Day 1: Fly from London to Moscow. The group will be met at the airport and taken to a good hotel in the city centre, usually the Hotel Ismailyovo. This is a huge hotel which was originally built as accommodation for athletes as the 1980 Olympics.
Day 2: Onward flight (3 hours) to Mineralnye Vody, just to the north of the Caucasus range. From here it is a 3-4 hour journey (180 km) by road to the Ullu Tau Lodge in the Adyr-Su Valley. This will be your base for the next 5 days.
Day 3-5: Early starts for day tours around this spectacular area returning each night to the refuge. The main Baksan valley has many smaller valleys leading off it and there is good access to some beautiful peaks. The twin peaks of Elbrus dominates the range and is visible for much of the time. Most days are 6-7 hours with ascents of Tchotchat Peak (3870 m), Koiavgan Pass (3500 m), Mestia (4100 m) and Gumatchi Peak (3810 m) planned. These tours provide excellent acclimatization for the Elbrus ascent later in the program. Average daily height gain is between 750 and 1800 m.
Day 6: Rest day. Travel by road into the Baksan valley and to the Nakra Hotel. If you are feeling energetic, you may wish to ascend Cheget Karabashi 3400 m or ski using the Cheget chairlift system.
Day 7: Ascend to the Garabashi Huts (3800 m). Overnight in the ‘barrels', (large Nissan huts)
Day 8: Acclimatization ascent up (950 m) to the Pastukhov rocks (4750 m) where there are spectacular views including Ushba, the ‘Matterhorn of the Caucasus'. Return to the "Barrels" overnight.
Day 9: First summit day: an early 4 am start for the 8-10 hour ascent of Elbrus (5642 m). Return to Cheget to celebrate the ascent.
Day 10: Travel to Mineralnye Vody. Fly to Moscow. Evening flight to London. We will make every endeavor to carry out the above itinerary but alterations may have to be made owing to weather and snow conditions.
Additional Information: The UK government recommend against all but essential travel to the North Caucasus area of the Russian Federation. This is due to its proximity to areas (Dagestan, Chechnya) that have seen terrorist activity in recent years. However Elbrus itself and the valleys (Baksan and Adyr-Su) that we visit on this trip are safe and on our 2005 trip the group encountered nothing but friendly faces and warm welcomes. It is also worth noting that most European Governments are not warning against travel and our 2005 group met up with lots of other parties from continental Europe. We will of course monitor the security situation to ensure conditions do not deteriorate.
Accommodation and Meals:
- In Moscow you will stay in a comfortable international hotel on a B&B basis.
- 4 nights are spent in the Ullu Tau lodge on HB basis in twin rooms. 2 nights in a hotel in Cheget (HB/Twin rooms) and 2 nights are spent in the 'barrels' on Elbrus. These are basic mountain huts (4-5 people in a 5-bed hut).
- Food whilst basic is generally nourishing with meat (lamb) and borscht being the staple diet.
Staffing: We have teamed up with Nikoai and Alexey from St. Petersburg who will lead the tour when in the Caucasus. They are amongst the best guides on Elbrus and as well as being expert skiers and accomplished mountaineers they speak English and are very friendly. The team will also be accompanied from the UK by one our mountain guides who will assist the local Russian guides and be responsible for ensuring the trip runs smoothly.
Visa: A visa is required for most Foreign Nationals to gain entry into Russia.
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