Mt. Elbrus south side climbing

South route Highlights

8-10 days

Group tour

From €890 *

South route is the easiest, fastest and most reliable route on Mt. Elbrus. You start your acclimatisation in the town of Terskol, spending several nights at a comfortable hotel located at 2300 m above sea level hiking to higher altitude each day in surroundings.

Then you take a ski lift, which brings you and your backpack up to 3800 m where our mountain refuge is situated. There are just a hundred meters to walk from the cable car station to hut. You continue your acclimatisation process, now starting from the hut, climbing higher and higher every day, but still getting back to 3800 m for overnight.

On the summit day, you will be picked up by a snow-cat from the hut and brought up to 4800 m or even 5000 m, from where you start climbing straight up to the summit. If you don’t feel well on the way down, you can ride a snow-cat once again.

At the hut, there is electricity, refrigerators, so there is always fresh milk, eggs, meat, vegetables. Our cooks prepare porridges, salads, soups, meat dishes. We also provide vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menus. Water is brought from the town and doesn’t require additional purification.

At the hut, you can recharge your electronic devices. There is a mobile signal, so you can post pictures and contact your friends on social media.

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

Itineraries

Day 1. Arrival at the Mineralnye Vody airport (MRV) before 2 p.m. There are several domestic flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg and international flights arriving from Istanbul and Dubai. Our guide will be awaiting you outside the arrival hall. Once everyone has arrived, the bus leaves the airport heading to the town of Terskol. The drive will take 3 - 3.5 hours. Upon arrival at the hotel you will have some free time for resting and taking a shower, then dinner and first briefing with the guide.

Day 2. After breakfast, the group will go for its first acclimatization day. Today you'll ascend the peak Terskol (3100 m) or Mt. Cheget (3100 m), this depends on weather conditions. The hike will take 4-5 hours. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3. Today the group will ascend to the mountain hut at 3800 m. You can leave your urban clothes at the hotel and take with you only necessary climbing equipment. Ascending with a cable car will take around 1 hour. After having tea and coffee with sandwiches and sweets at the hut we put on mountain boots and crampons and go higher - up to 4300 m. Overnight at hut.

Day 4. Acclimatization hike up to Pastukhov rocks (4800 m). This will take around 6 hours in total. Overnight at hut.

Day 5. Day of rest. There will be no hikes on this day, just a short snow- and ice course not far from the hut.

Day 6. Summit day. After early breakfast at 2 a.m. the group will be picked up by a snow-cat and taken up to 4800 m or even higher. The further way to the summit takes on average 4-6 hours. Overnight at hut. It is possible to descend to the hotel, if the group comes back from the summit early, but this will cause extra expenditure for accommodation and meals at the hotel, because this night is already paid for the hut.

Day 7. Descent to the hotel or reserve day for the summit attempt. In the last case the group has to descend to the hotel by whatever means required on same day in order to be in time at the airport on the next day. Celebration dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 8. Depart to the airport at 06.30 a.m. in order to be there by 09.30 a.m. If this time doesn't suit you, it is possible to order a private airport transfer.


Day 1. Arrival at the Mineralnye Vody airport (MRV) before 2 p.m. There are several domestic flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg and international flights arriving from Istanbul and Dubai. Our guide will be awaiting you outside the arrival hall. Once everyone has arrived, the bus leaves the airport heading to the town of Terskol. The drive will take 3 - 3.5 hours. Upon arrival at the hotel you will have some free time for resting and taking a shower, then dinner and first briefing with the guide.

Day 2. After breakfast the group will go for its first acclimatization day. Today you'll ascend the peak Terskol (3100 m) or Mt. Cheget (3100 m), this depends on weather conditions. The hike will take 4-5 hours. Overnight at hotel.

Day 3. Transfer to Azau lift station on Mount Elbrus which will take around 10 minutes. Ascent up to Mir station (3500m). Acclimatization hike up to 4100m. Descent to hotel. Since this is the last day before moving to the hut at 3800 m, after coming back to the hotel you will visit our rental shop in order to hire climbing gear. The guide will assist you by choosing the right size. Overnight at hotel.

Day 4. Today the group will ascend to the mountain hut at 3800 m. You can leave your urban clothes at the hotel and take with you only necessary climbing equipment. Ascending with a cable car will take around 1 hour. After having tea and coffee with sandwiches and sweets at the hut we put on mountain boots and crampons and go higher - up to 4300 m. Overnight at hut.

Day 5. Acclimatization hike up to Pastukhov rocks (4800 m). This will take around 6 hours in total. Overnight at hut.

Day 6. Day of rest. There will be no hikes on this day, just a short snow- and ice course not far from the hut.

Day 7. Summit day. After early breakfast at 2 a.m. the group will be picked up by a snow-cat and taken up to 4800 m or even higher. The further way to the summit takes on average 4-6 hours. Overnight at hut. It is possible to descend to the hotel if the group comes back from the summit early, but this will cause extra expenditure for accommodation and meals at the hotel because this night is already paid for the hut.

Day 8. Descent to the hotel or reserve day for the summit attempt. In the last case the group has to descend to the hotel by whatever means required on same day in order to be in time at the airport on the next day. Celebration dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 9. Depart to the airport at 06.30 a.m. in order to be there by 09.30 a.m. If this time doesn't suit you, it is possible to order a private airport transfer.


Day 1. Arrival at the Mineralnye Vody airport (MRV) before 2 p.m. There are several domestic flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg and international flights arriving from Istanbul and Dubai. Our guide will be awaiting you outside the arrival hall. Once everyone has arrived, the bus leaves the airport heading to the town of Terskol. The drive will take 3-3.5 hours. Upon arrival at the hotel you will have some free time for resting and taking a shower, then dinner and first briefing with the guide.

Day 2. After breakfast the group will go for its first acclimatization day . Today you’ll ascend the peak Terskol (3100 m). The hike will take in total 4-5 hours. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3. Acclimatization hike up to Mt. Cheget (3100 m). The hike will take 4-5 hours. Overnight at hotel.

Day 4. Transfer to Azau lift station on Mount Elbrus which will take around 10 minutes. Ascent up to Mir station (3500m). Acclimatization hike up to 4100m. Descent to hotel. Since this is the last day before moving to the hut at 3800 m, after coming back to the hotel you will visit our rental shop in order to hire climbing gear. The guide will assist you by choosing the right size. Overnight at hotel.

Day 5. Today the group will ascend to the mountain hut at 3800 m. You can leave your urban clothes at the hotel and take with you only necessary climbing equipment. Ascending with a cable car will take around 1 hour. After having tea and coffee with sandwiches and sweets at the hut we put on mountain boots and crampons and go higher - up to 4300 m. Overnight at hut.

Day 6. Acclimatization hike up to Pastukhov rocks (4800 m). This will take around 6 hours in total. Overnight at hut.

Day 7. Day of rest. There will be no hikes on this day, just a short snow- and ice course not far from the hut.

Day 8. Summit day. After early breakfast at 2 a.m. the group will be picked up by a snow-cat and taken up to 4800 m or even higher. The further way to the summit takes on average 4-6 hours. Overnight at hut. It is possible to descend to the hotel, if the group comes back from the summit early, but this will cause extra expenditure for accommodation and meals at the hotel, because this night is already paid for the hut.

Day 9. Descent to the hotel or reserve day for the summit attempt. In the last case the group has to descend to the hotel by whatever means required on same day in order to be in time at the airport on the next day. Celebration dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 10. Depart to the airport at 06.30 a.m. in order to be there by 09.30 a.m. If this time doesn’t suit you, it is possible to order a private airport transfer.


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 the Russian law.

Transportation. Group airport transfers airport - Terskol - airport. Individual transportation costs (€70, max 3 people).

Accommodation in accordance with itinerary.

3* hotel Snezhny Bars shared twin or triple room in the foot of Elbrus.

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

Cable car tickets in accordance with itinerary.

Meals at hotel and at hut in accordance with itinerary.

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 to go, 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 1 person) for you and your guide.

Climbing certificate.

Park fee.

Cost of a tour does not include:

Riding snow-cat (ratrak, a vehicle transporting people along the snow slopes). The exact cost depends on 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.

Single occupancy supplement - €40 per night.

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).

Cost of additional night at hotel when you decide to descend to the valley on the reserve days because this 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 hotel on reserve days are also not included (only breakfast).

Individual transfer from or to airport - €80.

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

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 03.07 - 12.07.2020 10 €990 Book
South Route 03.07 - 12.07.2020 10 €1090 Book
South Route 05.07 - 12.07.2020 8 €890/€1450 Book
Traverse Route from North to South 06.07 - 16.07.2020 11 €1190 Book
North Route 06.07 - 16.07.2020 11 €1090 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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