With nearly 30 years of experience on Elbrus and just shy of a 100% summit success rate, Alpine Ascents’ expertise in logistics and guides makes for an unsurpassed program. This has been an Alpine Ascents classic trip since the early 90’s. While travel to Russia can be cumbersome with many logistical hurdles, we take great care to preplan the small details, personal choices giving you and our expert guides (Ben Jones or Vern Tejas & Carole Tejas who are scheduled to lead our 2020 climbs) an excellent chance to reach the summit of Europe’s highest peaks.
Providing extra summit days, all-inclusive, multiple reservations at the High Camp lodge an excellent staff of Russian guides, and a keen sense of how to care for our climbers helps us bridge the gap from daunting task to well-executed journey.
Our 2019 season was simply stellar with 100% success and fantastic post trip evaluations. Truly one of Alpine Ascents signature programs. Where others have scaled back, we strive to keep the integrity of the program such as using the Heart of Elbrus Lodge as opposed to the huts and barrels. The Lodge provides far superior lodging and bedding than nearby accommodations, for all mountain days. Carole Tejas has been paramount in this effort to personalize many aspects of this trip, the efforts of minute logistical adjustments have show just rewards.
Unlike other outfitters who may rush you in and out of Russia, we take the time to properly acclimatize and to visit the grand cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Dynamic in both region and terrain, Mt. Elbrus stands as a watchtower between the great masses of Europe and Asia. Elbrus is a large, double-coned volcano whose twin summits vary by about 65 ft.
Our Elbrus program is open to any climber who has successfully completed a Mt. Rainier climb, or a similar program (prior climb on glaciers). This journey begins with acclimatization along well-traveled trails, which wind endlessly through the foothills of the Caucasus. En route, we interact with the local people as we wander through the villages and markets that pepper the mountain’s lower region. Once we have established High Camp, we prepare for an early morning departure to the West Summit (the higher of the twin peaks). The route ascends 1,000 m of moderate snow climbing to the saddle. From there, we turn west and head up 300 m of steeper terrain, finally reaching the summit plateau. Elbrus is the near-perfect ascent for aspiring climbers who wish to test their skills at increasing altitude. Although only basic mountaineering skills are required, high altitude and unpredictable weather make this a challenging and enticing ascent.
Depart home country.
Arrive in Moscow (DME or SVO). Climbers should arrive no later than 3 p.m. Given the nature of the Moscow Airport we
suggest using a Taxi or Uber to reach your hotel. In the evening, there will be an orientation and an introductory dinner.
Tour of Moscow and night is free for climbers. Our tour will include Sparrow Hills, Church of the Redeemer, and onward to Kremlin. We then visit Red Square, a viewing of St. Basil’s, and on to Gum Department Store. Time permitting, we visit the Novodevichy Cemetery.
Flight to Mineral Vody. After breakfast in Moscow, we’ll fly south to Mineral Vody (mineral water), and travel by bus to our hotel in the Baksan Valley. The Baksan is known for its Russian climbing camps. Mountaineers from all over the world come here to train and climb in the Caucasus. It is also a great location for them to develop the technical skills necessary to climb great peaks around the world. Full gear check.
Baksan Valley. The acclimatization process begins by hiking in the beautiful Baksan Valley as we tour the village of Cheget.
Acclimatization hike to Cheget observatory. This is a long day of walking with good altitude increases. By the end of this day, most climbers feel strong and accustomed to the altitude.
Move to the Heart of Elbrus Lodge where we’ll lodge at about 12,200 ft. We often use the tram and ski lift to help move our gear. Overnight in Lodge.
Hike to Pastukov rocks (15,416 ft.) and return to lodge.
Brief skills review and rest day before summit.
Summit day. We’ll leave camp via Sno-Cat at 3 a.m. and ride to the Pastukov Rocks area. From the rocks, we’ll begin our summit ascent. It is a long day; look for a 12-hour round-trip climb. From the summit, we’ll have excellent views of the Caucuses, including Ushba, the Matterhorn of the region.
Extra day at huts for inclement weather. We’ll take a glacier tour or return to the valley if we already have summited.
Hiking and barbecue and celebration (we can use it as summit day if needed).
Fly Mineral Vody to St. Petersburg.
Tour of St. Petersburg and night is free for climbers. Our tour features the Peter and Paul Fortress, the St Nicholas Naval Cathedral and the Rostrum Columns, among other sights. We spend the afternoon at the world-renowned Hermitage, considered one of Europe’s finest museums with vast collections of Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, Rodin, and Picasso displayed amidst architectural splendor. Time permitting, we continue to the Aurora, the military ship which fired the first shot that started the Bolshevik revolution. We overnight in a St. Petersburg hotel.
Depart St. Petersburg (LED) for home country.
- All transportation and lodging in Russia
- Guided tours of both Moscow and St. Petersburg
- All group camp supplies, such as tents, stoves, etc.
- Airport transfers via taxi. Please see confirmation materials as we suggest taxi or Uber (reimbursable to you), though transport can be pre-arranged if requested.
- Excess baggage fees (you are allowed only 20 kg, or 44 lbs., for the internal flights in Russia)
- All meals and lodging
- All group climbing gear
- All meals while trekking
- All hut fees
- Park fees, trekking permits and all tour fees
- Guides (including American guides) multiple guides on summit day
- Snow Cat transport fees (while ascending – single trip)
- $25 wire transfer fee (If Applicable)
- International airfare USA – Moscow – St. Petersburg – USA
- Nonscheduled airport shuttles and hotels
- Any transfers not on scheduled arrival and departure date
- Russian visas
- Alcoholic beverages and bottled drinks
- All expenses incurred in the event of early departure (evacuation fees, transport, extra hotel nights, etc.)
- Personal gear
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Alpine Ascents International
- Single room supplement (hotels only)
- For those requesting double room accommodations every effort will be made to pair you with another climber. A single room supplement will apply if a match cannot be made or if there is a last-minute cancellation.
- Tips and gratuities
- All prices and dates subject to change
ELBRUS CANCELLATION/REFUND POLICY
Note: Alpine Ascents International highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all programs. Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Alpine Ascents International must adhere to a stringent refund policy.
- Full refunds, less the non-refundable registration fee, will be provided for cancellations made 120-days prior to the expedition start date.
- 50% refunds, less the non-refundable registration fee, will be provided for cancellations made 90-119 days prior to the expedition start date.
- No refunds will be provided for cancellations made 89-days prior to the expedition start date.
- Alpine Ascents International will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible.
- All cancellation/refund requests must be made in writing and be received in our office within the deadlines stated above.