Ski tour on Mt. Elbrus

Ski tours Highlights

9-10 days

Group tour

From €990 *

We have ski tours on the North and South sides of Mount Elbrus. 

Price for South side – €990, for North side – 1050

Ski ascent of Elbrus and ski touring in its surroundings are getting more popular every year. This is because snow conditions on Elbrus allow touring on it till mid-June, especially on the north side.

We arrange ski ascents of Elbrus via the north and south routes from April till June. Ski touring in the neighbour valleys with passes at 3500m - 3800m is available from March till early May. You can gain high-altitude acclimatization while touring in Adyr-Su and Adyl-Su valley and do a ski ascent of Elbrus after that. That would be the most interesting and exciting ski touring trip.

Please remember that Adyr-Su and Adyl-Su valleys are located in the border zone, and special permits are necessary. Obtaining such a border zone permit takes two months, so you have to plan your trip in advance. If you are only doing a ski ascent of Elbrus, no special permits are required.

List of equipment for Elbrus ski touring trip:

Helmet

Avalanche beacon

Snow test pick

Shovel

Ski crampons

Ski touring boots and skis

Ice-axe

Mountaineering boots for high mountains (sometimes snow is being blown away from the slope, and ice shows through. In this case we leave skis and put on boots and crampons)

Crampons

Headlamp. - The climb starts at night and for some hours you will be walking in the dark. Also a headlamp is extremely useful while visiting toilet at night at the huts

Big backpack (not less than 75 litres)

Thermos

Small backpack for hikes and summit attempt

Ski/ trekking poles

Windproof mask - in case of cold strong wind

Sunglasses and goggles

Harness with 3 snap hooks

Sleeping bag rated to -15°C comfort temperature

Foam mattress

Insulated parka/jacket, down or synthetic, rated to -10°C and able to fit over other sweater layers

Gore-tex jacket and pants (side-leg zippers are helpful), roomy and water-resistant

Midweight fleece jacket

Fleece pants or tights

Midweight thermal underwear tops and bottom

Hiking socks

Warm hat

Fleece windproof gloves

Down overmitts

Balaclava

Snow gaiters, knee-length (supergaiters, which cover the whole boot, are excellent)

Sunblock and lip balm

Toiletry kit

Swimsuit - for a sunbath or sauna

Personal first-aid kit

Personal medications used regularly


* - the price depends on season, period and chosen tariff.

Itineraries

Day 1. Arrival at Mineralnye Vody airport by any flight not later than 11 a.m. Transfer to Ullu Tau alpine camp in Adyr-Su valley. The journey will take around four hours. The hut has been leftover from the Soviet era, so it is not very comfortable, but warm and hot showers are also available. Dinner at hut and briefing.

Day 2. Ski tour to the Mestia passes in Adyr-Su valley. Overnight at Ullu Tau camp.

Day 3. Ski tour to Koyavgan pass. Overnight at Ullu Tau camp.

Day 4. Ski tour to Gumachi pass. After descending, transfer to Snezhny Bars hotel in the Baksan valley at the foot of Elbrus.

Day 5. Transfer to the Azau cable station at 2500 m. Ascent to a high-mountain hut at 3800m. Overnight at the hut.

Day 6. Acclimatization ski ascent up to Pastukhov rocks (4800 m). Overnight at the hut.

Day 7. Summit day. If the snow conditions are good, the ski ascent of Elbrus. If there is ice in the upper part of the Pastukhov rocks, then we leave skis and do just a normal hiking ascent in boots. Descent to the hut.

Day 8. Reserve day for the summit attempt. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9. Transfer to the airport. You will arrive there at 09.30 a.m.


Day 1. Arrival at the Mineralnye Vody airport (MRV) with any flight before 2 p.m. Our guide will be awaiting you outside the arrival hall. Once everyone has arrived, the bus leaves from the airport heading to the city of Kislovodsk. The ride will take around one hour. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guide will check the participants' equipment to make sure that everyone is appropriately equipped for the expedition. If necessary, you can hire missing items in our rental shop the next morning. After sorting out the equipment, you will have free time to see this beautiful resort place and have dinner at a restaurant.

Day 2. After breakfast, we load the backpacks onto off-road vehicles and head towards Mt. Elbrus north side, having visited the rental shop on the way. In spring road conditions are usually difficult on the north side. Most probably, we'll have to walk the last 13 km of the way because of the snow-drifts. Participants have to be ready to hike this distance carrying their backpacks, and in some spots, skiing gear. Dinner and briefing at the base camp (2500 m).

Day 3. Ski tour to Mt. Tashlysyrt (3465 m) after a short avalanche safety course. Overnight at the base camp.

Day 4. Ski ascent to the high camp (3800 m). Overnight at hut.

Day 5. Ski tour to the Lenz rocks (4800 m). Overnight at the hut.

Day 6. Day of rest. Today there will be no longer touring, just short hikes or ski runs. Overnight at hut.

Day 7. Summit day. If the snow conditions are good, the ski ascent of Elbrus. If there is ice in the upper part of the Lenz rocks, then we leave skis and do just a normal hiking ascent in boots and crampons. Descent to the hut.

Day 8. This is the reserve day for summit attempt if the weather was bad on the previous day. Otherwise, descent to the base camp (2500 m).

Day 9. Another reserve day for the summit attempt. Transfer to Kislovodsk. In the afternoon there will be a celebration dinner at a restaurant with handing over of certificates of completion.

Day 10. Transfer to the airport after breakfast. You will be there by 09.30 in the morning.


What is included and not included

Cost of a tour includes:

Invitation letter for visa. We send this to you as soon as we get your deposit and passport copy.

Local registration for foreigners according to Russian law.

Transportation.
South: Group airport transfers airport - Terskol - airport.
North: Group transportation from Mineralnye Vody to Kislovodsk and back. Transfer Kislovodsk -  and back

Base camp - tents, High Camp - huts

Accommodation following the itinerary:
South: 3* hotel Snezhny Bars shared twin or triple room in the foot of Elbrus
North: Kislovodsk - a 3* hotel, shared twin or triple accommodation with breakfast, two nights

Mountain refuge Heart of Elbrus at 3800 m, mixed dorm (8 people)

Cable car tickets in accordance with the itinerary

Meals at a hotel and a hut in accordance with the itinerary

All food on the mountain (cook services included)

Guide. One guide for the group throughout the tour. One mountain guide for three-four people for the summit attempt (1/3-4 guide/client ratio).

Porters for gas and food

Group equipment (ropes, ice screws, etc.)

Guides. One guide for the group throughout the tour and assistant guide(s) for the summit day in ratio 1:3.

One summit attempt. For example, when a group starts in weather conditions which allow going, and later it changes to the dangerous ones (like storm/ heavy snowfall/ dense fog) and the group has to descend, or one/ several participants feel bad and give up on climbing this is considered as an expended attempt. You can take an additional attempt against €350 for guiding services + hut fees and food (about €50 per day for one person) for you and your guide.

Climbing certificate

Park fee

Cost of a tour does not include:

Riding snow-cat (ratrak, a vehicle is transporting people along the snow slopes). The exact cost depends on the number of passengers: up to 4400 m it costs €500 and up to 4800-4900 m - €1000 per vehicle (max 12-14 people). You also can hire a snow-cat on your way down, and this will be cheaper than on the way up.

Hire of personal equipment (such as sleeping bag, boots, crampons, etc.)

Taking an additional attempt after the first attempt has been expended (this doesn't include cases when the weather was bad from the beginning, and the group hasn't started the climb).

South: Single occupancy supplement - €40 per night. Cost of the additional night at the hotel when you decide to descend to the valley on the reserve days because these days are already paid for at the refuge. The cost of an extra night can make €30 per person (double or triple room) or €55 (single room). Meals at the hotel on reserve days are also not included (only breakfast).
North: Single occupancy at a hotel or in a tent. If you don't want to share your space with somebody, you can pay 80 euro extra for hotel and 35 euro for a tent and enjoy single accommodation.

Individual transfer from or to the airport - €70.

Mountaineering insurance. It is highly recommended for climbing Mount Elbrus.

North: Lunches and dinners in Kislovodsk

Hire of personal equipment (such as sleeping bag, boots, crampons etc.)

Porter services for personal belongings. Our porters will carry food, gas and public equipment. You will have to take your personal belongings from the base camp up to the high camp. This will be done in two carries. Normally, active acclimatisation is very helpfull and enhances your chances to reach the summit. But if you feel tired you can hire a porter for 3,5 euros per 1 kilogram. You can decide on the spot and ask your guide to find a porter before you leave the base camp.

North: Private transportation from/to airport MRV. An individual transfer on the last day costs 25EUR for 1 - 3 people by day time.

North: Prescheduled return to Kislovodsk because of an illness or in case of a successful climb when the reserve day was not used. This will raise some additional expenditures:

– Transportation. You can join any other group which occasionally leaves from the Base Camp for Kislovodsk. You will be charged 1500 - 2000 roubles per person. When there are no vehicles at the Base Camp but you still want to leave, you can order a car and that will cost €200/ $260;

– Accommodation. Our price includes only 2 nights at a hotel in Kislovodsk: before and after the climb. If you return earlier you will have to pay self for additional nights and meals at the hotel. Besides, it can be difficult to find a free room in a mid-range hotel, especially in July and August.

Tours FAQ

When to climb?

The best time to climb Elbrus on foot is July and August. The snow level is minimal, weather is most stable. June, September and first half of October are also rather favorable. It is colder and the weather may be changing, but there is not too much snow on the slopes and still many chances to reach the summit.

Attempting it in spring is rather challenging, especially from the north side. The road is blocked by snow and participants have to walk the last 13 km to the base camp carrying their backpacks themselves. This is rather exhausting taking into account the altitude difference of 550 m over that distance. Temperature on Elbrus in spring can fall as low as -40. Add storm winds and icy slopes which can be really dangerous for novices and require fixing a rope.

We don't recommend climbing Mt. Elbrus in winter. There are very few chances to reach the summit because of extremely low temperatures, snow storms and blue ice on slopes.

Best time for a ski ascent as well as for a ski descent is the second half of May and June. There is still much snow and it is not being blown away by the storm winds like in early spring.

Nevertheless, even during this favorable period there can be firn above 4800 m. In this case climbers put on ski crampons or take off their skis and walk in boots.

In July and August snow conditions are not good for skiing. Snow is melting in the sun by day, turning into slush. And it is freezing back by night into an ice crust.

There are not many interesting places for ski touring on Elbrus itself. Mostly, tourists tour in the neighboring valleys - Adyl-Su and Adyr-Su. There are many passes for ski touring and skiing down. Average altitude is 3500 m above sea level which makes it possible to gain good acclimatization and to attempt the summit of Elbrus after that.

Best time for ski touring at that altitude is late March and April. There is much snow at this time and it is no longer as cold as in winter. Early May can be a bit risky because snow begins melting away, but is still possible.

Choosing the right tour

There are no technical difficulties on Mount Elbrus but it is quite challenging in terms of altitude acclimatization. Though Mt. Kilimanjaro is higher than Elbrus, it is easier to do and requires less days. This is because Kilimanjaro is located near equator and there is more oxygen in the atmosphere.

It takes 8 to 11 days to climb Elbrus. The number of days on the mountain depends on the route that you choose and your previous high-altitude experience. If this is your first time to high mountains, you should choose the longest possible itinerary. You don’t know how you body will react to low content of oxygen in the air and to different atmosphere pressure comparing to the sea level. So it is better to have a couple of spare days for better acclimatization. The more days you have for acclimatization, the better you feel on the summit day and the more chances you have to reach the top.

Some people believe they can do Mount Elbrus in 4-5 days. It is possible only when you arrive already preacclimatized after climbing other high mountain during last week. In other cases this fast gain of altitude can be dangerous for your health and life. Please read more about altitude sickness.

Anyway, longer itinerary will ensure better acclimatization for your body and an additional reserve day in case of bad weather which means more chances for reaching the summit.

We limit our climbs to 12 people.

With a group climb, you will be in a party of up to 12 climbers who have booked with us separately (strangers). Group climbs are scheduled for set dates on set routes.

In a private climb, you will be in a party of people you specifically booked with (friends, family, etc.). Private climbs can be scheduled on any date you choose and on any route. There is no maximum number of climbers for a private climb. The service on the mountain is exactly the same.

There is a variety of technical clothing and equipment you will need for your climb. A detailed gear list is available here.

Upcoming group tours

Route Dates Days Price Availability
North Route 11.09 - 20.09.2020 10 €990 Book
South Route 12.09 - 20.09.2020 9 €990 Book
South Route 13.09 - 20.09.2020 8 €890 Book
North Route 14.09 - 24.09.2020 11 €1090 Book
North Route 18.09 - 27.09.2020 10 €990 Book

For some tours we have two options regular and VIP.

* - when booking tours for 2 or more participants a discount of 3% is provided.

** - when you pay with a card, payment will be charged in Russian roubles in accordance with the exchange rate of the bank.

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