Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe, located in the beautiful Caucasus Mountains. The Caucasus stretch for 880 kilometres from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. They form the physical barrier dividing Europe and Asia, although the whole range lies entirely within the former Soviet Union. The highest and most glaciated part of the Caucasus is the central region, which includes Elbrus, the fifth highest of the Seven Summits. The snowline is higher than in the Alps and the flavour of the climbing is a cross between Alpine and Himalayan.
The higher altitudes are extensively glaciated, although the general configuration of the range is less complex than the Alps. On this expedition you climb the highest, west summit (5,742m) of Elbrus via the more remote northern route. In our opinion, the north side of the mountain is more beautiful than the southern aspect, not least because there are no cable cars and chairlifts, a prominent feature on the climb from the south. You spend up to five nights above base camp to ensure you acclimatise sufficiently for what can only be described as a long and gruelling summit day of nearly 1900m of ascent. If the weather is clear, the views from the top should make it all worthwhile.
Day 1-2 : Arrival to Mineralnye vody Airport 14 Peak expedition representative will pick up you from the arrival to hotel Mineralnye vody .
Mt. Elbrus climb from south
1: Our English-speaking guide will be awaiting you outside of the arrival hall at the airport. Bus ride (3,0-3,5 hours) to a mountain hotel Snow Leopard («Snezhny Bars») in the Baksan valley near the foothills of Mt. Elbrus. There are twin and triple rooms in the hotel, with toilet and shower. Single accommodation may be available for additional cost in case there are vacant rooms in hotel or if you ordered that in advance. Overnight at the hotel (2100 m).
2. Acclimatization hike up to cable car station Cheget-3 (3000 m) on Mt. Cheget or Terskol Peak (3150 m), depending on a physical condition of participants and weather (the decision is made by the guide in coordination with participants). This is the last day before you leave the valley and after hike you can visit equipment store in order to hire something. Your guide will assist you by choosing right equipment. Overnight at the hotel.
3. This is the day when you move to the mountain refuge at 3800 m. You can leave all not necessary stuff at hotel. It will not be necessary to carry your backpacks self because the group will reach the refuge using ski lifts. There will be only a short distance to walk from the cable cars last station to the hut. You will be kindly asked to help the guide to load the boxes with food onto the ski lifts and then to unload it. The cook will either ascend with you or already awaiting you at the hut preparing light lunch. After having tea or coffee with sandwiches and sweeties we put on all mountain equipment and go for acclimatization hike up to 4300 m/14107 ft. Overnight at the refuge.
4. Hike up to the Pastuckhov rocks and probably higher (4800 m/ 15,748 ft)
5. Day of relaxation. On this day you will have ice- and snow courses with your guide not far from the refuge. The guide will teach you how to put on the crampons and how to walk in it; he will show you techniques of self-arrest with an ice-axe and you will try to slide down the slope and then fix yourself on the snow using your ice-axe and the crampons. Don't worry when you've never tried it before. Overnight at the refuge.
6. Summit day. We leave the refuge about 3 a.m. for the climb of Elbrus' west summit, 5642 m (18,510 ft). It is possible to hire a snow-cat (Ratrak) for a group. This vehicle carries climbers (12 people) up to Pastuckhov rocks and saves 4 hours and a lot of energy. Generally, for an average group, it takes about 9 hours to reach the top and 5 hours to come back to the hut.
Generally, we stay at the refuge this night. If all members of the group come back from the top before 3 p.m. we can discuss the possibility to descend to the valley and have overnight at the mountain hotel. However, this will require additional payment for hotel, because this night is paid for the refuge
7. reserve day in case of bad weather on the previous day. When the group takes an attempt of reaching the summit on this day, it is necessary to descend to the valley same evening by all means, though it may be hard because the ski lifts stop working at 4 p.m. Solemn dinner with delivery of certificates on climbing Elbrus. Overnight at hotel.
8. Drive to Mineral Nye Body airport early in the morning to be in time for the flight which departs at 11:35. If you need to be at the airport earlier or your flight departs much later than 12:35, you can order an individual transfer.
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