Mt Elbrus - South Side Route

Where: Russia

Starts: 18 August 2018

Ends: 26 August 2018

Duration: 8 days

Places available: 12

Difficulty: Introductory


Day 1 - Meeting at Mineralnye Vody airport at 14:00. Our English-speaking guide will be awaiting you outside of the arrival hall at the airport. We'll start a 3.5 hour bus ride to a mountain hotel 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 situated at 2,300 meters above sea level.

Day 2 - Acclimatization hike to Terskol peak situated at 3, 100 meters. This is the last day before you leave the valley and after hike you can visit an equipment store in order to hire items you require. Your guide will assist you to choose right equipment. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3 - This is the day when you move to the mountain refuge at 3, 800 meters. You can leave all items that are not necessary for the climb at the hotel. 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 guides 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 4, 300 meters for acclimitisation. We'll come back to the refuge for an overnight stay.

Day 4 - We'll hike up to the Pastuckhov rocks and probably higher to reach at least 4, 800 m to acclimitise.

Day 5 - This is a rest day. On this day you will have basic safety 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. We'll spent another overnight at the refuge.

Day 6 - This is the hardest day of the expedition as we leave the refuge at about 3AM for the climb summit of Elbrus' west summit at 5, 642 meters. It is possible to hire a snow-cat (Ratrak) for a group. This vehicle carries up to 12 climbers up to Pastuckhov rocks situated at 4, 800 meters and saves about 4 hours of climbing time and a lot of energy. Generally, for an average group, it takes about 9 hours to reach the summit and 5 hours to come back to the hut.

Generally we stay at the refuge this night. If a group comes back from the top before 2PM 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 huts.

Day 7 - This is a 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. Overnight at hotel.

Day 8 - Drive to Mineralnye Vody airport early in the morning to be in time for the flight which departs at 11:35AM. If you need to be at the airport earlier or your flight departs much later than 12:35PM you can order an individual transfer. End of the expedition.