment and more developed mountain hut accommodation. With an elevation of 5642 metres, Mt Elbrus is a fine ascent which requires basic mountaineering skills, although altitude and unpredictable weather make for a challenging and adventurous trip. It is perfect for people who wish to gain ice and snow experience as full training is given.

Despite the fact that it is not a very technical peak to climb, people can get into trouble on this mountain largely due to carelessness, forgetting basic mountaineering principles of going to high altitude and trying to cut costs. Common practises include not providing enough days to acclimatise, and starting the summit day from a lower altitude to avoid the more expensive higher huts. Guides are often working back-to-back trips with no rest, and clients are often given no training in self-arrest or safe movement on crampons. 

Mountain guides on Elbrus

We are very proud of our staff who have been working with us since 1999 and are highly experienced and knowledgeable. Sasha Lebedev is our lead guide and organiser; he is also an award-winning author, photographer and anthropologist. Together with Gavin Bate they have achieved a 100% safety track record for Adventure Alternative on the mountain since 1999, largely due to a proper acclimatisation plan, providing proper training on the snow and ice and safe guiding. Other main guides are Jura Lutsak and Sasha Schukin, plus a pool of local guides and mountain rescue personnel who are very well known to us.

"Adventure Alternative were brilliant from the word go. Their communication and personal touch from the outset made this an adventure that will live long in the memory. Everything was planned brilliantly, making sure that everyone felt safe and most importantly summited Mt Elbrus.

We had a guide who was vastly experienced and always made sure you were safe while enjoying the whole experience. It was a very friendly atmosphere with enough variation in the acclimatisation climbs to keep everyone motivated and enthralled by the amazing place we were in. Seeing other groups form other companies rush the experience confirmed that I really had made the right choice." (S.Butler, 2016)

Mount Elbrus Programme

The first few days of acclimatisation in the valleys are very enjoyable and give a taste of the region and the beauty of trekking in Russia. Some people say it is like the Alps fifty years ago, the local food and drink is excellent and there is lots to see and do. This is an important time for acclimatising and very enjoyable, staying in the hotel and having Russian saunas after a days Alpine walking to a maximum height of around 11,000 feet.

Once acclimatised the group move onto the mountain, carrying only day sacks (main bags are taken by cable car and snow machine) and staying in the huts which are quite comfortable with eating areas and either bedrooms or dormitory areas. Toilets are 'long drops' and there are no showers. After a few days practising with crampons and further acclimatising to the height of Pastukhov rocks, it is a matter of waiting for the weather to allow for a summit period.

From the final National Park Hut to the summit is completed in one day but there will be a prior acclimatisation trek up as far as the Pastukhov Rocks which is around 16,000'. On the summit morning a snow machine ("ratrack") takes you back to these rocks early in the morning which allows time to summit by about midday and descend in the afternoon. We do provide two opportunities to summit the mountain if weather is bad, depending on acclimatization and the group itself. 

For an entertaining read here is an article on climbing Mount Elbrus by our friends at Sleeping Wild, and the summit days on Elbrus
Adventure film maker Elia Saikaly offers salutary advice on climbing Mount Elbrus and mentions Adventure Alternative. 

No hidden extras

We know that many people hate to arrive into a country and be surprised by hidden costs or essential trip elements not being included in the expedition fee so we offer a comprehensive expedition with no hidden fees or kitties. All meals, land travel, accommodation, saunas, park fees, snow cat and staff salaries are included. The only thing you need to pay for on the ground is additional drinks or other items of a personal nature such as souvenirs or phone calls, and any kit rental you might need. 

Additionally our itinerary is long enough to give excellent acclimatization and two summit days. Less days are dangerous for a peak just short of 6000 metres (equivalent to Camp 1 on Mount Everest). Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of summitting reduce to around 25% and it is potentially dangerous.

Russia is full of red tape and only experienced companies that know the right people and have the right contacts and history in the region smoothly run expeditions in the region. We have years of experience (from 1999) and an excellent team to look after you so that you get the best out of your time in Russia.

What is the route like on Elbrus? 

The ascent of the West Peak (Standard Route, South Face) is a long ascent over a moderate incline that requires good acclimatization but has few technical difficulties or objective dangers such as crevasses. However, despite the apparent simplicity of this route, it can be dangerous. The altitude, variable weather and low temperature transforms the ascent into a real high altitude adventure. 

It follows the broad slope as far as the small rock islands known as Pastukhov Rocks and continues straight up for 400 metres towards the East Peak, gradually bearing left until reaching the saddle or col which is a good place to rest and eat. Head west and to the left side of the saddle, ascending the steeper snow slope on a rising traverse to the shoulder of the West Peak and a short distance directly up to the plateau. After crossing the broad and largely featureless plateau there is a short ascent to gain the small summit pinnacle.

The average time is from eight to ten hours for the ascent and about four hours for the descent. Crampons, ski poles and a walking axe are necessary, as well as a harness, slings and karabiners for safety, especially on the rising traverse above the Saddle where there is a fixed line to clip into. Helmets are not mandatory, there is no danger of rockfall from above but a chance of head injury in the event of a fall.

Map of Elbrus

elbrus map.jpg

Key points on the mountain:

Azau Valley:           2350m  - this is the height of the towns of Terskol and Cheget
Glacier Lake:          3300m  - this is a lake we sometimes visit on acclimatisation days
Bockha Barrels:      3750m  - top of the chair lift and the summer snow line, also known as Garabashi
National Park Huts: 3900m  - these are seven new huts which we use as the mountain base
Priut–11 Hut:         4050m   - the famous old hut which was burnt down and is now not used
Pastukhov Rocks:    4670m - the high point of the acclimatisation walks
Saddle:                  5300m  - between the two peaks of the mountain
West Summit:        5642m - 50 metres higher than the east peak

Read our blog entitled Huts on Elbrus for the full history of the mountain and pictures of all the huts. 

Experience for Mount Elbrus

It is certainly beneficial to have experience of moving on snow and ice for this trip to Mt Elbrus although we provide on-site training in alpine skills such as moving on crampons and self-arrest with a walking axe. This trip tends to attract a wide range of abilities, from people with Seven Summits aspirations who have climbed Kilimanjaro, to experienced hill walkers. This does mean that we have to be sure that everybody has the necessary skills for safety on the hill such as personal movement, understanding of layering and personal climate, handling a slip, being familiar with all the equipment and working in a team.

Elbrus is often sold as a walking holiday, but the weather means it can often turn out to be a proper winter mountaineering experience even in the height of the summer season. Comparisons to Kilimanjaro don't work really; this is a lower peak but much colder and requiring movement over permanent snow-covered slopes. Even though the normal route is clear and safe, the mentality towards experience has to be focussed on winter skills. 

Fitness training for Elbrus

We recommend you work towards this trip with the aim of being capable of multiple days out on the hill carrying a pack up to 10kgs. People who are active in the hills generally have few problems on Mount Elbrus, but extra work on the calf muscles and thigh muscles will help. Cardio-vascular fitness can be assisted by swimming, circuit training and working on a HIIT programme. 

Altitude is not such a problem on Elbrus because of our acclimatisation programme but summit day is still a big jump in altitude and a long day on the hill in the cold. Eating, drinking and sleeping well and keeping healthy at altitude are equally as important. Our programme allows everyone to build their 'mountain fitness' before going high and acclimatising not just to the height but also the climate and new surroundings. Fitness is mental as well as physical, so we like to promote a happy and positive team spirit before rushing to the top!

Equipment for Elbrus

July and August are normally quite hot in the valley so you could be wearing shorts and T-shirts with a fleece for the hikes. However you should prepare for winter conditions on the mountain itself. It can be extremely cold and windy with either hard pack, ice or soft snow on the trail. 
Make sure boots are double boots (plastic or hybrid), down jackets are mountain quality with hoods, mitts and gloves are warm and waterproof for the snow. Take sunglasses which cover around the eyes because the reflected glare off the snow can be intense, and goggles can either be full UV or yellow tinted for whiteout conditions. Good layering is essential and your daysack should be big enough to accommodate the bulky clothes when you are not wearing them. 
For the colder June trips it is important to be particular about the warmth value of your equipment, especially jackets, hats, gloves and mitts and good quality socks in your boots. The slopes are more likely to be hard pack and ice so crampons should be sharp. 
For the climbing equipment we recommend a straight walking axe for use on easy slopes and for self arrest, and lightweight is best. Crampons can be 10 point since there is no front pointing, either strap on or clip on depending on your boot. An alpine harness with a 120cm sling and two locking karabiners in case of needing to rope up and also for tying into the fixed line are also necessary. Helmets are optional, there is no danger of rockfall from above but head injuries can be caused in a fall. 

Mountain facilities on Elbrus

What are the huts like inside? - The newer National Park huts have electricity and wi-fi, with rooms that accommodate up to six people in bunks that have mattresses. You need to bring your own sleeping bag. There is electricity and some heating.

What type of food do we get on the mountain? - We bring our own cook and fresh supplies, and there is a kitchen area where meals are prepared. Soups, stews, pasta, chicken, rice, potatoes and vegetables. Mostly meals high in carbs, plus hot drinks with sweets and biscuits. For breakfast mostly porridge and bread with preserves.  

What about washing facilities? - There is an opportunity to get some hot water to wash your face and hands but no showers. 

What about the toilets? - In the new huts the toilets are good but still long drops, but much better than the old infamous ones at Priut-11 hut. Bring some toilet paper of your own and hand gel. 

How is water prepared? - All water is boiled from the ice and filtered into thermos flasks or used for hot drinks.  

Do any of the huts have bottles of oxygen or Gamow bags? - No, because there is very quick descent access with the snowcats and on the chair lifts and cable cars. It is very easy to get a sick person down to low altitude very quickly. 

Is there helicopter evacuation on Elbrus? - No, again because the speed of descent is so quick with the snow cats and cable cars. Further up, rescues are managed by the snow cats and the guides and mountain rescue personnel. 

How are the snowcats managed on Elbrus and how much do they cost? - Snowcats are owned by individuals who are contactable by mobile phone. They generally try to fill a vehicle with up to 11 people plus kit on a summit morning to take them up to Pastukhov Rocks, and this is organised amongst the Russian guides. Prices change according to numbers but an average is 90 euro per person for a one-way trip. For descents, it is possible to call a snowcat to as high as 5000 metres to pick up a team but the price will be higher, again depending on group size. 
For our groups we pay for the ascent to Pastukhov Rocks and also for transferring gear to the huts out of the trip fee, but any additional journeys which are not emergencies have to be paid extra by the clients. 

What happens in an emergency on Elbrus? - All mountain situations are handled by the guides and mountain rescue personnel on the ground, who liaise with the snow cat drivers to effect the optimal rescue scenario. Any emergency descent due to health risk or extreme weather is paid for by the company. There is an emergency shelter in the Saddle where people can rest and mobile phone signal across part of the lower route (not in the Saddle or on the summit). There is no helicopter available so rescues happen using all available human resources on the higher slopes, followed by snowcats from about 5000 metres down to the chair lifts and cable cars. In the valley there is a small clinic and there is a main hospital in Nalchik, about 2 hours down the road. 

How can we monitor our altitude health on the mountain? - We provide our guides with pulse oximeters to provide a general assessment of oxygen saturation percentage in the blood, and also a stethoscope to listen for potential liquid on the lungs for pulmonary conditions. They also carry common altitude drugs like Diamox. However the guides are not Doctors and therefore each person is free to use these items for self-assessment and discuss any decisions about continuing ascent. The number one rule though is that any sort of persistent altitude symptoms should be treated with a descent. 

How many times do we get to try and summit? - Two. However in our experience if you try the first time and get turned back by weather or exhaustion, then it is extremely difficult to gather the reserves of energy to try and again the following morning. The two days are mainly to cover weather delays. 

Why climb with us?

  • We have our own registered guiding company in Russia with guides who have worked with us since 1999 and a reputable network of support staff. Organising trekking trips in Russia is not easy and we take care of all the bureaucracy. 

  • Our price has no kitties or hidden extras. We include snow machine and cable car costs for the ascent, all meals, a cook with every group providing fresh food, and the correct ratio of guides. 
  • We provide training in alpine skills on the mountain including self-arrest, crampon movement, using a walking axe correctly. We also provide a comprehensive personalised pre-trip advice service with our head guide. 

  • We do not attempt the summit in too short a time, our trip allows for good acclimatisation and adequate climbing period with two possible summit windows if the weather and the group capability allows.

  • We guide you through all the preparation for the trip to Elbrus including providing the letter of invitation for the Russian visa which allows you to climb the mountain. Safety is our number one priority.

Going on a climbing trip to Elbrus

Climbing the tallest mountain in Europe is a highlight in any outdoor and adventure travel career. With that being said, there are a few differences from home that we would like to shed some light on.

Organisation and services in Russia can be very unpredictable. Adventure Alternative guide Sasha and Andrey in the Moscow office will be spending a large amount of time prior to your trip and during its course in contact with various other people trying to ensure that everything runs smoothly. However, the Russian organisational and political culture is different to that in the West and the rules are sometimes changed at the drop of a hat with no explanation or chances for appeal.

Do not be too surprised if a routine check of papers takes 3 hours rather than the 15 minutes that it would appear to need. Be assured that Sasha will get the process over with as quickly as possible. He is very good at this after a lifetime of dealing with these issues. To a Western eye, however, it may look like he is not pushing for service, this may sometimes be the worst possible thing to do and will result in an even longer wait. Please do trust Sasha's judgement on this.

Security

There are occasional reports of instability in the region and we advise all clients to read the FCO website. We make our decision to run our trips based on continual fact-finding from many different sources. Sasha, our Russian Director, is always in touch with local people in the region and every year before the season begins he will visit and assess the local situation. We carry out our threat analyses and risk assessments and make our decisions. In 20 years we have not yet cancelled a trip, and none of our groups have ever run into any problems. Clearly however the decision about whether to go or not is yours, and all we can do is assure you that we have many years of comparison and experience to draw on.

Dates & Bookings

Fixed Itineraries
Start Date
12/07/2017
End Date
14/07/2017
Days
2
Price
£1bn dollars
£1bn dollars
Start Date
24/05/2019
End Date
03/06/2019
Days
11
Price
£1595
Start Date
07/06/2019
End Date
17/06/2019
Days
11
Price
£1595
Start Date
21/06/2019
End Date
01/07/2019
Days
11
Price
£1595
Start Date
05/07/2019
End Date
15/07/2019
Days
11
Price
£1595
Start Date
19/07/2019
End Date
29/07/2019
Days
11
Price
£1595
Start Date
09/08/2019
End Date
19/08/2019
Days
11
Price
£1595

Itinerary

Mount Elbrus itinerary

The trip is eleven days in total, with optional Moscow tours before or after. 

  • Arrival at Mineralnye Vody in Russia and travel by minibus to mountains- 1 day
  • Acclimatisation walks up to 3500 metres and staying in hotel in valley - 3 days
  • Ascend to National Park Hut at 3900 metres, acclimatisation and summit days, return to valley hotel - 6 days
  • Return to airport and depart- 1 day

Aim to arrive at Mineralynye Vody in the morning of the start date. If you arrive into Moscow the day before then you can stay in an airport hotel before catching the morning flight to Mineralnye Vody. 

At the end of the trip book an afternoon flight out of Mineralnye Vody, in order to give yourself enough time to get to the airport. 

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).

Trip Extension: Since most flights go via Moscow it is possible to spend some time in the city before or after the trip. Andrey Panin in Moscow can organise airport pick-ups, hotel bookings, local tours or bookings for any shows you may like to see. 

DayElevationTravel TimeInfo
1 2000m 4 hrs Arrive into Mineralyne Vody (MRV) airport in the morning and met by staff. Transfer by minibus to Terskol (4 hours). Accommodation in local Hotel Nakra, full board. 
2 2125m - 3000m  6 - 8 hrs Day hike to Cheget Mountain (3000m), lunch enroute and return to hotel where your guide will check your kit before our evening meal.
3 2125m - 3000m  5 hrs Day hike to Terskol Observatory (3090m) with lunch enroute and return to hotel for evening meal and Russian sauna. 
4 2125m - 3500m  6 hrs Drive to the Azau Glade (2350m) and up to Mir station (3500m) - 4hrs up and 2hrs down. Lunch in the meadow and back to hotel. Collect any rental gear in town. 
5 2125m - 3900m  5 hrs Ascend on foot to National Park Hut (3900m) with equipment and bags going by cable car. Afternoon walk up to Priut Hut (4100m) and exercise at altitude, weather dependant. Dinner and overnight in National Park hut. 
6 3900m 6 hrs Hike to Pastukhov Rocks (4670m) for more acclimatisation and return to National Park Hut 3900m. Weather dependent, could be rest day as below. 
7 3900m   3 hrs Rest and training day in use of clothing and equipment such as crampons and ice axe, personal movement and dealing with cold and altitude. Back to hut for dinner and overnight.
8 3900m 12 hrs 1st possible summit day - awake at 3am. Snow machine to Pastukhov Rocks (this ground has already been covered on foot in previous days) and continue to summit. Return to National Park hut. 
9 3900m - 5642m - 3900m 12 hrs

Return to Terskol Hotel or 2nd summit attempt. (extra days in Terskol, in the case of an early summit allow for further hikes around Mt Elbrus)

10 3900m - 2125m 12 hrs

Return to Terskol if summit attempted on day 9. Or hikes and rent in valley.

11 2125m 4 hrs Early Breakfast in the hotel and transfer to Mineralnye Vody airport. Flight to Moscow and onward travel, or stopover in Moscow for trip extension.

Cost

Mount Elbrus cost £1,595.00

INCLUDES

  • Visa application papers (please note that some nationalities are charged an additional amount for travel papers)
  • Municipal registration in the administrative centre of Tyrnauz which covers the Baksan Valley
  • Minibus transfers to and from the Baksan Valley from the airport
  • Hotel in Cheget with drying rooms, sauna, restaurant and twin rooms
  • All hotel and restaurant meals and local taxis
  • Mount Elbrus National Park fees
  • All cable cars and chair lifts on the mountain
  • Accommodation in the National Park hut
  • All meals on the mountain and our own cook
  • Snow machine to Pastukhov Rocks on the summit morning and use of snow machine for transfer of equipment to the hut
  • Staff: Sasha Lebedev Mountain guide and additional guides
  • Andrey Panin - Moscow guide and translator, office administration

EXCLUDES

  • Flights - to Mineralnye Vody, Russia (usually via Moscow)
  • Russian Visa - £85 - £110 (depends on speed of delivery, nationality & postage return option). Please also note that nowadays you are required to appear in person at the visa office in order to provide fingerprints, so there is an additional cost of travel to the visa office.
  • Some consulates (usually Middle-Eastern & Eastern) require original visa travel papers. The cost of sending these by courier is not covered.
  • Some nationalities are charged an additional premium for their travel papers which is not included (details below)
  • Travel insurance estimate £75
  • Personal expenses estimate £50 for drinks and souvenirs
  • Equipment hire - we have key items for rent on this website, there are also local shops in the village. 
  • Single room supplement in Cheget - £160 for all days in the village (single accommodation is not possible in the mountain hut)
  • Use of snowcat on descent only (however if one is needed for safety reasons then we will pay for it)


Kit hire from Adventure Alternative

  • Crampons: £20.00 per trip -  lightweight 10 point crampons - C1 and C2.
  • Walking Axe: £20.00 per trip - 60cm walking axe with basic adze and a straight pick. Includes leash. 
  • Karabiners - 2 for £10
  • Slings - 120cm for £5
  • Harness - £15.00 

Payments

A deposit of £100 is required on booking to secure your place and the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 6 weeks prior to your departure. 

Travel 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 from Europe to buy their insurance for Mt Elbrus from Campbell Irvine Specialists. If you are outside of Europe you may need to research a local provider or contact us for details.

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 process in Russia:

The visa process happens in 3 stages:
1) 6 weeks prior to entry we apply for your visa support papers (invitation letter and voucher) and to do so we need a photo of your passport ID page and your flight details
2) 5 1/2 weeks prior to entry we email you your papers and a guideline for applying for your visa
3) You apply for your visa through your local Russian Visa office

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. 

Visa Support Papers - possible extra costs:

The cost for producing the visa support papers is included in the trip fee, however for some nationalities the producers charge an extra premium, which is not included in the trip fee. This extra fee usually applies to Asian, African and Arabian passport holders and is currently $100. 

The majority of Russian visa offices around the globe are happy to accept a digital pdf / print out of your visa support papers, however occasionally some will request the original copies. If this is the case then they will need to be sent by courier to you and this cost is not covered in the trip fee.

In 2016 it was made mandatory that tourists coming from the UK, Denmark, Myanmar or Namibia must visit the Visa application centre in person to apply for the Russian Visa as they have started to collect biometric data of foreign nationals (finger prints). If you are applying for your visa in the UK this means that you will need to go to the London, Manchester or Edinburgh Visa office in person. In other countries can usually do everything by post / mail.

Money

The local currency in Russia is the Rouble. You can obtain roubles prior to travelling and this is probably the best option although there are ATMs in Moscow which takes Visa and Mastercard and banks with forex facilities. If you bring currency do remember to have small denomination notes because many local places will not be able to offer change for large notes. You can small quantities of sterling, euro or dollars at the hotel desk in Cheget but there are no proper facilities in the town. If you are travelling from Northern Ireland or Scotland then remember to bring Bank of England sterling notes, as you will not be able to change regional notes.

Kit List

Mount Elbrus Kit List

Elbrus requires good quality winter mountain clothing. Please do contact us for specific questions about clothing and equipment, models and types. 

Some climbing items we offer for rent, and the shops in Terskol also offer a wide range of climbing gear, clothing and boots. 

Travel and Trekking

  • Travel Clothes - you can leave these in the hotel
  • Trekking clothes for acclimatisation hikes (valley and up to 2000m) 
  • Fleece jacket or a good quality soft shell jacket or lightweight down jacket (also for mountain)
  • Waterproof jacket (also for mountain)
  • Day sack 
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen and lipscreen - high protection
  • Hiking boots (also for lower part of mountain and in hut)
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses - high UV protection
  • Towel and shorts and maybe crocs for sauna

Mountain clothes

  • Base layer - top and bottom (one set should be fine)
  • Insulated trousers (you can also wear a base layer plus hiking trousers and shell bottoms)
  • Mid layer fleeces
  • Fleece jacket or a good quality soft shell jacket or lightweight synthetic down 'nano' jacket
  • Mountain down jacket with hood - for winter conditions
  • Outer shell trousers and jacket with hood

Head, hands and feet

  • Warm hat preferably with ear covers
  • Balaclava or buff
  • Mountain socks, hiking socks and underwear (merino is good)
  • Liner gloves - thin gloves which can be worn under your fleece gloves or mitts
  • Fleece gloves or mountain gloves which are waterproof and warm
  • Mitts - windproof and warm - make sure these are mountain quality
  • Plastic mountain boots or good quality hybrids - good quality 'double boot' standard. If you are planning to buy a new pair do look at our High Altitude Boot Blog, and take into account what you will be using the boots for in the future. 
  • Hut shoes - crocs or something similar, or you can use your hiking boots
  • Goggles
  • Gaiters - necessary in soft deep snow

Climbing equipment

  • Walking axe - preferably with leash and rubber end protectors
  • Crampons - 10 points are acceptable for this trip, there is no front pointing required. 
  • Harness - preferably alpine style with clips on the leg loops and a comfortable fleece waistband
  • 1 x 120cm sling and 2 locking karabiners - for easy tying into a fixed line
  • Helmet - optional. There is no danger of rockfall from above but head injuries can occur in the event of a fall. 

Other equipment

  • Expedition bag/duffle bag for main gear (with padlock)
  • Rucksack for hikes and summit day, 40 litres should be ample
  • Light bag for leaving travel clothes in the hotel during the trip
  • Sleeping bag, 3 or 4 season - the huts can get quite warm and the beds have mattresses
  • Flask for hot drinks, 1 litre is best
  • Personal health kit, wash kit and medicines
  • Trekking poles with snow baskets 
  • Dry bags - selection for keeping clothes and sleeping bag dry
  • Dirty clothes bag
  • Headtorch with spare batteries
  • Snacks from home, energy bars etc


You can buy a climbing map of Elbrus from Climbing-map.com

Renting kit on Elbrus

We rent equipment on our website, or from one of the rental shops in Cheget or Terskol. A guideline to local prices of popular items are below. The area is a popular ski resort in winter so most clothing and kit is available for buying or for rent. 

Plastic boots - £8 per day  
Down jacket - £7 per day 
Mitts - £2 per day
Gaiters - £1 per day
Goggles - £2 per day
Thermos - £1 per day

If you are based in the UK or Ireland then our clients receive a discount from the Outdoor Hire shop.The photos below are all taken around the same time of year but notice the difference in clothing - here you can see that you must be prepared for all conditions!

Baggage

Please clearly mark your luggage with your own contact details and the following for Adventure Alternative in Russia:

When you exit the airport at Mineralnye Vody you will need to show your baggage tag to match with the one on your bag. 

Images of weather conditions on Elbrus in July and August

13934567_1280887181943332_2001211467828727738_n.jpg

A typical change in weather on Elbrus with whiteout conditions, extreme cold and wind. Goggles, shell outer layer, mitts and mountain hats are mandatory. Note the person in red with harness and tied into a rope in these conditions to prevent people wandering off route. 

 elbrus 4.jpg
A clear cold day on Elbrus can be minus 20 on the summit, still requiring mountain down jackets, goggles or good quality sunglasses that cover the face somewhat (preventing glare coming into the sides), and balaclava or buff with a warm hat. 
elbrus summit 6.jpg
Cold and clear but working hard in the sun at altitude, this climber has good layering with goggles, mitts and hat and is maintaining his climate by keeping his jacket open. Rucksacks should be big enough to accommodate flask, down jacket, snacks, camera, mitts and extra hat with ease. Crampons can be tied to the outside, poles can be stowed in outer pockets with the axe. 
 elbrus summit 5.jpg
Summit success with clear views behind as far as the Caspian Sea. Note these climbers wearing double boots and strap on crampons and the snow is hardpack. Note also the mitts on a leash attached to the sleeve for safety. On this day there is little wind so the climbers are not wearing down, just fleece layers and shell outer. 
And on the acclimatisation walks
 elbrus huts.jpg
Sasha Lebedev enjoying a sunny windless day on Elbrus near the National Hut. In this weather the danger is from the sun so good quality sunscreen is a necessity. 
elbrus acclim walks 1.jpg  
Acclimatisation hikes in July and August can be warm and sunny days out in the hills exploring the Caucasus. Trousers or shorts with Tshirts, a fleece and a waterproof is ample. Do also take snacks from home. 

Photos

Extras

£1,595pp

You can book your Adventure Alternative holiday for as little as £100.00 and pay the balance in as many instalments as you like. Choose a scheduled date or contact us for private dates, a bespoke itinerary or more trip details. 

Tours from only 1,595pp Dates & Bookings

The personable help and assistance in the preparation and organisation before the trip was so helpful even small things …

Read More Dylan May
Key Information
  • Duration 11 days
  • Numbers 5- 12
  • Altitude 5642 metres
  • Distance 25 kms
  • Challenge Difficult
  • Comfort Hotels and huts
  • Airport Mineralnye Vody