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Mt Elbrus

Russia

Altitude - 5,642m (18,510ft)

Grading Level - 2B (click to HERE to find out more about our grading)

 

Mount Elbrus stands in the western Caucasus mountain range, near the Georgian border in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia, Russia. With an elevation of 5,642 meters, it is one of the worlds’ Seven Summits and the highest in continental Europe.

The climate is most conducive to climbing June -  August, when the weather is at its most stable. Even in the summer, night-time temperatures average - 8 C. and temperatures above the snowline can fall as low as minus - 30 C.

Elbrus has a unique cable car system, which was built on the south side of the mountain from 1959 to 1976. The cable car reaches 3,658 m. From there, we take the Standard Route up the south side to the summit.

The Standard Route is challenging due to the snow, high winds and a high elevation. While it can be a dangerous climb, it is considered among the easiest of the Seven Summits.

Another unique feature of Elbrus is the system of huts, called the Barrels, which are located at approx. 3,800 m. These are dormitory style ‘huts’ with bunks and mattresses, sleeping up to 6. A separate building is used for meals.

In order to acclimatise, our trip starts in the Syltran-Su valley on Mount Mukal, which offers views across the beautiful valleys to Elbrus. Although it would be ideal for climbers to have experience of winter hillwalking using mountaineering boots, crampons, a harness and an ice axe, our acclimatisation trek before reaching Elbrus gives ample time for training and preparation.

 

Once acclimatised, we use the cable car to regain our high point on Elbrus from where we follow sweeping snow slopes to the col between Elbrus’ twin summits before continuing easily to the true summit of Europe’s highest mountain in an ascent of about 1000m.

You need to be fit to climb Elbrus. The trekking is demanding, particularly on summit day when climbers can expect a 12- to 15-hour round trip. Training should include climbing conditioning, cardiovascular training and strength building. This should begin at least eight weeks before your climb.