Russia – Mt Elbrus (South Route)

17 Jun 17

Russia – Mt Elbrus (South Route)


Mt Elbrus is considered an inactive volcano. Lava flows cover the mountain as well as 100 square miles of volcanic ash and debris. Pyroclastic flows of ash and mud, indicative of a powerful eruption that melted ice, also drain off the mountain. An 800-foot-wide snow-filled volcanic crater is on the mountain’s western summit. Elbrus last erupted around 50 A.D.

Mt Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia, is also the highest mountain in the Caucasus Range in southern Russia near the border with Georgia.  Mt Elbrus is one of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. It is also, after Mount Kosciuszko in Australia and Kilimanjaro in Africa, one of the easiest of the Seven Summits.

Though Elbrus is the highest summit in Europe, it is one of the technically easiest of the higher peaks on the continent. The mountain is in the Caucasus Mountains, which is one of the most rugged mountain ranges in the world. Elbrus may not be that rugged of a mountain, but that is not the case with all the surrounding peaks! The standard route up Elbrus is long and strenuous but not technically difficult. The biggest danger is the weather which can be particularly nasty on this mountain. Besides the standard route and the northern route, there are many much more difficult routes on the mountain, though they are very seldom climbed, and little information is available.

About The Climb

Elbrus has two summits with the west summit at 5642 meters slightly higher than the east summit at 5621 meters. We will only be climbing to the west summit.

We will spend two days acclimatizing in Cheget (2900m) and Terskol (3100m) before taking a ski lift up to Barrel Huts (3900m). Our summit attempt will begin from the Barrel Huts after another two days of acclimatization climb. Some climbers chose to take a snow cat up to a higher altitude to start their summit climb which will highly increase their summit success. For this, the group can decide if they want to use a snow cat (to be paid separately). The climb will then continue to the saddle between the peaks at 5416m, and to the west summit. The route is pretty straight forward in good weather and is usually marked with wands. There are no real crevasses provided you do not wander off the standard route. The climb can still be a trial in bad weather, and the extreme cold before sunrise is not to be trivialized.

Experience Required

Past climbing experience is not essential, but you should have a strong trekking background. Having trekked above 5000m is an advantage. Used of crampon, harness, and knowledge on rope-up skills are good to have, but not essential. Pre-trip training will be conducted.

Equipment and Gear

You will need tropical trekking attire during the acclimatization trek; when at the mountain lodge, fleece and down jacket will be required. A down sleeping bag is needed when in the mountain lodge.

You will also need the following equipment for the summit attempt:

  1. High altitude boots / double layer boots or plastic boots (crampon compatible);
  2. Crampons
  3. Climbing harness
  4. Sewn slings
  5. Locking karabiners
  6. Walking ice axe (optional)

* Equipment can be rented in Mineralyn Vody

A packing list will be provided for all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to read about the layering system to be better prepared and choose the right gear/equipment for your climb.

*5-15 Aug 2017 trip is part of our Women On Mountains (WOM) initiative. Through Women On Mountains, we hope more women can be inspired to challenge themselves and greater awareness can be generated for women’s causes. You can also find out more about WOM's activities on our Facebook - Women On Mountains - All Women Challenge.

WOM package fee is based on a group size of 6 - 12 people

You can also form a private group or join an international open group for this trek.

For enquiry, send an email to us at

Women On Mountains Itinerary

DayDescriptionMealsAltitude At Rest Point
Day 1Arrive in Moscow / Domestic flight to Mineralyn Vody and transfer to Terskol Village.-/-/D2100m
Day 2-3Acclimatization treks to Cheget Peak (2900m) and Tersok Peak (3000m)B/L/D2100m
Day 4-9Transfer to Barrel Huts. 2 days of acclimatization treks to 4100m and 4700m before the summit climb (Mt Elbrus, 5642m). Include rest & spare daysB/L/D3800m
Day 10Domestic flight to Moscow / Overnight in MoscowB/-/-255m
Day 11Depart Moscow. (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary )B/-/-

Open International Group Itinerary

DayDescriptionMealsAltitude At Rest Point
Day 1Arrive in Moscow. Domestic flight to Mineralyn Vody and transfer to Terskol Village.-/-/D2100m
Day 2Acclimatization treks to Cheget Peak (3000m)B/L/D2100m
Day 3-7Transfer to Barrel Huts. 2 days of acclimatization treks to 4100m and 4700m before the summit climb (Mt Elbrus, 5642m). Include rest & spare daysB/L/D3800m
Day 8Hike in the Baksan ValleyB/L/D2100m
Day 9Drive to Mineralyn Vody. Domestic flight to Moscow or other onward destinations.B/-/-255m



  1. Return airport transfer in Mineralyn Vody (See Notes for open international group's transport arrangement)
  2. Return airport transfer in Moscow (for WOM group only)
  3. All land transfer as indicated in itinerary
  4. Meals as indicated in itinerary (*packed lunch on summit day)
  5. Twin/triple sharing accommodation in Terskol
  6. Twin/triple sharing accommodation in Moscow (for WOM group only)
  7. Mixed dormitory (non heated) at Barrel Hut
  8. Spare day at Barrel Hut (for WOM group only. See Notes for open international group)
  9. Trek/climb support: Mountain climbing guide (1guide : 3climbers ratio)
  10. Ski lift to Barrel Hut (and return) at 3700m (1 time)
  11. Permits & fees: National Park fee
  12. Entry Visa application support - invitation letter & submission


  1. International & Domestic air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  2. Visa Fee to Russia
  3. Single Supplement
  4. Meals not indicated in itinerary
  5. Extra summit attempt ( €300 per climbing guide. Subject to changes)
  6. Snow cat to Pastukhov Rocks (4690m) (€500 per 1 drive per group of 2-10pax. Subject to changes)
  7. All tipping
  8. Personal porters
  9. Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover trekking up to 6000m)
  10. Personal expenses like shopping, laundry, alcholic drinks etc
  11. Personal travel & trekking gear – warm clothing, shoes, backpacks etc
  12. Extension of stay after the trek
  13. Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
  14. Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay

Notes for Open International Group

Airport transfer : You should arrive in Mineralyn Vody no later than 3pm on Day 1 to take the group bus. If your flight arrives later than 4pm, you'll need to arrange for a private transfer from the airport to Terskol. The group bus leaves  Mineralyn Vody at 730am on Day 9. If your flight is earlier than 1130am, you'll need to arrange for a private transfer from Terskol to the airport.

Back up day : If you use the back up day and have to stay at Barrel Hut, there's an extra charge of €30 per night/person (full board)

Support from Ace Adventure Expeditions

We provide pre-trip support to prepare you for the climb:
1. Trip briefing
2. Equipment preparation & gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Physical training preparation
4. Trip information kit
5. Visa application, invitation letter and submission

We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in Elbrus, possess  intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture and are trained in emergency rescue.

Grading: 3C

Good cardio-vascular fitness is necessary. The snow slope is at a 45 degree angle; it will be strenuous to walk with a double boot especially if you are wearing it for the first time. You should have the ability to trek with personal backpack load of between 5kg and 8kg for up to 12hrs or more on summit day. You will also be descending on snow slope that requires strong endurance fitness.

A training recommendation specific to the climb or trek will be given when you sign up with us. Six months of training would be a good preparation phase for the climb. Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trip.