PRICE

$4600

SCHEDULE

Summer 2018
July 24 – August 2, 2018
Lead Guide: Dennis Broadwell

Summer 2019
July 21 – July 30, 2019
Lead Guide: Dennis Broadwell

August 11 – August 20, 2019
Lead Guide: Brian Houle

DETAILS

10 days in Russia
Grade: Beginner

 
 
 
 
 

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OVERVIEW

Our expedition begins in the historic city of Moscow where we tour the city’s famous landmarks including Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. We then fly to the city of Mineralnye Vody and travel by van to the small village of Azau located within the heart of the Baksan Valley near the base of Mount Elbrus. Our Southside climb utilizes a series of chairlifts and a high mountain hut where you’ll enjoy delicious hot meals and comfortable accommodations prepared by our Russian cook. The Southside route allows us to climb Europe’s highest peak carrying only light daypacks. Our expedition also offers the option of using snow-cat support above Pastukhov Rocks to 16,000′ on summit day. After the climb, extend the journey and travel to famous Saint Petersburg for a tour of this beautiful city, once the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years.

Mount Elbrus • Southside • 10 Days

Our expedition begins in the historic city of Moscow where we tour the city’s famous landmarks including Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. We then fly to the city of Mineralnye Vody and travel by van to the small village of Azau located within the heart of the Baksan Valley near the base of Mount Elbrus. Our Southside climb utilizes a series of chairlifts and a high mountain hut where you’ll enjoy delicious hot meals and comfortable accommodations prepared by our Russian cook. The Southside route allows us to climb Europe’s highest peak carrying only light daypacks. Our expedition also offers the option of using snow-cat support above Pastukhov Rocks to 16,000′ on summit day. After the climb, extend the journey and travel to famous Saint Petersburg for a tour of this beautiful city, once the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years.

Related climbs: Mount Elbrus Express

Who can climb Mount Elbrus?

Though the climb is non-technical, Mount Elbrus requires some experience at altitude. You will need basic mountaineering skills, rope travel skills, strength, endurance, and good physical conditioning. Mountain Gurus offers two different programs depending on prior experience and time commitment.

The Southside route is less aggressive and uses a series of chairlifts and high mountain huts along the way. Unlike other mountains we will utilize a hotel in Azau each night, allowing us to rest and recover. During our acclimatization days we will cover and instruct basic mountaineering skills.

As with any of the world’s major peaks, there are many guide services to choose from, but summiting can be largely dependent on the expertise of your guide. Our guide team has decades of experience in the mountains, as well as numerous summits of Mount Elbrus. We routinely have 100% success rates.

What’s included in the Mount Elbrus expedition?

We first look back at the history of Moscow with tours of Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, and other cultural landmarks. From the modern capital city of Russia, we travel by plane to remote Mineralnye Vody before heading south, traveling by private van, toward the Russian / Georgian border.

The drive is comfortable, and the scenery is unparalleled as the impressive Caucasus Mountains grow closer. As we ascend to the village of Azau the flora and fauna change with the cooler alpine temperatures. Sitting at the head of the Baksan Valley, Azau is the last and highest settlement in the area.

Our next few days will entail acclimatization hikes on Mount Cheget and the lower slopes of Mount Elbrus. Using a series of gondolas and chairlifts we will spend one night in a high mountain hut at 12,500 ft. On summit day we use a sno-cat to transport us to 16,000ft before starting our way to the summit.

Once we have summited, we offer an optional trip extension to St. Petersburg. Also known as Leningrad, St. Petersburg was founded in the 1700s by Czar Peter the Great and is known as the cultural capital of Russia. Modern skyscrapers make this the most westernized of Russian cities. St. Petersburg is home to many museums, parks, gardens, and traditional architecture as well. We will tour Saint Isaacs Cathedral, the Church of the Savior of Spilled Blood, and the State Hermitage Museum at the stunning Winter Palace complex.

What are the risks and challenges of Mount Elbrus?

As with any of the Seven Summits, there are physical conditioning and safety concerns. Mountain Gurus schedules our expeditions for late summer when the weather is more stable. Once on the mountain, you can expect high winds and cold temperatures. Even in summer, weather in the Caucasus can be unpredictable.

With Elbrus’ summit at more than 18,510 feet, altitude illnesses are possible, and our expert guides monitor each team member. With over 5,000 feet gain on summit day adequate physical fitness prior to the climb is a must.

As a non-technical climb, Elbrus is one of the less physically demanding Seven Summits. On the Western summit, you will enjoy a view of the seemingly endless chain of mountains that stretches from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.

Why choose Mountain Gurus?

Whenever you venture into the wilds – whether the roof of the world on Everest to the birthplace of man on the plains of the Serengeti – there should be two priorities. First, enjoy your adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime. Second, staying safe. Mountain Gurus ensures both. We have experience guiding thousands of clients each year all over the world with safety as our top priority.

From booking to summit day we will be there to help and support you through the journey.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Moscow
Day 2 • Moscow Tour
Day 3 • Mineralnye Vody • Azau • 7,500 ft
Day 4 • Hike Mount Cheget • 11,000 ft
Day 5 • Elbrus Acclimatization • 14,000 ft
Day 6 • Elbrus Acclimatization • 16,000 ft
Day 7 • Mountain Hut • Rest Day • 12,600 ft
Day 8 • Summit Day • Mount Elbrus • 18,510 ft
Day 9 • Contingency Day
Day 10 • Depart

Saint Petersburg Tour

Day 10 • Arrive Saint Petersburg
Day 11 • St. Petersburg Tour
Day 12 • Depart

Climb Highlights

  • Led by an American mountain guide
  • Welcome dinner in Moscow
  • Guided tour in Moscow and Saint Petersburg
  • 8 nights hotels in Moscow and Azau
  • Comfortable mountain hut includes meals
  • 2 nights hotels in Saint Petersburg
  • Hike Mount Cheget
  • Ascent of Mount Elbrus
  • Snowcat for acclimatization days
  • Mineralnye Vody Flight and land transportation
  • Contingency day for bad weather
  • Friendly MG office staff will help prepare you for the adventure

“Our trip was an adventure – the combination of exploring Moscow, the Baskan Valley and the mountains, while enjoying the food and culture of both areas with local guides, are hallmarks of the Elbrus trip. We were excellently supported by the Mountain Gurus team. I will happily recommend this trip to others looking for an opportunity to climb Europe’s highest mountain, while experiencing a microcosm of Russian life.” August 2017, KP

“I have experience on Rainier, Baker, Adams, Hood, Alaska Range, Ixta, La Malinche, Orizaba and now Mt. Elbrus with multiple climbs on many. The mountain itself is always unpredictable but the true success of any climb comes down to preparation and logistics. Every aspect of our trip to Russia was terrific! Moscow before the mountain and St. Petersburg after. All aspects were well planned and well executed. On the ground logistics and the in-country team were fantastic. Dennis did a great job with our team and making sure we were well prepared for the climb. By the way… 6 clients… 100% success rate to the summit. Can’t beat those statistics!” August 2014, Rick

ITINERARY

Mount Elbrus • Southside

Expedition begins and ends in Moscow, Russia.

Day 1 • Arrive Moscow

Arrive Sheremetyevo International Airport, Russia (SVO). Transfer to hotel.

Day 2 • Moscow

Our expedition begins in the historic city of Moscow. Today we take a guided tour of the city’s famous landmarks including Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. (B, D)

Day 3 • Mineralnye Vody • Azau • 7,500 ft

We transfer to the domestic airport for the two hour flight to the city of Mineralnye Vody. Then continue by van (three hours) to the small village of Azau in the Baksan Valley. Expedition orientation and gear check in the afternoon. (B)

Day 4 • Hike to Mount Cheget • 11,000 ft

We take an acclimatization hike up Mount Cheget and enjoy the remarkable views of the Baksan Valley. Return to hotel. (B, L)

Day 5 • Climb to 14,000 ft on Elbrus

After breakfast we take the cable car to 12,600 feet on Elbrus. We hike above 14,000 feet just below Pastukhov rocks for acclimatization and descend to 13,200 ft where we conduct a basic climbing school in preparation for summit day. Return to hotel. (B, L)

Day 6 • Climb to 16,000 ft on Elbrus

Today we take the cable car to 12,600 feet. When by snowcat to 14,000 feet. We enjoy views of the mountain as well as the Caucasus Range as we climb above 16,000 feet to continue our acclimatization. Return to hotel. (B, L)

Day 7 • Mountain hut • Rest day • 12,600 ft

After a late breakfast we pack our gear and ascend by cable car to 12,600 feet. We spend the afternoon acclimatizing and relaxing in preparation for our summit climb. Overnight at mountain hut. Please note: We do not stay at the Diesel Hut, we overnight in much nicer Leap Russia or a privately-owned mountain hut. (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Summit Day • Mount Elbrus • 18,510 ft

The day starts early. After riding the snowcat above 16,000 feet. We climb open snow slopes to the saddle between the East and West summits. We gain nearly 6,000′ before reaching the summit. Mount Elbrus is the highest point in Europe and Russian and is one of the seven summits. (B, L)

Day 9 • Contingency Day

Descend to Azau or transport to Pyatigorsk (near Mineralnye Vody) and spend the afternoon exploring the Russian town. (B)

Day 10 • Depart Mineralnye Vody

Transport to Mineralnye Vody for flights home. (B)

Saint Petersburg Tour

Or continue to Saint Petersburg for a tour of Russia’s most historic city.

Day 10 • Arrive Saint Petersburg

We transfer to Mineralnye Vody airport for our flight to the city of Saint Petersburg, Russia (LED). (B)

Day 11 • Saint Petersburg

Today we enjoy sightseeing in famous Saint Petersburg. We visit the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Saint Isaacs Cathedral and the State Hermitage as well as many other famous sites. The evening is enjoyed by a riverboat ride on the city’s canals. Return to hotel. (B)

Day 12 • Depart Saint Petersburg

Transport to Pulkovo International Airport (LED) for flights home.

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

DETAILS

Price

$4600 (based on 4 or more) with American Guide
$5400 (based on 2 climbers) with American Guide

Saint Petersburg Tour: $950

Deposit and Payments

$700 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application
Balance due 120 days prior to departure

Price Includes

  • Round-trip domestic airfare to Mineralyne Vody
  • Scheduled land transportation in Russia
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Hotels in Moscow and Azau
  • Mountain hut on Elbrus
  • Guided sightseeing tour
  • Park and lift fees
  • Group gear
  • Professional mountain guide
  • All group equipment for the expedition
  • Saint Petersburg tour includes, domestic flight, hotels, city tour, scheduled airport transfers

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Visa fees
  • Non-scheduled airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Snowcat transportation on summit day
  • Saint Petersburg tour
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal gear
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $500
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Early departure fees
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Tips and gratuities

GEAR LIST

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, one that covers the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields.
  • Goggles: Dark lenses to help with snow and wind.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt.
  • Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Light Insulated Jacket: Light synthetic insulated jacket
  • Insulated Jacket: 700+ fill down.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your Hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Insulated Pants: One pair of synthetic insulated pants with full side zips.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 35-45L pack with good support, adequate to carry personal.
  • Duffel: One large duffel for transporting gear. Can be stored at hotel during summit day.
  • Liner Bags: One large plastic contractor bags.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice axe: 55-65cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-locking Carabiners: (2) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Nylon Sling: (2) 60cm nylon slings

Hydration

  • Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
  • Water Bottle Parkas: Two, fully insulated water bottle covers.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Earplugs

TRAVEL & FITNESS

Travel

Program Location:
Begins and ends in Moscow, Russia

Visa/Entry Information:
American citizens must obtain a visa prior to travel in Russia. You must obtain a Russian sponsor letter prior to applying for a Russian Visa. Russian Tourist Single Entry Visa $123 for US citizens.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Russia

Flight Travel Information:
Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), Moscow, Russia

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

Gear:
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Mount Elbrus Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Beginner   

Over the course of the trip we will make various forays to higher altitude, while descending back to town to recover each night. Even with the aid of a sno-cat on summit day this climb still requires stamina and endurance. Summit packs range between 25-30 lbs.

Prior to the expedition we recommend taking a mountaineering course to master the skills essential to reaching the summit.

Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Mount Elbrus:

  • Northwest Climb (Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan)
  • Glacier Mountaineering Course
  • Mexico Volcanoes, Ecuador Volcanoes

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be able to contact friends and family while on the mountain?

Most cell phone providers will work in Russia, check your provider for overseas rates before you leave. Wifi service is also available at our hotel accommodations.

Is the snowcat on summit day included in the price of the trip, and if so what are the costs?

The snowcat on summit day is not included in the price of the trip. This cost ranges from $250 – $400 USD per person depending group size and on mountain pricing.