Mt. Elbrus is the highest peak in Europe, and is a non-technical climb but requires good physical conditioning and use of crampons on the hard snow slopes. We begin our adventure in the old capital city of St. Petersburg with a city tour of this beautiful European city, then transfer to the Baksan valley where we spend several days acclimatizing on the mountain slopes before making our ascent of Elbrus. Our itinerary is well thought out as we have ample time for acclimatization and weather delays. The summit provides amazing views of the Caucus mountain range. This is an excellent peak to train on if you are intending to climb in the Himalaya or Alaska ranges.
Day 1: Arrive Moscow. After retrieving your bags and clearing customs, our representative, identifiable by a Madison Mountaineering sign, will transport you to our hotel. We will gather together as a team for a nice welcome dinner.
Day 2: Moscow city tour. After a leisurely breakfast, we will tour the city of Moscow with a Russian guide. Highlights include Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the Kremlin Armoury.
Day 3: Travel to Terskol, at the foot of Mt. Elbrus. In the morning, we fly from Moscow to Mineral Vody, then travel by motorcoach to the Baksan Valley arriving at our hotel in Terskol, our base of operations situated at the foot of Mt. Elbrus. After settling in, your guide will conduct a gear check. There are well-equipped climbing shops in the area for those last-minute or forgotten items. Options also exist for gear rental. The village of Terskol is located on the edge of the 60-mile long Baksan Valley at an elevation of 2140 m / 7,021 ft.
Day 4: We spend the day acclimatizing by hiking through the Baksan Valley and touring the Cheget Cupola. We sleep in our hotel in Terskol.
Day 5: We take the ski lift and go for an acclimatization hike on Mt. Cheget (3470 m / 11,385 ft). From here we have a perfect view of Mt. Elbrus, as well as our climbing route.
Day 6: We gather our climbing gear and ride the ski lifts to the Shelter LeapRus huts (3700 m / 12,140 ft), hike up to 4526 m / 14,850 ft. We have dinner in the huts and enjoy the fantastic view.
Day 7: From the huts, we continue acclimatizing and conduct a climbing skills review. Afterward, we make final preparations for our summit attempt.
Day 8: Summit Day! We awake early for an alpine start and depart camp before dawn. We climb to the summit of Europe’s highest peak and then descend back to the LeapRus huts for the night. *We have an additional cost option to ride a snowcat up to 4550 m / 14,928 ft at the start of the climb; shortening our summit day and increasing our chance for success.
Day 9: We descend from the huts to our hotel in Terskol for a celebration BBQ dinner as we recap our summit success.
Day 10: Extra day in case of bad weather or other delays.
Day 11: Travel to St. Petersburg. We depart early morning from Terskol, travel by motorcoach to the airport in Mineral Vody and fly to St. Petersburg.
Day 12: St. Petersburg city tour. After breakfast, we will meet with our Russian tour guide and visit the major sites of St. Petersburg, such as the Hermitage Museum (The Winter Palace), The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, and the Fabergé Museum.
Day 13: Depart St. Petersburg. After a morning shuttle to the Pulkovo Airport (LED), we bid farewell to Russia and depart for home.