Mt. Elbrus, a dormant double-coned volcano, rises to 18,510′ / 5642m. Its double peaks tower over the stunning western Caucasus Region of Russia, near the border of Georgia. Elbrus is the highest point in all of Europe (& Russia), making this climb one of the renowned ‘Seven Summits’. Boasting 22 glaciers on the peak, this is the perfect introductory climb for anyone with a strong fitness level who wishes to build glacier climbing skills, climb a moderate high altitude peak, and explore the fascinating and diverse Russian culture in the Caucasus mountains and the famed cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Alpenglow Expeditions climbs Elbrus from the accessible south side, which benefits from the use of snowcats and chairlifts to gain altitude and mountain huts for sleeping. This means that you only have to carry a small pack on all of your climbing days, allowing you to enjoy your summit experience much more. Lots of time is spent acquiring the necessary skills to climb a glaciated snow and ice route, and the terrain creates a perfect progression from low angled cramponing early on the mountain to more exposed and steeper slopes on summit day.
Our trip begins in the cosmopolitan city of St. Petersburg, City of the Tsars. One simply could not visit Russia without seeing this city, known as the Venice of the North. We then travel to Mineral Voldy and begin our acclimatization and climb. The first few days are focused on day trips that allow us to acclimatize and develop glacier climbing skills. After that we move up to a mountain hut known as the Barrels. Thanks to our local Russian support team, we will continue to eat well and carry only light packs, even at this camp high on the mountain.
Summit day on Elbrus is strenuous and long. We wake around 3 am and have a quick breakfast before boarding a snowcat to take us to our previous high point on the mountain at 15,000 feet (4,572 meters). From there we don crampons, rope, and ice axe and begin the climb. As the sun rises we will be high on the mountain, with the sun giving us energy for the final push. From the summit we will enjoy well deserved views of the surrounding peaks before making a quick descent back to the hut.
After descending to the valley, we fly to Russia’s capitol and Europe’s largest city, Moscow located on the Moskva River. We will visit the famed Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin and Red Square and celebrate our climb in this historically and economically significant city.
Our Mt. Elbrus expedition will be led by one of Alpenglow’s lead guides. Our guides are fully certified AMGA/IFMGA guides. We will be supported by a great team of Russian guides and a cook. Their experience and local knowledge will not only make your trip more comfortable, they will also add to your understanding of this mountain and the local people.
If you are an advanced skier with backcountry (off-piste) experience, it is also possible to arrange to ski Mt. Elbrus. Since ski mountaineering is one of Alpenglow’s guides favorite activities, we would love to arrange a ski descent for you! Please call us to discuss this option.