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Elbrus Traverse (Major Mountain Project)

Caucasus

  • Duration: 9 nights, 11 days
  • Climbs and Mountains
  • Major Mountain Project
  • Extreme
  • June, July, August

About this Adventure

At 5,642m, Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe, and one of the famous 7 summits. Situated in the northern Caucasus in Russia, Elbrus is an inactive volcano with two dome shaped peaks, extensive glaciers and sweeping alpine meadows. It is an area known for its stunning beauty. On this trip we traverse the mountain from South to North, giving you the best possible chance of summit success and experiencing the wild, tranquil beauty of the Northern slopes of Elbrus

Quick Facts

  • 11 days (8-9 days trekking)
  • South-North Traverse of Mount Elbrus (5642m)
  • Grade 2B (see our summit guide to explain our grading)
  • Fifth highest of the 7 summits

More Information

Pre-ascent Training Weekend

Join us for a training weekend in the Lake District to help prepare you for your ascent of Elbrus. The weekend will allow you to meet your guide and fellow climbers and enjoy some super mountain days. You will find out more about the challenge, including what to bring and what to expect. The 2 night stay takes place in the heart of the Lake District in a comfortable hotel or bed and breakfast.

The Mountain

Elbrus is not a mountain to be underestimated, but aside from the altitude, it is technically straight forward and is one of the easiest of the 7 summits to attain. You do need to be fit though. The summit day is tough with over 12 hours of walking on snow and ice. The highest mountain on the European continent, located close to the Georgian border with Russia, Elbrus has two summits. The two domes were formed by volcanic eruptions in 50AD and are now inactive. The Eastern dome was first climbed in 1829 and the first ascent of the higher Western peak took place in 1874. The locals call Elbrus 'Mingi-Tau' which means ‘looks like a thousand mountains'. It’s a stunning snow-capped mountain, which rises majestically from the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. The scenery is truly spectacular and when mixed with the achievement of standing on top of Europe and the local culture and hospitality, Elbrus is very rewarding challenge. One quirky fact about the mountain is that in 1967 the Soviet government organised a mass ascent of Elbrus. Around 2,500 people successfully summited on the same day.

Group Size

Our small group sizes help make your trip special but also ensure we work as the best possible team.

Foreign and Commonwealth Advice

Please be aware that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel to the Elbrus region. In our experience, the region has calmed down significantly in the last few years and we are among a number of operators providing trips to Elbrus. We request you check out the latest updates from the FCO and accept the risks associated with travelling to this region.

Travel Insurance

It is vital that you have travel insurance. When arranging insurance check that the policy covers the Elbrus region, the costs of medical repatriation, trip curtailment and walking up to an altitude of 6,000m. It does not need to cover technical climbing. We recommend that you obtain insurance as soon as possible in the event of potential political changes to the region.

Travel to the Region

Our trips do not include travel to or from the UK to Mineralnye Vody Airport. You will meet your guide on arrival at Mineralnye Vody Airport. We find that this approach gives you more flexibility to choose the right flight for you. There are daily flights from London Heathrow to Mineralnye Vody (MRV) via Moscow (SVO) operated by Aeroflot. If booking individual flights, check that the flights arrive and depart from the same airport in Moscow as there are three different ones. Our top tip is to ensure you keep the baggage tab as you will need it to collect your bag. You may also wish to add on a few days in Moscow prior to you ascent of Elbrus.

Travel Visas and Permits

A full valid passport, travel visa and mountaineering permit for Elbrus are required. The cost of the visa is approximately £30, which we will assist you in obtaining. The mountaineering permit is included in the cost of the trip.

Vaccinations

There are no specific vaccinations required for the Elbrus region, but we recommend that you contact your GP if you have any health concerns.

Why Book With Us

We know you have a choice of companies to climb Elbrus with. Here are some of the reasons you should choose to travel with Maximum Adventure:

  • We are an established adventure travel business
  • We have been trading since 2002
  • We are financially protected in accordance with the 1992 travel regulation
  • Knowledgeable and available office staff
  • Qualified leaders and guides with ascents ranging from Ben Nevis to Mount Everest
  • All activities are risk assessed
  • We try to give you the best service we can
  • We are aware this is your adventure/challenge and will do our best to facilitate it
  • We have many repeat clients stretching back many years

Itinerary

We normally run this climb over 11 days, Thursday to Sunday, however if you would like to do this at any other time, then please contact us. A typical itinerary looks like this:
Day 1 - Arrival Day
You will meet the group and guide at 10am in the arrivals area at Mineralyne Vody airport (MRV) and transfer to our hotel in the town of Terskol (3 hour transfer) in the Baksan Valley at the foot of Mount Elbrus.
Day 2
We spend the first few days enjoying the marvellous walking and climbing in the mountains around the Terskol Valley, getting acclimatised to the altitude and brushing up our skills. The first day’s walk is to Terskol Peak, at 3,100m which has magnificent views of Mount Elbrus, the ultimate aim of the trip. On the way, we pass through alpine meadows, walk by fantastic basalt rock formations and admire the stunning Devichi Kosy waterfall. We overnight back at the hotel.
Day 3
Today we spend a day acclimatising on a hike up to Mount Cheget (3,400m), with splendid views of the twin summits of Elbrus and down to the Donguz-Orun Lake. Back at the hotel, we pack for our ascent up Elbrus and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Day 4
The day starts with a pleasant walk up the Azau Valley and then, using the lift system, we ascend to the Barrel Huts (3800m), where we will be based for the next few nights to acclimatise. We take a short hike up to 4,100m to enjoy the spectacular scenery and then return back to the huts for dinner and bed.
Day 5
We ascend a little higher today to Pastukhov Rocks (4800m) to acclimatise where we again revise the techniques of glacier travel – using crampons and ice axe and then return back to the huts.
Day 6
Rest day
Day 7 - Summit Day
Starting early by torchlight, we begin our biggest day up to the summit of Elbrus. It’s 6 to 9 hours of trekking to get to the top, although we do have the option to take the snow cat up some of the way. At the saddle (5,416m), there’s one final push to stand on the top of Europe on the Western summit (5,642m). Our efforts are rewarded with breath-taking views, before descending on the beautiful quieter northern slopes of Elbrus down to the huts at the edge of the glacier at High Camp (3,800m).
Day 8
We have a beautiful day’s walk ahead of us walking out to Base Camp (2,500m).
Day 9 - Reserve Day
Reserve day in case of bad weather.
Day 10
We make our way first on rough tracks near Base Camp and gradually on better roads as we leave the hills and head to the town of Kislovodsk (3-4 hours), where we relax our muscles and enjoy a well-earned shower, sauna and a glass of Russian vodka.
Day 11 - Departure Day
Drive from Kislovodsk to Mineralnye Vody airport for our return flight.

Please note: This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change dependent upon viability, course members' fitness, and weather conditions or for any other reason

Inclusions

  • 11 day trip
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in comfortable hotels with private bathroom, 6 nights’ accommodation in mountain huts or tents.
  • All breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
  • Transfer from Mineralnye Airport to Terskol
  • Transfer from Kislovodsk to Mineralyne Airport
  • Transportation of personal belongings from the hotel in Terskol to Kislovodsk
  • All permits and registrations
  • Guiding by Tom Lawfield - Experienced Maximum Adventure Guide with excellent local knowledge
  • Qualified local mountain guides with good English and excellent knowledge of the local area
  • Qualified mountain first aider
  • 24 hour emergency assistance during your trip
  • Professional event organisation
  • Small groups

Exclusions

  • Travel from the UK to Mineralnye Vody Airport
  • Visa (approximately £90)
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Optional hotel facilities such as sauna
  • Personal equipment such as crampons, ice axe and mountain boots
  • Personal Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)

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