The double-breasted summit of Elbrus can be seen for miles around from different parts of the Caucasus region. Both East (5621m) and West (5642m) summitsare permanently covered with snow. Many of the remote side valleys where it is possible to have some acclimatization training are seldom visited even by locals.
Our standard trip is 13 days. During the first we week we train in using an ice axe and crampons and have a good number of acclimatization walks.
The trip begins with the arrival in Mineralnye Vody and driving to the base hotel in the Baksan Valley. From the hotel we make several trips following beautiful forested valleys, walking through alpine meadows, crossing glaciated mountain passes and climbing some of the easiest summits which provide superb panoramas of the Caucasus Range. These initial trips will be porter supported and will involve camping and backpacking. They will provide us with fitness and acclimatization necessary for the ascent of Elbrus itself. For the ascent of Elbrus we use a cable car system to take us to the height of about 3800m. We stay in the Garabashi Huts (3800m) or Diesel Hut (4100m). The actual program will depend on the weather, group condition and the availability of a snowcat which we will use according to the group’s wish to help us up the lower slopes of the mountain (if available and necessary).
HEALTH MATTERS AND DOCUMENTS
An emergency medical kit accompanies the climb. Nevertheless we recommend you to carry your own personal first aid kit. A suggested list of contents as well as more general health information is included in pre-departure information. No special inoculations are required but we recommend to have inoculations up to date and to consult a doctor for other cover such as typhoid. Check if the insurance is up to date and covers mountain risk.
The following itinerary is intended as a working guide only and is a subject to variation as a result of changes in airline schedules, local conditions, weather and governmental restrictions. We reserve the right to alter (lengthen or shorten) the trek at any time if necessary.
Arrive in Mineralnye Vody, on the plains north of the Caucasus. Drive by private bus to Terskol town (see pictures) (about 3,5 hours) the hotel in Baksan Valley, near Elbrus (the altitude is 2100 meters).
Our trek starts with a pleasant walk up the Terskol Valley to the "Terskolak" campsite, an alpine meadow campsite at 2500m. From the hotel we drive about 20 min to the Terskol Valley and then take 2hrs walk to the campsite. After lunch we go to the Terskol glacier for crampons practice. This is an excellent day to tone up our muscles for the days ahead.
Walk up the Terskol Glacier, ascend Terskolak Pass 3620m. A fine day with a mixture of terrain providing good practice with ice axe and crampons. If the weather and the group conditions are good possible to climb Terskolak Peak, 3790 m. Return back to the hotel on the same day.
A short drive to Vierhny Baksan from where we walk up through woods then open mountain slopes to Syltran Lake at 3200m., one of the largest lakes in the Caucasus. Camp. This is a long, demanding day, excellent training for the long pull up Elbrus!
Cross the Syltran Pass, 3400m. with a possible 30 min. side trip to a nearby small summit and viewpoint. We descend by the Mukal Valley and then walk up by the Mkiara Valley to camp at 3100m.
Cross the glaciated Irik Pass, 3750m. to a campsite in the forest lower down in the beautiful Irik Valley. Camp.
Finishing our descent from the Irik valley we return to the hotel. The afternoon is free to relax, have a sauna or wander into Terskol.Night in the hotel.
15 min drive to the Azau station. We take the cable car/chair lift system up Elbrus and stay in the Garabashi Huts at 3800m or the Diesel Hut at 4100m.
Acclimatization walk to Pastukhova Rocks at 4800m. Return to the hut.
We begin in the early morning hours to ascend the highest of Elbrus' twin peaks - the West Summit. You carry your day pack with the day's requirements. We return to spend the night at the hut.
Spare day to attempt Elbrus if the weather on the previous day was bad (otherwise return to the hotel).
Return to the hotel. Relax and perhaps enjoy one of the fine walks from the hotel.
Drive to Mineralnye Vody for the flight home.
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