Mount Elbrus – 18,510’/5,642m
Mt. Elbrus, a dormant, double-coned volcano, rises to 18,510 feet. (5,642 meters) 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 climb for anyone with a strong fitness level who wishes to build on basic glacier climbing skills, climb a moderate high altitude peak, and explore the fascinating and diverse Russian culture in the Caucasus mountains and the famed city of Moscow.
Rapid Ascent of Mount Elbrus
Rapid Ascent is achieved by utilizing Hypoxico tents for 1 month prior to departure (this is required & the tent rental fee is included in cost of trip). Arriving in Russia pre-acclimatized through the Rapid Ascent system, we are able to complete this typically 2-week expedition in only 6 days. We have had great success with pre-acclimatization in the highest mountain ranges of the world and strongly suggest this method as a way of staying healthy and strong on traditionally long expeditions and ultimately, having a greater chance of summit success.
Climb from the South Side of Mount Elbrus
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. Time is spent reviewing 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 meets in the small city of Mineral Voldy and then travels to Elbrus where we base in mountain huts 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.
After 2 days of skills practice and moving up the mountain, we make our summit push. 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 and celebrating our climb, we depart for Mineral Vody. We recommend adding a couple of days in Moscow on your way home!
Climb with Certified Guides
Our Mt. Elbrus expedition will be led by one of Alpenglow’s AMGA-certified lead guides. AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. 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 the Alpenglow guide team’s favorite activities, we would love to arrange a ski descent for you! Please call us to discuss this option.