Elevation: 5642 m | 18 510 ft
Co-ordinates: 43°21’18″N 42°26’21″E
Dates: 1 Sept to 14 Sept 2013/2014
As a part of our Adventures Global trip to the top of this beautiful peak, you will first travel up to 3800 metres by a system of cable cars, erected between 1959 and 1976. The first to summit this peak were Gardner, Grove, Walker, Knubel and Akhia Sottaiev, way back in 1874. The name is thought to come from the word alborz, derived from the name of a mythological mountain in Persian legend. Found in the Caucasus mountain range, near the border of Georgia, this peak is an inactive volcano.
Day 1: Terskol
We arrive at Mineralnye Vody Airport and travel to the village of Terskol nestled at the foot Elbrus (2300 metres).
Day 2: Mt Cheget hike
We ascend Cheget Mountain (using ski lifts, if we can) as part of our acclimatisation.
Day 3: Adul-su hike
We take an acclimatisation hike to Adul-su Valley.
Day 4: The Barrels hike
We take the ski lifts up to The Barrels (3800 metres) and exlore the area, then back down.
Day 5: The Barrels Base Camp
We again take the ski lifts up to The Barrels (3800 metres) and hike to the Pastuckhov rocks.
Overnight: The Barrels
Day 6: Acclimatisation hike
We hike up to about 5000 metres and back again.
Overnight: The Barrels
Day 7: Rest day
We go on a short hike, then rest.
Overnight: The Barrels
Day 8: The Summit
Leaving at about 3 am, we meet the sun at Pastuckhov rocks and continue to the top.
Time: About 7 hours there, and 3 hours back
Overnight: The Barrels
Day 9: Spare day
Incase the weather did not allow for summitting yesterday, this is what we do today, otherwise, we descend and explore the area.
Day 10: Spare day
If not needed for summitting, this is another rest and explore day.
Day 11: MinVody Airport
We travel back to the airport to begin our journey home after an inspiring and life-changing experience!
Our full service expedition cost is: US$ 3950
Included in the cost
- Two nights accommodation in Moscow on a bed and breakfast basis (twin beds sharing)
- Transportation to and from the airport in Moscow
- Domestic flights to and from Mineralnye Vody airport
- Transportation in a private vehicle to and from the Baksan Valley
- Hotel accommodation in the Baksan Valley on a full board basis (twin beds sharing)
- Highly experienced local mountain guides
- A western leader/facilitator who has summited the mountain times before
- Ski lift fees
- All meals on the mountain
- Group equipment
- Comprehensive general first aid kit
- Satellite phone for emergency calls and VHF radios for higher up on the mountain
- Celebration dinner after the climb
Not Included in the cost
- International airfare and departure taxes
- Visa costs
- Items of a personal nature – personal gear, telephone calls, laundry etc
- Staff/guide gratuities
- Alcohol, soft drinks and mineral water
- Personal medical expenses, medical and evacuation insurance
- Any costs arising from flight cancellation/delays, political disturbance or natural disaster
- Extra hotel nights
- Single occupancy supplement
- Riding the Snow-cat
- Sightseeing in Moscow
Climbing Elbrus is strenuous but does not require that you have any previous technical mountaineering experience; only that you be in good physical condition and be able to hike for 4-9 hours over hilly terrain with a light day pack. Although crampons and an ice-axe will be used, the guides will spend time providing you with the skills that you will require above Base Camp. The summit push is a long day and the ascent and decent can take as long as 16 hours.
Adaptation to altitude requires attention to regulated height gains and timing parameters. Our itinerary has been tailored to ensure this and incremental height gains are interspersed with rest/acclimatization days. Your acclimatization progress will be carefully monitored by your experienced Guides and Western Leader on an ongoing basis.
Adventures Global will provide a comprehensive medical aid kit which will cater for the majority of ailments. However, we strongly recommend that you bring your own personal kit which should include antibiotics for stomach and respiratory tract infections.
Rescue and Travel Insurance
Whilst most climbers may experience some minor ill-effects of high altitude, those with persistent symptoms will be required to return to lower altitudes or in severe instances require emergency evacuation. All climbers are thus required to have travel insurance which includes emergency rescue and evacuation cover. Should you be unable to arrange cover locally, you can secure cover on the internet at www.ihi.com
You will require a visa to enter Russia. Please check with your local travel agent what your specific requirements are. Please bring at least 4 passport sized colour photos for your climbing permit.
You will be staying at a charming hotel in Moscow on a B&B basis, twin beds sharing. Single rooms can be arranged (depending on availability) at a $75 surcharge .Two nights hotel accommodation in Moscow are included in the package. Should you require extra nights please inform us soonest, so we can secure the booking. Accommodation in the Baksan Valley will be in a hotel on a full board basis (twin beds sharing) and in Base Camp in the Barrels.
Food and Drinks
Drink bottled water in Russia. Don’t drink tap water or stream water anywhere on the mountain. Stick to bottled water, soft drinks or water that has been purified by our staff.
A recommended gear list is available on request. The bulk of your gear will be transported up to Base Camp by ski lifts and you will only need to carry a daypack which will contain your water supply, waterproofs, fleece, gloves, camera equipment etc This will weigh about 8kg.
Staff and Leadership
The climb will be led by an experienced Western leader who has climbed Elbrus many times and has summited other mountains elsewhere in the world. He will be assisted by an experienced local guide who has intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture.
There will be internet access in the Baksan Valley, as well as a mobile signal all the way up to Base Camp. A satellite phone will be available throughout the duration of the climb for international calls in the event of an emergency. Guides will use hand-held radios to communicate with each other whilst on the climb.
You can use either cash or a credit card for your expenses in Russia. US dollars are the most acceptable, though banks and moneychangers are also happy with pounds sterling, Australian dollars and most European currencies. There are numerous moneychangers and banks in Moscow, whilst on the mountain you do not need to carry money, unless you want to buy a beer, a glass of wine or a soft drink in the Baksan Valley.
Adventures Global supports tipping staff, porters and guides on Elbrus. It is customary that each climber makes a contribution toward staff gratuities. Staff are hard working and loyal and gratuities serve as recognition of a job well done and are accepted with humility and honour. Gratuities are pooled and distributed to individual staff members. Gratuities will be co-ordinated by the Western Leader. Please budget for an amount of not more than $150.
Equipment for a successful climb
Ice axe with leash & rubber protectors
Crampon rubber protectors
Screwgate Carabiners x2
Plastic boots or Double-layered Mountaineering boots
Spare boot laces for trekking boots (optional)
Expedition socks x2
Trekking socks x2
Liner socks x4
Toe warmers (optional)
Trekking pants x2
Thermal underwear – tops & bottoms x2
Long-sleeved trekking shirts x2
Short-sleeved technical shirts x2
Soft shell jacket
Polartec longs x1
Polartec long-sleeved tops x1
Polartec gloves x1
Silk glove liners x1
Hand warmers (optional)
Neoprene facemask – optional
Woollen hat / beanie
Woollen scarf / Buff
Head torch – plus spare batteries
Goggles – 100% UV & IR
Sun glasses – with side covers
Nose guard (optional)
Expedition backpack – 80 litre
Trekking backpack – 50 litre
Sleeping bag – minus 15˚C
Sleeping bag liner x1 (optional)
Pillow / cushion
Thermos flask x1
Water-bottles with insulation x2
Large plastic bags x2
Medium sized plastic bags x4
Pee bottle / funnel
Zip-lock bags x10
Sunscreen – maximum SPF
Protective cream for lips – maximum SPF
Rubber Plug for hotels in Russia
Large waterproof duffel bags x1
Shorts & t-shirts
Mobile phone & charger
Passport & travel documents
Passport photos x4
Certified copies of all travel documentation
Currency / credit cards
Pens & pencils
Reading glasses – optional
Clean clothes for travelling home
Personal First Aid Kit
Drugs / Medication / Prescriptions
This training information is intended as a guideline and should be used as such. If you are unsure about anything, please communicate with me individually, but most important of all, before you embark on any exercise program, please consult your doctor or exercise physiologist to make sure that you are ready for the increased work load. A focused training program should begin 3 – 4 months before the expedition, but working on your base fitness before that is important as it lays a good foundation for the harder work that will follow.
Climbing big mountains requires cardiovascular endurance (via aerobic training), strength endurance (through strength conditioning) and climbing-specific training (i.e. hiking with a pack). Being in strong physical shape is one of the most important aspects for a successful climb of Elbrus. During your training, you should be planning to progressively increase your aerobic training and speed of weekly training hikes to give you climbing-specific conditioning that cannot be matched by any other sort of training.
Suggested activities include running, cycling, mountain biking, swimming, walking on an inclined treadmill, doing stair stepping or step mill training, trail running, walking up and down hills or participating in step aerobics classes. When first beginning a cardiovascular training program, begin with three workouts (i.e,. Monday, Wednesday and Friday) of 30 minutes of sustained activity at a moderate intensity, and build up to 4-5 aerobic sessions of sustained effort for at least 45 – 60 minutes (taking Wednesday and Sunday as rest days, for example).
Be sure to include a 5-10 minute gentle warm-up before working at your target heart rate for the day. For most workouts, choose a level of exertion that allows you to connect a few words together in a phrase, but leaves you feeling comfortably tired at the end of the workout. Remember to cool down with 5-10 minutes of appropriate stretching of the muscles you use most in your activity, including lower back, calves, hamstrings, hips and quadriceps.
Training with weights, backpacks and gym machines will help you build overall strength, particularly in the
lower back, abdominals, upper back, shoulders and legs. Developing strength in your upper back and
shoulders will help with carrying a pack and using trekking poles. The calves, hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes are all involved in ascending and descending steep sections and scree slopes, which will be
encountered on the climb of Elbrus.
Before embarking on any weight training, please consult with a qualified gym instructor so that you are well briefed in terms of using the equipment. Most important in strength training is to be sure that you maintain proper form at all times in order to prevent injury or strain.
This involves hiking steep outdoor trails, going up and down stairs or training on an inclined treadmill. In
the months leading up to the expedition, it would be important to do some long walks in the mountains.
Remember: All of your training is geared towards giving you the strength and endurance to summit the tallest mountain in Europe.