Mount Elbrus is the tallest peak on the European continent. It is placed tenth on the world’s list of the highest mountains. A dormant volcano, Elbrus is located in the Caucasus Mountains in the South of Russia, close to Georgia.
Elbrus has two main summits, each of them is a dormant volcanic dome. The taller Western summit equals to 5,642 metres (18,510 ft); the lowest eastern summit is 5,621 metres (18,442 ft). Khillar Khashirov was the first man to climb the Eastern summit on the 10th of July 1829. In contrast, the Western summit was firstly conquered in 1874 by a British climbing legend Crauford Grove.
It is tough to tell from a political point of view how which percentage of Caucasus area is split between Europe and Asia. Officially though, it is agreed that Caucasus is a part of Europe hence it has a Northern territory in Russia.
The regular Route is the simplest, safest and quickest. Cable car and chairlift system provide a comfortable way to the top. You should preferably begin your climb at around 2 a.m. from the Diesel Hut or Leaprus mountain hut. It should give you the necessary time to return to the chairlift if your group is a strong one.
The climb of Elbrus from the south should keep you busy for 6–9 hours, with a total height difference of 1,700–2,000 m (5,600–6,600 ft) between the Barrels Huts and the Western summit of Elbrus. A cable car service will take you from Azau to the usual starting location for the Elbrus climb, which is called as Barrels Hut or Garabashi Station (3,720 m; 12,200 ft).
The next place to reach is the Diesel Hut at 4,050 m (13,290 ft) — is located south from the Barrels Huts and up the slopes of Elbrus. Beginning at the Diesel Hut the way takes you right to the east summit of Elbrus and keeps going to south side of slopes. The slopes, which will always follow you during the classical route to Elbrus from the South, have huge crevasses. When you come closer to Pastuhov Rocks (at 4,550–4,700 m (14,930–15,420 ft) elevation), the standard Elbrus route becomes steeper after the point when you go by two linear rock bands.
After completing this part of the way, the Elbrus route takes you first to the south, then to the east summit of Elbrus, or for the lack of a better word the saddle between the east and west summits of Elbrus (5,416 m; 17,769 ft), but shortly after turns left to the west summit (5,642 m; 18,510 ft). Before you go to this saddle, the route takes you through an accurately sloped basin which has a lot of snow. At the saddle there is a shelter, from which the route turns west, thereafter — left, where rocks are placed to make shoulder of the west summit, in the shape of a narrow, easily seen snow path that enables a quick way to the summit ridge.
To go down from Elbrus takes about 3–6 hours. On the way from the Elbrus summit, a regular rookie mistake, that can result in a deathly accident is starting the way down right after you climbed up. Instead of this option, you should rather take a break and later go the east peak and descent from there. This way your route won’t be too steep, and it will be without any life-threatening crevasses.
Conquering Elbrus from the North side needs a lot more hustle and the distance is further. Due to its lower attitude, this way has a lot less logistics. But it can also mean a good thing hence people cannot get there that easily. With very little technical support, you have to camp a lot in tents in order to get to Elbrus. You also need a good company with a true team spirit.
Elbrus ascent by the north route is very icy and snowy combined with totally unknown weather. Mountain climbers from all over the world like to climb Elbrus from the North if the Southern route seems too easy for them.
This route takes you right to footprints of the expedition of General Georgy Emanuel. You will have to go through this entire route by yourself to feel its extreme nature!
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Andrey was my guide to climb Elbrus two times: the first time on the North and we made it to the top. The next year I was in a small group in ski-tour from the South. It was early May and unfortunately weather condition does not allow us to summit. Andrey is very professional and reliable guide. His safety standards are at the top. And he is a very good personality. Very calm, kind and helpful. Andrey is probably one of the best mountain guides in Russia. I would highly recommend him for any climb in the former Soviet Union.
Had an amazing time on Elbrus with these guys! Prior to the trip, they were very helpful and timely in answering all of my questions with gear/logistics/travel and anything that came to mind. On the mountain Dasha was a awesome guide! The whole trip was organized and everything went perfect. The food on the mountain was awesome, you eat well! Reached the summit also which was incredible. Highly recommend climbing with Dasha and Andrey, looking forward to more trips with them.
I climbed with Daska and Andrey in July 2017 on a trip to Elbrus Summit from the north side. Not only did we reach the summit, we also had a great time getting there. They made sure we were well equipped, understood the dangers involved in an ascent, schooled us on techniques to minimize the dangers, and did an excellent job of keeping everyone’s spirits high! I should also mention that we ate like they had packed a Russian grandmother in their bag. Not a moment passed that lacked in snacks, which is an important detail at high altitude. When I needed to see a doctor after the trip (twisted knee) they went above and beyond to help, and I mean really above and beyond! And above and beyond that even! Next stop Lenin Peak!
Great trip with great guide Dasha! North side of Elbrus is wild andbeautiful. Thanks to the Snowrush team we climbed to the summit. Highly recommend this guides!
We went to together with Andrey and Dasha with small and bigger groups to Peak Lenin and Elbrus, skiing in Sochi. Highly professional team! And we're definitely planning new adventures together!