Mount Elbrus – 18,841 feet

A guided climb of Elbrus or Mengi Tau (Mountain of a Thousand Mountains) is a great way for climbers of all levels to experience high altitude mountaineering in a culturally rich setting. At 18,841′ Elbrus is a heavily glaciated twin-coned volcano that dominates the Caucuses Range. Due to its proximity to the Black Sea, it often seems to act as a magnet for brutal weather that streams up from the southwest. Moderate crampon skills, a good level of fitness and a penchant for adventure, will see you to the top and the views of the Caucuses are stunning on a clear day. On summit day, our route ascends about 1000m of moderate snow slopes to the col between the two summit cones. Above this point, we will ascend another 300m of steeper snow to the western summit.

If you have never been to Russia, you are in for a real treat. A culturally diverse country, we will have time in our schedule to visit some of the sights in Moscow like the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil’s Cathedral. We also have the option of beginning our expedition in St. Petersburg, where the stunning architecture of old blends with a vibrant and eclectic modern urban society. The Hermitage in St. Petersburg is one of the greatest art museums in the world and worthy of a week-long visit itself!

After spending one full day exploring Moscow or St. Petersburg with our hiking guides, this travel tour will fly to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Water) and drive the four hours to our hotel in the Baksan Valley, at the foot of Elbrus. We will spend two days doing acclimatization hikes and if conditions and time constraints allow, will have the option of climbing a nearby peak. A tram and ski lifts will then carry us near the primitive, yet serviceable, Barrels Huts on the flank of Elbrus from where we will begin our ascent of the mountain. After the guided Mount Elbrus trek, we will return to Mineralnye Vody, fly back to Moscow, and make our return connections back home.

An ascent of Elbrus is a physically challenging ascent involving almost 5000 feet of elevation gain. Fitness is paramount for a successful ascent, as you need to be prepared for a 12 hour summit day, so be sure to include some long, endurance training into your fitness regimen.  The skills necessary for the climb are relatively straightforward, with the initial 3500 feet involving moderate snow climbing of 20-30 degrees. Higher up, the slope steepens to 35 degrees in spots and can be icy if the wind has scoured the upper mountain. We have opportunities to practice and review the requisite skills, which makes an ascent of Elbrus a great option for any fit mountain enthusiast. Mountain Trip’s travel tour of Mount Elbrus offers breathtaking trekking adventures and leverages experience hiking guides for improved safety.

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN RUSSIA.  Our team will meet in Moscow, where you will meet your guides and go out for a Welcome Dinner.

DAY 2: CONTINGENCY / SIGHTSEEING DAY IN MOSCOW.  We have all just flown a long way to arrive in Moscow.  This day will provide an opportunity to enjoy the city as well as give us options in case of delays or lost luggage.

DAY 3: FLY TO MINERALNYE VODY.  After flying to the Causcuses, we’ll drive to the small town of Terskol, in the Baksan Valley, just below Elbrus.

DAY 4: ACCLIMATIZATION HIKE.  We’ll take an acclimatization hike in a nearby valley with views of Elbrus. This is a moderate day of exercise with modest elevation gains. We’ll spend the night at our hotel in Terskol.

DAY 5: ACCLIMATIZATION HIKE.  Acclimatization hike and review of crampon and ice axe techniques. We’ll spend this night in Terskol, as well.

DAY 6: MOVE TO BARRELS HUTS.  Ascend tram and ski lifts to the Barrels Huts at 12,000 feet and hike onto the glacier, which we will ascend on summit day.

DAY 7: ACCLIMATIZATION HIKE.  Hike up to Pastukhov Rocks at about 15,400 feet for additional acclimatization and descend to the Barrels Huts.

DAY 8: SUMMIT DAY!  We will use a snow cat to take us up to our high point of the previous day’s hike and begin our summit push early in the morning.

DAY 9 – 11: CONTINGENCY DAYS.  Contingency summit days and/or return to Terskol.

DAY 12: FLY TO MOSCOW.  Return flight from Mineralnye Vody to Moscow.

DAY 13: SIGHTSEEING IN MOSCOW.  This day could also be considered another contingency day, but we like to plan on having some additional time to take in the sights and sounds of Moscow.

DAY 14: FLY HOME.  Transfers to airport for flights back home.

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Refunds and Cancellations

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for climbers who must cancel expeditions which they have planned for a long time. Team members must also recognize that, due to the nature of planning expeditions and dealing with governmental permits and regulations, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in the months prior to expedition departure dates. We must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all climbers. Trip cancellation and travel insurance is generally available for all expeditions. U.S. and Canadian residents should contact us for more information regarding travel insurance. Our refund and cancellation policy is outlined below.

• All expeditions require a $1500 deposit to secure a spot on the team. Your submission of a deposit constitutes your acceptance of this Fee Schedule, Refund and Cancellation Policy.

• All deposits for Elbrus expeditions include a non-refundable $750 administration fee.

• Final payments for expeditions must be received 120 days prior to the Team Meeting Day.

• Failure to pay expedition fees by the date they are due constitutes cancellation of your spot on the team and forfeiture of your deposit.

• Any cancellation 120+ days before your Team Meeting Day will be refunded in full, less the administration fee.

• If you cancel 120-90 days before your Team Meeting Day, you are eligible for a refund of 50% of any monies paid, less the deposit.

• No refunds will be provided for cancellations occurring within the last 89 days prior to an expedition.

• All requests for refunds must be made in writing and received in our Colorado office.

• If you register for a climb within 90 days of the Team Meeting Date, expedition fees will be due in full to secure your spot on the team.

• Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel an expedition prior to the departure date for any reason. In such an event, all monies collected by Mountain Trip from team members for that expedition shall be promptly refunded. This is the extent of our financial liability.


Inclusions and Exclusions

Included in the Trip Fee:

• Unlimited pre-trip access to our office resources

• US trained, Mountain Trip guide(s)

• Airport transfer to hotel

• Scheduled accommodation (shared room) for up to four nights accommodation in Moscow (shared room), two nights before your climb and two nights after the climb, as well as up to four nights accommodation and all meals in Terskol.

• Welcome dinner in Moscow

• All food while on the mountain

• Scheduled group meals

• Hut and lift fees, transfers to and from the lifts

• Round Trip flights from Moscow to Mineral Vody

• Porter services for all on-mountain camps, sufficient to limit your load to 35 pounds or less

• All group climbing and cooking equipment

• Custom expedition dispatch blog for your climb, complete with podcasts from the mountain

• Assistance arranging for post-climb activities and obtaining a visa (fees might apply for visa service)


Not Included in the Trip Fee:

• Flights to and from Russia

• Personal clothing and equipment

• Meals beyond the included, scheduled meals

• Additional nights’ accommodation in Russia

• Domestic excess baggage fees

• Additional services such as laundry, room service in hotels, etc

• Airport transfer for your return flight

• Travel and/or rescue insurance

• Costs incurred due to evacuation or unplanned departure from the mountain due to illness or other problems

• Costs incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Mountain Trip

• Customary gratuities for guides and local staff

• Costs as a result of force majeure


General Agreement Concerning Services to be Provided And Responsibilities of Team Members

When registering for an expedition with Mountain Trip we want to help make sure you understand the services we are providing and the services you are responsible for.

Transportation is incidental

The main purpose of becoming a team member is to join us on an expedition in the mountains with our expert hiking guides. As such any transportation we provide or that you may contract for on your own is incidental to the trip. We suggest that you make sure you have time built into your itinerary for delays throughout your Mount Elbrus trekking adventure.

Transportation to and from your destination

We will designate a specific Team Meeting Day for your expedition. Transportation to the meeting point on your Team Meeting Day is to be provided by you. You must arrive in time to be ready to participate in a team meeting at the appointed time on the Team Meeting Day for your expedition. Expedition climbing is very dynamic and we will provide you with a recommendation as to when you should book your flights to and from your destination. We suggest you book a ticket that allows you to change your flight with little effort or cost.

Lodging off the mountain

Mountain Trip will provide lodging per the Inclusions and Exclusions section above. Any additional lodging is your responsibility. Don’t worry about booking a room after your expedition. We generally don’t know how long we’ll be in the mountains, and we can help arrange lodging when we return to “civilization.”

Responsibilities of Team Members

You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, including making all necessary preparations to ensure good health and physical conditioning. You are responsible for understanding the conditions that may exist on the climb and choosing a climb that is appropriate for your abilities and interests. You are responsible for having knowledge of all pre-departure information and for assembling the appropriate clothing and equipment for your climb.

While on the expedition, team members are responsible to maintain basic levels of hygiene and to conduct themselves respectfully with other team members and members of the local population. If a guide feels that a team member is putting other members’ health or safety at risk, the guide has the discretion to remove a team member from an expedition.

Use our office staff and your lead guide as pre-trip resources to ensure that all your questions are answered. Travel insurance may help recoup expenses if you need to leave an expedition due to an illness.

Airline Responsibility Passenger/Airline contracts are in effect while team members are on board any aircraft contracted for use in the expedition.

No Guaranteed Outcomes

While it is one of our goals to help every climber on every Mountain Trip expedition reach the summit, Mountain Trip cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit.  Any number of factors, including weather, the conditions encountered on the route, your personal level of fitness or ability, the abilities of your team mate(s) or any number of other circumstances might result in you and/or your team turning around before reaching the summit.  Failure to reach the summit due to any reason associated with mountaineering, such as weather, team dynamics, route conditions, avalanche hazard, rockfall hazard, etc, or due to your lack of fitness or preparation are not the responsibility of Mountain Trip and will not result in a refund or a rescheduling of your expedition.

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