Elbrus traverse route

Traverse route Highlights

10-11 days

Group tour

From €1190 *

We have both South to North and North to South traverse routes. 

This is probably the most interesting and adventurous way of climbing Mount Elbrus. Not many people are lucky enough to see both sides of Elbrus on the same day. There are absolutely different views, environments and even atmosphere if the north side is compared to the south side.

It is easier to do a south-to-north traverse because you can ride a snow-cat up to 5000 m. on the summit day. Doing a north-to-south traverse is more challenging.

Your personal belongings will be brought to the opposite side of Elbrus by car. On the summit day, you have to take only the most necessary equipment with you. Once having reached the saddle, we will leave our backpacks there, do the summit and pick up them on the way down another side of the mountain. You should keep in mind that every kilogram on your back makes the way up to harder. So it makes sense not to take your sleeping bag with you on the summit day, but hire another one at a hut on the opposite side of the mountain. It costs €20 to hire a sleeping bag for that night only at the hut, but it is really worth that. You have to order this service in advance because it takes time for a sleeping bag to be brought up to the hut. You will have to bring this sleeping bag down to the hotel.

* - 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 acclimatisation 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 the hotel.

Day 4. Transfer to Azau lift station on Mount Elbrus which will take around 10 minutes. The ascent up to Mir station (3500m). Acclimatisation 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 to hire climbing gear. The guide will assist you by choosing the right size. Overnight at the 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. Today there will be no hikes, only snow - and ice course near the camp. The guide will show you how to use an ice axe when you are sliding down the slope. Every participant will be trained in the technique of stopping the slide with an ice-axe. Overnight at the hut.

Day 8. Summit day. You will start at 2 a.m. after having breakfast early in the morning. A snow-cat will bring us up to 4800 m or 5000 m, depending on the group's decision. Once having reached the saddle, we will leave our backpacks there, do the summit and pick up them on the way down the north side of the mountain. Overnight at a hut on the north side, 3800 m.

Day 9. This is the reserve day for summit attempt if the weather was bad on the previous day. Transfer to Kislovodsk. In the afternoon there will be a celebration dinner at a restaurant with handing over certificates of completion.

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

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 properly equipped for the climb. When 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 an off-road vehicle and head towards Mt. Elbrus north side, having visited the rental shop on the way. The ride will take around 2.5 hours. Upon arrival at the base camp (2500 m), there will be lunch and a walk in the surroundings, which include waterfalls, mineral springs and green hills. Dinner and briefing at the camp.

Day 3. Acclimatization hike to the valley of stone mushrooms (3100 m). This is a foggy mystic place where the first symptoms of altitude sickness can already be felt. The way up and down will take four hours. Lunch and dinner at camp.

Day 4. Carry to the High Camp (3800 m). On this day, participants will carry their climbing gear to the next camp - crampons, ice axes, high-mountain boots, etc. Altogether this will make 10 - 15 kilos. The hike will take four hours up and two hours down. Overnight at the Base Camp.

Day 5. Move to the High Camp with the rest of personal belongings. It is possible to use porter services at a rate of 3.5 €/1kg. Lunch at the High Camp and free time.

Day 6. Acclimatization hike up to the Lenz rocks (4800 m). This is a challenging day. The way up will take 5 - 6 hours and another two hours for the way down. Overnight at the hut.

Day 7. Day of rest. Today there will be no hikes, only snow- and ice course near the camp. The guide will show you how to use an ice axe when you are sliding down the slope. Every participant will be trained in the technique of stopping the slide with an ice-axe. Overnight at the hut.

Day 8. The summit day. You will start at 2 a.m. after having breakfast early in the morning. Once having reached the saddle, we will leave our backpacks there, do the summit and pick up them on the way down the south side of the mountain. Overnight at a hut on the south side, 3800 m.

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 the same day 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 Russian law.

- Transportation.

- All group transfers according to the itinerary.

- Delivery of clients' luggage from one side of the mountain to another.

- Accommodation. In Terskol (south side): 3* hotel Snezhny Bars In Kislovodsk (north side): 3* hotel Le Bristol Mountain refuge Heart of Elbrus at 3800 m, mixed dorm (8 people) on the south side Mountain refuge North Hut at 3750 m, mixed dorm, on the north side

- Cable car tickets on Mt. Elbrus.

- Meals. Full board during the whole trip in accordance with the 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 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 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 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.

- Single occupancy supplement - €40

- 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).

- Individual transfers

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

- Extra nights and meals at the hotel in case of early descent or any changes to the itinerary.

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.

Contact us