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Climbing Mount Elbrus Expedition, Russia

24th June to 2nd July 2021

£1,875 per person. Secure your spot with a £350 deposit. Cost does not include flights.

The ascent of the West Peak (Standard Route, South Face) is a long ascent over a moderate incline that requires good acclimatization but has few technical difficulties or objective dangers such as crevasses. However, despite the apparent simplicity of this route, it can be dangerous. The altitude, variable weather and low temperature transforms the ascent into a real high-altitude adventure. It follows the broad slope as far as the small rock islands known as Pastukhov Rocks and continues straight up for 400 metres towards the East Peak, gradually bearing left until reaching the saddle or col which is a good place to rest and eat. Head west and to the left side of the saddle, ascending the steeper snow slope on a rising traverse to the shoulder of the West Peak and a short distance directly up to the plateau. After crossing the broad and largely featureless plateau there is a short ascent to gain the small summit pinnacle. The average time is from eight to ten hours for the ascent and about four hours for the descent. Crampons, ski poles and a walking axe are necessary, as well as a harness, slings and karabiners for safety, especially on the rising traverse above the Saddle where there is a fixed line to clip into. Helmets are not mandatory, there is no danger of rockfall from above but a chance of head injury in the event of a fall.

  1. Day 1 Arrive into Mineralyne Vody(MRV) airport in the morning and met by staff. Transfer by minibus to Terskol (4 hours). Accommodation in local Hotel Nakra. Evening meal provided
  2. Day 2 Day hike to Cheget Mountain (3000m), lunch enrouteand return to hotel where wewill check your kit before our evening meal. (All meals provided)
  3. Day 3 Ascend to mountainhut (3900m). Afternoon walk up to Priut Hut (4100m) and winter skillsat altitude, weather dependant. Dinner and overnight in Mountain hut.
  4. Day 4 Hike to Pastukhov Rocks (4670m) for more acclimatisation and return to Our mountainHut 3900m.Weather dependent, could be rest day as below.
  5. Day 5 Rest and training day in use of clothing and equipment such as crampons and ice axe, personal movement and dealing with cold and altitude. Back to hut for dinner and overnight.
  6. Day 6 First possible summit day -awake at midnight. Snow machine to Pastukhov Rocks (this ground has already been covered on foot in previous days) and continue to summit. Return to mountainhut.
  7. Day 7 Back up day for Summit attempt.
  8. Day 8 Rest Day Shopping / Legendary Elbrus vodka party.
  9. Day 9 Head off to the airport after breakfast.

Prerequisite (What experience should I have)

It is certainly beneficial to have experience of moving on snow and ice for this trip to Mt Elbrus although we provide on-site training in alpine skills such as moving on crampons and self-arrest with a walking axe. This trip tends to attract a wide range of abilities, from people with Seven Summits aspirations who have climbed Kilimanjaro, to experienced hill walkers. This does mean that we have to be sure that everybody has the necessary skills for safety on the hill such as personal movement, understanding of layering and personal climate, handling a slip, being familiar with all the equipment and working in a team. Elbrus is often sold as a walking holiday, but the weather means it can often turn out to be a proper winter mountaineering experience even in the height of the summer season. Comparisons to Kilimanjaro don’t work really; this is a lower peak but much colder and requiring movement over permanent snow-covered slopes. Even though the normal route is clear and safe, the mentality towards experience must be focussed on winter skills.

Fitness training

We recommend you work towards this trip with the aim of being capable of multiple days out on the hill carrying a pack up to 10kgs. People who are active in the hills generally have few problems on Mount Elbrus, but extra work on the calf muscles and thigh muscles will help. Cardio-vascular fitness can be assisted by swimming, circuit training and working on a HIIT programme. Altitude is not such a problem on Elbrus because of our acclimatisation programme but summit day is still a big jump in altitude and a long day on the hill in the cold. Eating, drinking and sleeping well and keeping healthy at altitude are equally as important. Our programme allows everyone to build their ‘mountain fitness’ before going high and acclimatising not just to the height but also the climate and new surroundings. Fitness is mental as well as physical, so we like to promote a happy and positive team spirit before rushing to the top!

What’s Included

  • We provide you with all technical climbing and safety equipment.
  • Experienced British and Russian mountain guides
  • Pictures and footage from your weekend will be available to download from our Flickr account
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Return airport transfers from Mineralnye Vody, Russia (usually via Moscow) airport
  • Visa application papers (please note that some nationalities are charged an additional amount for travel papers)
  • Municipal registration in the administrative centre of Tyrnauz which covers the Baksan Valley
  • Minibus transfers to and from the Baksan Valley from the airport
  • Hotel in Cheget with drying rooms, sauna, restaurant and twin rooms
  • All hotel and restaurant meals and local taxis
  • Mount Elbrus National Park fees
  • All cable cars and chair lifts on the mountain
  • Accommodation in the National Park hut
  • All meals on the mountain and our own cook
  • UK high altitude guild / medic
  • Alexander Adventures trekking t-shirt (Mountain equipment)

What should I bring to the adventure?

July and August are normally quite hot in the valley, so you could be wearing shorts and T-shirts with a fleece for the hikes. However, you should prepare for winter conditions on the mountain itself. It can be extremely cold and windy with either hard pack, ice or soft snow on the trail.Make sure boots are double boots (plastic or hybrid), down jackets are mountain quality with hoods, mitts and gloves are warm and waterproof for the snow. Take sunglasses which cover around the eyes because the reflected glare off the snow can be intense, and goggles can either be full UV or yellow tinted for whiteout conditions. Good layering is essential, and your daysack should be big enough to accommodate the bulky clothes when you are not wearing them.For the colder June trips, it is important to be particular about the warmth value of your equipment, especially jackets, hats, gloves and mitts and good quality socks in your boots. The slopes are more likely to be hard pack and ice, so crampons should be sharp.

For the climbing equipment we recommend a straight walking axe for use on easy slopes and for self-arrest, and lightweight is best. Crampons can be 10 point since there is no front pointing, either strap on or clip on depending on your boot. An alpine harness with a 120cm sling and two locking karabiners in case of needing to rope up and also for tying into the fixed line are also necessary. Helmets are optional, there is no danger of rockfall from above, but head injuries can be caused in a fall.

Feel free to use this list as a reference as you prepare for your trip,but note that not all brands and models are current.


  • Running shoes or lightweight trail shoes: For travel and easy walking.
  • Hiking boots: Leather with sturdy mid-sole and a Vibram sole, ½ or ¾ shank. Boots should be warm and fit well over light and heavy sock combination. Fit is much more important than brand. Take time to select a pair that fits,and break them in well.
  • Sport sandals: Excellent for in and around the refuge and tented camps in the evenings. An open-toe model that can be worn with socks is best (Teva or Crocs).
  • Lightweight socks: Synthetic/Wool Blend (Smartwool, Bridgedale, Patagonia)
  • Medium weight socks: Synthetic/Wool Blend (Smartwool, Bridgedale).
  • Gaiters: For use with light hiking boots. Short and simple gaiters are preferable, such as OR Rocky Mountain Low.


It is very important that your clothes fit loosely and comfortably so you can layer your clothes appropriately. This is key for maintaining a comfortable body temperature.

Comfortable travel clothes: For around the cities of Fes and Marrakesh. Dress in Morocco is typically modest and casual.

  • Hiking shorts: One pair (any brand of Supplex short). Will often be worn over lightweight long underwear bottoms.
  • Lightweight pants: One pair (any brand Supplex or “stretch woven” pant)
  • Lightweight long underwear top: (Patagonia Capilene, REI, Mountain Equipment Co-op)
  • Midweight long underwear top: Zip-T neck design is good. Light colors are better for tops because they are cooler when hiking in direct sunlight and just as warm as dark colors when worn underneath other layers (Patagonia Capilene, North Face, Mountain Hardwear)
  • Lightweight long underwear bottom: Dark colors are preferable (Patagonia Capilene, REI, Mountain Equipment Co-op)
  • Midweight underwear bottom: Dark colours are preferable because they do not show dirt (Patagonia Capilene, REI, Mountain Equipment Co-op)
  • Short-sleeved shirts/tops: Most nylon running shirts or athletic shirts work (North Face Tek Ware, Patagonia Tech Dri, or any brand of synthetic athletic wear).
  • Fleece or synthetic jacket: Polartec 100 or 200 is good. An even better alternative is a synthetic fill jacket made of Primaloft or Polarguard (Mountain Hardwear, OR, Wild Things, Moonstone, Patagonia).
  • Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants: Such as Gore-Tex. Jacket must have hood. It is recommended that pants have full-length side zips. These garments should be large to fit over your other layers.

Head & Hand Gear

  • Liner gloves: They should be lightweight and synthetic (Patagonia Capilene)
  • Windstopper fleece gloves: Any brand of Windstopper fleece.
  • Sun hat: Any lightweight hat with a good brim or visor to keep the sun and rain off of your face and neck.
  • Bandana: Two to three traditional cotton styles. This is an important item with many uses. Large sizes are best. You may also like to have a circular bandana like those made by Buff.
  • Wool or fleece hat: Any brand of warm hat that can go over ears for cool evenings.


  • Sunglasses: One pair high quality 100%UV and 100%IR. You may want to bring a back-up pair too.
  • Headlamp: (Petzl or Black Diamond)

Hiking & Camping Gear

  • Duffel bag: For flying to Morocco with your belongings. It will come with you during the trek.
  • Small bag or stuff sac: For easy storage and organization
  • Day pack: 2000 cubic inches ( 33 liters ) or more, internal frame. Top opening mountaineer’s rucksack style is best. Avoid large zipper openings and excessive outside pockets. Larger packs are better than smaller, because they are easier to pack with cold hands and they distribute loads more effectively.
  • Pack cover: To protect your gear on rainy days (REI, MEC, Osprey, Gregory)
  • Sleeping bag: Minimum temperature rating of 32F to maximum 14F (0 C to -10C)
  • Water Bottle: Two one-liter, leak-proof wide-mouth (Nalgene Poly bottles)
  • Sleeping pad: Inflating, full-length (Therm-a-rest)
  • Trekking poles: Useful for going up and down steep, muddy trails in the forest, and general trekking. Adjustable poles are best so that you can strap them on your pack when not in use. Remove the ski baskets (Leki 3-section, Black Diamond)
  • Swiss Army knife: Remember not to leave in carry-on bags for any international or domestic flight. Scissors are probably the most useful features; you will seldom need the knife blade.

Climbing Exuipment

  • Walking axe -preferably with leash and rubber end protectors
  • Crampons -10 points are acceptable for this trip, there is no front pointing required.
  • Harness -preferably alpine style with clips on the leg loops and a comfortable fleece waistband
  • 1 x 120cm sling and 2 locking karabiners -for easy tying into a fixed line
  • Helmet -optional. There is no danger of rockfall from above, but head injuries can occur in the event of a fall.

Other Equipment

  • Expedition bag/duffle bag for main gear (with padlock)
  • Rucksack for hikes and summit day, 40 litres should be ample
  • Light bag for leaving travel clothes in the hotel during the trip
  • Sleeping bag, 3 or 4 season -the huts can get quite warm and the beds have mattresses
  • Flask for hot drinks, 1 litre is best
  • Personal health kit, wash kit and medicines
  • Trekking poles with snow baskets
  • Dry bags -selection for keeping clothes and sleeping bag dry(you will receive -25% off Aquapac)
  • Dirty clothes bag
  • Headtorch with spare batteries
  • Snacks from home, energy bars etc

Medical & Personal

  • Toilet Kit – Toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, alcohol-based anti-bacterial hand sanitizer (Purell), travel soap, needle/thread and throat lozenges (bring travel size bottles to keep your kit small)
  • First Aid Kit – Ibuprofen/aspirin assorted band-aids, moleskin, small gauze pad, roll of adhesive tape, tweezers, safety pins. Include any prescription travel meds that might be prescribed by your doctor (antibiotics, sleep aids)
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30 or higher, non-oily
  • Lip screen: SPF 30 or higher, any brand
  • Zip-loc bags – They can be very useful.
  • Ear plugs – Useful in the refuge and if someone in a tent near yours snores! Available in most drug stores and hardware stores.

Travel Items

  • Lightweight travel jacket: Simple wind shirt or light fleece
  • Travel clothing: For travel days and for time visiting the cities
  • Swimwear: For hotels
  • Passport belt/pouch
  • Books or E-reader, journal: (“Rite in the Rain”) waterproof
  • Binoculars: Optional. High quality, 8×32 or 10×42 is recommended. Camera, Lenses, Video Camera
  • Waterproof containers for your photo equipment: Two-gallon zip lock bags, shower caps, or manufactured rain covers.
  • Memory cards for digital camera: Bring plenty, as well as plenty of camera batteries.


  • Russian Visa -£85 -£110 (depends onspeed of delivery, nationality & postage return option). Please also note that nowadays you are required to appear in person at the visa office in order to provide fingerprints, so there is an additional cost of travel to the visa office.
  • Some consulates (usually Middle-Eastern & Eastern) require original visa travel papers. The cost of sending these by courier is not covered.
  • Some nationalities are charged an additional premium for their travel papers which is not included (details below)
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses estimate £50 for drinks and souvenirs
  • Snow machine to Pastukhov Rocks on the summit morning (Optimal but advised £100ish)
  • Single room supplement in Hotel-£160 for all days in the village (single accommodation is not possible in the mountain hut)
  • Use of snow caton descent only (however if one is needed for safety reasons then we will pay for it

Location, airports, accommodation and your arrival details


One of the Seven Summits Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe. As the highest peak in the Caucasus Mountains the dormant volcano rises 5,642 m (18,510 ft) above sea level, and is the highest stratovolcano in Eurasia, and the tenth-most prominent peak in the world. The mountain stands in Southern Russia, at the Western Caucasus, in the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Airport and arrival details

Arrival and Departure airport –

Before booking flights, please talk to us about the transfer times


Mainly traditional Guesthouses & Camping accommodation, let us know your preferred sleeping arrangements at your point of booking

  • If your guide feels that it is unsafe to climb to the summit due to weather, we will make an earlier descent down the valley instead.
  • Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.

Private trip

Talk to us about scheduling your own private session. With a minimum of 6 paddlers you can choose a date and time to suit you!

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