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Rising to 18,510 feet (5,642 meters) Elbrus, a dormant, double-coned volcano, is the highest Mountain in all of Europe.
Our adventures begin in Saints Petersburg, Russia – Before we fly south to the town of Mineralnye Vody, to Terskol: the gateway of the Caucasus. The rising green foothills dotted with shepherds mounted on horseback give way to Mt. Elbrus, framed by the jagged peaks of the Caucasus. The route takes us from the mountain’s base, sitting between ancient lava flows, up the rolling and rarely traveled glaciers of Mt. Elbrus’ north side to the West Summit, the mountain’s highest point.
Although Elbrus is not technically demanding, participants should be prepared to climb nearly 5,000 vertical feet (1,500 meters). 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.
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 new mountain hut – the LEAPrus. 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 snow-cat to take us to our previous high point on the mountain at 15,000 feet (4,572 meters). From there we use 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.
Day 1: Arrive in Saints Petersburg. A Benegas Brothers representative will meet you at the airport.
Transfer to domestic airport for the two-hour flight to the city of Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Water) or Nalchik. Continue by bus to a hotel in the village of Terskol in the Baksan Valley, where you spend the next three nights.
Day 2 : Acclimatization hike. Night in Terskol.
Day 3: 11,150 feet / 3398 meters
Climb Mount Gumachi in the Adyl-Su Valley, or a similar objective to acclimatize. Overnight at the hotel. To further prepare for the climb, we will do another acclimatization hike either above Cheget or Terskol.
Day 4: Elevation 12,800 feet / 3901 meters.
Ride a cablecar up to Kharabashi, which is Balkarian for ”where black rock meets glacier” (approx. 12,800 feet). Settle into the comfortable LEAPrus hut. Today will also be used to review avalanche evaluation and rescue skills.
Day 5: Elevation 15,100 feet / 4602 meters.
Today we will hike to the Pashkutov Rocks for further acclimatization. Ski/snowboard descent. Overnight at the LEAPrus.
Day 6-7: Rest, some skills review, and preparation for summit climbs.
Two days are scheduled to make our summit attempt. We will increase our chances for a successful summit climb by riding a snow-cat to just below our previous highpoint near the Pashkutov Rocks. If weather allows our group to summit on the first day we will descend the following day and have an extra day in the Baksan Valley for some rest and relaxation or ski/snowboard an additional day.
Day 8: Return to the valley and our hotel in Terskol.
Day 9: Sight seeing day in the Baksan Valley.
This day is also available as a weather contingency day, if needed.
Day 10: Return to Saints Petersburg
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 11: Transfer back to the airport for flights home.
Note on Itinerary: Although we do our best to follow the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change due to weather, route and snow conditions, and other factors beyond our control including, but not limited to, mechanical breakdown of snow-cats or ski area lift operations.
Plan to fly to Moscow Domodedovo (DME) and the continue to Mineralnye Vody , RU (MRV). Plan to arrive in MRV no later than 3pm as we will have a 3 to 4 hours bus drive to the Village of Terskol.
In Country Transportation
The provided transportation in Russia is via private vehicle.
Please consult your country Russian Embassy for requirements. We will provide all papers needed, such as invitation letters.
Our office will provide you with the current application form, a written itinerary and a letter of invitation from our hosting organization in Russia. You will need to submit these forms along with a valid passport, an additional passport photo and payment to your local Russian Consulate or a travel document company that can assist you in processing the Russian Visa. This generally takes place 2 – 3 months before the trip departure and will take 4 – 20 business days to process. Once your visa arrives, please check the date to ensure it covers your complete stay.
All of the meals served on Benegas Brothers Expeditions trips are a combination of the best local and regional fares along with occasional specialty items brought from the US. We are happy to accommodate your dietary restrictions and/or allergies. We practice an expedition motto of “happiness through eating!”
We recommend that you bring snacks to supplement the mountain lunches for 5 days. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Russia, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.
Take snacks that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.
Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Breakfast and Dinners
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.
Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.
Our international trips feature local standard four-five star accommodations in the larger cities and towns. These hotels offer all of the amenities you would expect; room service, laundry, wireless internet…etc. They are often close to the local points of interest, unique shops and colorful markets, and offer guests a comfortable place to relax between the trip activities.
During our treks and climbs we will be camping with Style. You might find yourself waking up to a hot tea delivered with a smile right to the foot of your tent each morning, or playing cards in the dining tent during afternoon tea with new acquaintances, or enjoying a fine meal prepared by our cook staff that is present on each trip. Camping will take on a new meaning for you!
The currency in Russia is the rouble, which is made up of 100 kopeks. Notes come in denominations of 5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50 and 10 roubles. Cash machines are still the best way to get money in country, so if you are in doubt, be sure to bring your cash card.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets in any area which caters to tourists.
Mineral Voldy, Russia
July 15 to July 25 2016
July 29 to Aug 8 2016
Familiarity with glacier travel techniques, basic snow and ice climbing skills, Good Ski Mountaineering skills, and very good physical condition.
To Summit and Ski the highest Mountain in Europe
Ecuador Volcanoes, Aconcagua, Khumbu Climber, Mexico Volcanoes. Ama Dablam.
3 Climbers per guide; max 6 climbers.
The current fee includes:
The fee does not include:
*NB Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
Our Mt. Elbrus climb will be led by one of BBE’s AMGA/IFMGA certified guides. This 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 who are experienced in climbing Mount Elbrus, and a cook. Their experience and local knowledge will not only make your Elbrus climb more comfortable, but they will also add to your understanding of this mountain and the local people
Willie is the only guide I climb with and, more importantly, the only guide my wife lets me climb with; he is family. As with earlier trips to Aconcaqua and Cotopaxi, BBE planned every detail for our July 2017 climb of Elbrus down to the finest details, including acclimatization climbs in the French and Italian Alps. Summitting safely capped a trip of lifetime that was well planned and included great food, perfect accommodations, guided city tours in Saint Petersburg and a disco-themed dinner on the drive from Mineralnye to Elbrus. Look forward to more climbs with Willie.
Jeff M., San Francisco
We can organize this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may want a BBE leader or go ‘self-led’ with the assistance of local guides. The cost of going private can be surprisingly reasonable, particularly if you take the self-led option. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.