Elbrus Overview - Highest Point in Europe - North Side Option
We are once again offering a chance to summit Elbrus on the much less traveled North Side. This is an expedition style climb, carrying our own tents and food (no huts or support that the South Side offers) with multiple summit day options.
With over 20 years of experience on Elbrus and nearly 100% summit success, Alpine Ascents offers an unsurpassed program utilizing our expertise in both logistics and guides. While travel to Russia can be cumbersome with many logistical hurdles, we take great care in preplanning the small details giving you and our expert guides (once again Vern Tejas scheduled to lead our 2014 climbs) an excellent chance to reach the summit of Europe's highest peaks. Providing extra summit days, multiple reservations at high camp, working with an excellent staff of Russian guides and a keen sense of how to care for our climbers, helps us bridge the gap from daunting task to a well-executed journey. This season we look to return to the North Side.
Along with offering 2 South Side expeditions, we are also offering 1 climb via the North Side.
The North Side is a far less traveled side of the mountain, far away from the business of the South Side route. In turn we make our attempt expedition style, carrying al our gear with the option of summiting from a lower camp or setting a high camp. (This will be dependent weather and team strength). This North Side climb requires that team member have completed our 6 day mountaineering course, or equivalent. Our North Side climb is launched out of Moscow and includes a full day tour.
Our Elbrus program is open to any climber who has successfully completed our Mt. Rainier program or similar. This journey begins with acclimatization along well-traveled trails, which wind endlessly through the foothills of the Caucasus. En route we have many interactions with the local people as we wander through the villages and markets that pepper the lower region on the mountain. Once we have acclimatized and established high camp, we prepare for an early morning departure to the West Summit (the higher of the twin peaks). The route ascends 1000m of moderate snow climbing to the saddle. From here we turn west and head up 300m of steeper terrain, finally reaching the summit plateau. See day to day itinerary.
Elbrus is the near prefect ascent for aspiring climbers who wish to test their skills at increasing altitude. Although only basic mountaineering skills are required, high-altitude and unpredictable weather make this a challenging and extremely enticing ascent.
Region and City Tour
The location of Elbrus provides a look into the cultures of the Turkish, Georgian, Azerbaydzhani and Russian people. Our expedition begins in the city of St. Petersburg, a traditional vanguard of European culture. It is one of the few cities in the world which has retained its charm while continuing to be a place of great change. Downtown sprawls with exquisite architecture that canopies streets of shops, small restaurants and an active nightlife scene. Following our climb we return via Moscow, the focal point of commerce and politics in Russia. Moscow is ever-changing with markets and state shops dominating street life. Depending on schedules, we take time to visit the Kremlin, stroll at Red Square, along the Moscow River and tour the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.
Both our teams summitted the south side with over 90% success rate in a year that had a number of teams not reaching the summit. We attribute this to our expert guide and our extended itinerary which allowed us a 2nd summit attempt when weather turned bad on the first summit attempt. Our flexibility and ability to reserve multiple days at high camp, rebook the snow cats etc. were vital in giving Team 2 a chance to summit. 2012 Re-Cap: 2012 proved to be a spectacular year with our 3 full teams reaching the summit under the leadership of Vernon Tejas, assisted by Carole Tejas. We returned to the South Side and the mountain proved to be in great condition for all climbs. We had 3 outstanding groups and as always, we are happy to put you in touch with previous year's team members.
North Side Itinerary
Aug 10 Depart USA.
Aug 11 Arrival Moscow.
Aug 12 Moscow Tour.
Aug 13 Transfer to the airport. 1st flight to Mineral Vody. Transfer to Pyatigorsk spa-city to pick up gear food/supplies and head to Elbrus base camp. Approximately 160 km by ground road by 4x4 off-road truck or jeeps (approx. 6 hours). The Base Camp is situated on Jilisu – glade Surkh. Build up the tent camp. Dinner. Overnight in tents (2400m).
Aug 14 Acclimatization trek to "The North Prijut", 3800m. (~4 hours). Return back to the Base Camp (for better acclimatization). This day the group carries part of their gear to Camp 1.
Aug 15 Acclimatization hike to Camp 1 ("The north Prijut" hut, 3800m). Accommodation.
Aug 16 Acclimatization hike to Lenz Rocks, 4700 m. Return to the Camp 1 (3800m).
Aug 17 Hike to the Lenz Rocks (4700m). Possible move to high camp. (At this time we decide if setting a high camp is best option or look to summit from current camp).
Aug 18 Summit day: early start at 3:00 a.m. Ascent on the western summit (5642m). Descend back to Camp 1 on the moraine. (3800m) (from 8 to 15 hours)
Aug 19 Extra day for acclimatization and weather
Aug 20 Extra day for acclimatization and weather
Aug 21 Descend from Camp 1 (3800m) to Base Camp (2500m).
Aug 22 Transfer to Mineral Vody. Flight to Moscow. Transfer to the hotel. Accommodation.
Aug 23 Transfer to the airport. Flight home.
Climbing Skill Level
Climbers should have successfully completed our 6-Day Training course, 8-Day, 12-Day, 13-Day or have equivalent skills and experience. Those who had a strong performance on a 3-Day Baker or Rainier climb may also join. We expect climbers to have basic skills on snow and ice, self arrest, crevasse rescue and glacier travel. Snow and ice slopes to be dealt with are moderate (up to 45 degrees). The requirements are also based on our desire to have similarly skilled team members.
Elbrus at 18,510’ is an extreme, high altitude climb. You should be comfortable climbing 4-8 hours per day. Summit day is the most demanding portion of the climb, typically involving 8 hours for the ascent and 6-7 hours for the descent. Our expeditions require strength & endurance. Being in sound physical condition is the single most important aspect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential. The better your physical condition, the more likely you are to perform well and have an enjoyable experience. The most frequent comment we have received over the years is that climbers have underestimated the fitness level needed to fully enjoy their trip. Additionally, inadequate fitness will affect the atmosphere, pace, and overall enjoyment of the climb for all participants. We highly recommend checking with your physician before undertaking any strenuous activity. Comprehensive training information can be found here.