Mount Elbrus

Climb the highest summit in Europe

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Climb Mount Elbrus with Benegas Brothers

Mt. Elbrus, many seven summiters' first of seven, is a double-coned volcano rising to 18,510 feet (5,642 meters), to the highest point in all of Europe.

Upcoming Dates

July 15 - July 24

July 25 - Aug 3

Our adventures begin in Moscow, Russia – Before we fly south to the town of Mineralnye Vody, 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 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 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: Arrivals    

Today we meet at the airport of Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Water). We continue by private vehicle to the Hotel Pavorot in the village of Terskol at 10,138 feet / 3,090m. Terskol is situated in the Baksan Valley, 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 to develop the technical skills necessary to climb great peaks around the world. Full gear check.

Days 2 and 3: Acclimatization Hikes, Terskol    

Departing from our hotel, we make gradually longer and higher acclimatization hikes in the Baksan Valley. By the end of these two days, most climbers feel strong, rested from travel, and accustomed to the altitude. Overnights in Terskol, Hotel Pavorot.

Day 4: LEAPrus Hut            

Today we move to Mount Elbrus, our destination being the comforts of the LEAPrus Hut, opened in 2016, at 12,835 feet / 3,912m. We utilize snow-cats and/or ski lifts to send up our gear to save energy, but must still hike from The Barrells Huts to the LEAPrus station. Today will also be used to review various skills. Overnight LEAPrus.

Days 5 and 6: Acclimatization Hikes, Elbrus    

We will hike higher up the mountain, ideally to the Pashkutov Rocks (15,416 feet / 4,699m) for further acclimatization, and according to how the group feels we can factor in a full rest day, or make a full skills review, as well as packing for the summit. Overnights LEAPrus.

Day 7: Summit Bid    

We will increase our chances for a successful summit climb by riding a snow-cat at 03:00 to just below our previous highpoint near the Pashkutov Rocks. This is a long day - probably a 12-hour round-trip climb. From the summit, we’ll have excellent views of the Caucuses, including Ushba, the Matterhorn of the region. Return to LEAPrus.

Day 8:

Extra Day for bad weather If weather allows us to summit on Day 8 we will descend down to the Baksan Valley on Day 9 for some rest and relaxation.

Day 9:

Terskol Hiking and celebration BBQ in Terskol (and our descent day from Elbrus if we summit on Day 9. Also another possible summit day with an evening return to Terskol. Overnight hotel.

Day 10:

Services end with drop off at the airport for onward travel.


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.

Getting There
Plan to fly to  Moscow Domodedovo (DME) and then continue next day to Mineralnye Vody , RU (MRV).

In Country Transportation
The provided transportation in Russia is via private vehicle.

Entry Requirements
Please consult your country Russian Embassy for requirements. We will provide all papers needed, such as invitation letters.

Visa Application
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.

Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize. The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude. In addition to a proper rate of ascent, your performance is often related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Proper hydration, nutrition, and warmth must be maintained on a daily basis throughout the expedition

Elbrus, like all big mountains, generates and attracts its own weather, making it impossible to predict. Be prepared for a wide range of temperatures, from freezing nights, to snowy and windy conditions, to bright sunshine intensified by the high altitude. This fluctuation in temperatures makes it important to bring everything on the equipment list.

Your Responsibilities 
People climb Elbrus for many reasons. Some just love being in a wild places, while others want to challenge themselves physically and mentally, and for some it is to fulfill a lifelong dream, or embark on climbing all of the Seven Summits! But climbing Elbus is serious business and a summit attempt requires a very deep sense of commitment and dedication. So please ask yourself, what are you goals? Try to take an introspective look at the risk vs. reward as you make your decision. Any ascent at this altitude involves a certain amount of risk. Our use of conservative, experience-based, decision making will help minimize those risks and increase your chances for success, but ultimately, big mountains can be unforgiving and require serious commitment and reflection.

Team members are ultimately responsible for their own well being. This includes making all the necessary preparations to ensure good health and excellent physical conditioning both before and during an expedition. Our guides will oversee and discuss important issues along the way, but you should arrive in Moscow very well prepared.

At BBE, safety is paramount, and our proven success rate reflects our decades of experience. In addition to our exceptional knowledge of the routes we climb, backed up by a phenomenal support staff in base camps and weather forecasting via satellite, we are prepared for every outcome, with rescue, medical equipment, and support always standing by. Our climbs and acclimatization programs are meticulously planned for the most enjoyable ascents possible, focussing on our teams’ safely to give you the experience of a lifetime.

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!”

Mountain Snacks
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.

Resources and offer a wealth of information.

Location: Caucasus Mountains, Russia

Length: 10 days

Trip Dates: July 15 - July 24
July 25 - August 3

Prerequisites: This trip is open to individuals in excellent physical condition who are progressing glacial travel techniques (rope team travel), basic snow and ice climbing skills (cramponing, ice axe arrest) are ideal, or we are happy to teach.

Primary Goals:

  • Summit Europe’s highest peak
  • Learn and practice glacier and high-altitude travel skills
  • Experience Russia’s unique landscape and ecology

Guide Ratio: 3:1

Maximum: 6 Climbers

Group cost: $5,500 (3 minimum)

Private Guide cost:

Deposit: $750 group / $1,500 private

Trip Fee Includes:

  • BBE Leadership
  • All mountain accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, based on shared occupancy*
  • Hotel accommodations from Day 1 to Day 9 per the itinerary, based on double/twin occupancy*
  • All meals while climbing (except personal snack foods)
  • All park entrance fees
  • All group transportation in country as stated in the itinerary (including airport transfer in on arrival)
  • All group cooking, climbing and camping equipment

Trip fee does not include:

  • International and domestic airfares
  • Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
  • Any passport or visa fees (a visa is required for entry into Russia. We will handle these arrangements in conjunction with your travel agency and our Russian local services provider)
  • Restaurant meals in Mineralnye Vody and Terskol
  • Bottled water and personal drinks
  • Optional Snowcat to Pashkutov Rocks on summit day
  • Customary guide gratuities (7-12% trip fee recommended per person)
  • Any Excess baggage fees or departure taxes
  • Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
  • Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)

*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.

Tailor-made Option

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.