Elbrus: Climb the Highest Peak in Europe with International Mountain Guides
Our two-week expedition is a great way to climb Mt. Elbrus (18,841'), Europe's tallest mountain, and to see some of Russia. We'll fly as a group to St. Petersburg. After our climb, we'll head to Moscow and depart for home from there.
Most organizations travel in and out through Moscow and you'll miss an opportunity to see one of Russia's most impressive cities. Our Russian hosts will meet us at upon our arrival in St. Petersburg and handle all logistic arrangements within their country.
We'll spend two night and one day visiting St. Petersburg. We then fly to Mineralnye Vody and travel by bus to the Caucasus Mountains. Our base of operations is a hotel in the small town of Terskol. We will take several days acclimatizing, training and making practice climbs in the Caucasus. Good training terrain is available near by and we'll make use of it while acclimatizing and preparing for our attempt on Elbrus.
We then make our attempt on Elbrus. Summit day on Elbrus is STRENUOUS but not very difficult technically. It is close to a 5,000 foot day. Ice ax arrest, basic cramponing and rope travel are required skills.
We'll spend two nights on Elbrus prior to our summit attempt. The huts are basic but adequate.
The trip ends by our flying from Mineralnye Vody to Moscow. We'll have a chance to tour Moscow for a day and we will spend one night there. We have organized tours of both St. Petersburg and Moscow with an English speaking guide.
Our local guides are great climbers and great companions. They know their country well and support us through all phases of the trip. Having long-term friends and connections like these makes our trip special. It is very important to work with solid local help in Russia. This adds greatly to our enjoyment and success. Join us to "knock off" another of the Seven Summits.
Elbrus: Ski One of the Seven Summits
This is a fantastic opportunity to climb and ski one of the world's coveted Seven Summits! Nestled in the Caucasus Mountains, 18,541 foot Mt. Elbrus is the tallest peak in Europe. In addition to spectacular scenery and amazing skiing, we will also get to experience one of Europe's richest cultures.
Our itinerary is exactly the same as for our summer climbing trips. But, our focus is different. We're there not only to summit but to ski from that summit. Lead by professional ski patrolman and IMG guide, Aaron Mainer. Excellent conditioning and a strong skiing ability are needed.
Although Elbrus is not technically demanding, participants should be prepared to climb nearly 5,000 vertical feet. This will include a pack with standard mountaineering gear in addition to a pair of skis or a snowboard. Although most of the descent will be on moderate slopes of less than 30 degrees, we will encounter a variety of snow conditions; including powder, ice, breakable crust, and spring corn. We will have several contingency days in order to take advantage of the best snow and weather, but participants should be able to ride down in a controlled and efficient manner regardless of conditions.
Have you been thinking about skiing one of the Seven Summits? Then, this is the trip for you. Be ready to climb hard and to ski hard. Now's the time!
|Day 01||Depart the United States.|
|Day 02||Arrive in Frankfurt and connect with our flight to St. Petersburg. We’ll be met at the airport and transfer to our hotel for the night.|
|Day 03||Sight seeing in St. Petersburg with English speaking tour guide. We will visit the Fortress of Peter and Paul, St. Isaacs Cathedral and take a boat ride through the canals in the afternoon. A second night spent at the hotel there.|
|Day 04||Fly from St. Petersburg to Mineralnye Vody and then transfer by bus to our hotel in the town of Terskol.|
|Day 05||Acclimatization hike. Night in Terskol.|
|Day 06||Training day at a nearby glacier. Technique review with emphasis on the French technique of cramponing. Night in Terskol.|
|Day 07||Begin our Elbrus climb. We will take the tram and ski lift to the Barrels Hut on Elbrus. Altitude is approx. 12,500 ft. From there, we hike about 1½ hours to our private hut at the site of the old Pruitt which burned many years ago. Altitude here is approx. 13,500 ft.|
|Day 08||This is an acclimatization day with a 2½ hour hike to a major rock landmark above our hut. A second night will be spent at the hut.|
|Day 09||Attempt Elbrus. Early morning start with almost 5,000 vertical feet of cramponing. Return to hut for the night.|
|Day 10||Return to the valley and our hotel in Terskol.|
|Day 11||Probable ice climbing day. We can also use this as a weather contingency day for Elbrus, if needed.|
|Day 12||Sight seeing day in the Baksan Valley. This day is also available as a weather contingency day, if needed.|
|Day 13||We will drive back to Mineralnye Vody and then fly to Moscow. An English speaking guide will join us during our sightseeing in Moscow that day. We’ll spend our final night at a hotel there.|
|Day 14||We’ll visit Red Square and the Kremlin during the day and then go to the airport for our flight to Frankfurt. Most folks will have a forced overnight in Frankfurt.|
|Day 15||Transfer back to the airport for flights home.|
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This was the last of my 7 Summits quest... and it was an auspicious expedition. IMG handled the logistics very nicely, and guiding by Mike, Sasha, and Igor was great--attention to detail, always totally safe even when conditions were hairy, and everyone had a great time. On this outing, the food in Terskol was not great--although I think that was not IMG's fault. The food there is just not tasty and many of us developed mild diarrhea. So that sucked. But the trip overall was so fun and beautiful that it did not matter. For details, please see my blog: http://pottinger.net/osm/expedition/elbrus-2017/
IMG once again having every aspect of the trip organised to a T. Using local guides along with one US based IMG Guide, it was a well run trip. The only qualm I have is the accommodation down in the town of Terskol is a bit run down. We visited a new hotel in the next village (Cheget I think) which would have been a much better choice. Aside from that, everything was great. Good fun climb. The City tours of St Petersburg and Moscow made the trip much more enjoyable as the climb itself it fairly straight forward and quick.