Elbrus South Approach

An exhilarating expedition to Europe’s highest peak, Mount Elbrus 5642m, located in the beautiful Caucasus Mountain range. It is perfect for people who wish to gain ice and snow experience as full training is given.

8 days
height 5642M
grade grade grade grade grade grade
price 1750
Jun
2019

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Gateway               Mineralyne Vody

Daily distance       5-20km

Weight                   8kg

Temperature        +10 to -20°C

Max Height Gain      1200m

Height                      5642m

Nights on mountain      5

Climbing days               7

Challenge                      4

Jamie provided excellent leadership and kept the whole group safe without being patronising or a kill joy. I learnt winter skills which I plan on applying in Scotland but most of all I’ll treasure the memories of the summit, the views and being with a group of rock-solid snow champions.” – Lucy

Elbrus South Approach Expedition Details:

An exhilarating expedition to Europe’s highest peak, Mount Elbrus 5642m, located in the Caucasus Mountains. On this expedition you climb the highest, west summit of Elbrus via the South Route. Among the mountains of the Caucasus Range, Elbrus stands out as a twin-summited peak, covered in thick ice. Glaciers cover the mountain with 145 square km of ice, giving Elbrus the name ‘Little Antarctica’. On your expedition, the glacier is a daily companion – from stepping off the chairlifts on your first day to setting foot out of the cabin in the mornings, you’re met with the glare of the snow and expanse of the glacier.

 

The Climb:

The South Face of Mt Elbrus brings us up fairly easy angled snow slopes, with fixed lines to aid us on steeper sections. Climbing here is a mix between Alpine and Himalayan, but the feel of the mountain is very distinct. The summit day can be long and demanding, taking anything from 7 to 10 hours and requiring a lot of stamina. Passing the shattered Pastukhova Rocks at 4,700m, you will climb around the rocks of the East Peak and up into the massive snow basin between the West and East Peaks. Above the Sedlowina Saddle, the ascent leads up a steep snow and ice slope to cross the horizontal ridge crest to the summit. Now it is only a matter of putting one foot in front of the other to slowly gain the summit, where you are met with staggering views across the Caucasus range and into Georgia. As one of the Seven Summits, Elbrus has inspired generations of climbers. Our full training programme gives you essential snow and ice experience to follow aspirations of climbing higher peaks, or to continue the list of the Seven, if you are hooked.

 

Fitness requirements and experience:

The climb requires good levels of fitness and stamina. Elbrus is considered to be a suitable ‘starter expedition’ for fit trekkers and climbers. It is achievable by strong mountain walkers who have the ability to adapt to the rigors of trekking to over 5,000m. The South Route offers a safe ascent, as all crevasses are known and the climb is technically straightforward. Prior to your expedition, we run a free training course, which will provide you with all the skills and information necessary to succeed on your trip.

More Info

If you would like more information on this expedition you can download the full PDF trip details or drop us a line with your questions!

Itinerary Overview

The first few days of acclimatisation will be spent in the nearby valleys, and climbing another Caucasian peak, Cheget (3,461m). A light scramble to the top offers rewarding views across to Mt. Elbrus, and the opportunity to practice your crampon and ice axe skills.

After making our final preparations, the group will move onto the mountain. Ski lifts will take us up to 3,800m, where we stay in the iconic Barrel huts, old oil barrels dropped on the slopes of the mountain, which have been converted into refuges.

After a few days practicing with crampons and ice axe and further acclimatisation to the height of the Pastukhova Rocks (4,640m), it is simply a matter of waiting for the weather to allow for a summit attempt. Carrying only our daysacks, we then set out to tackle the final section to the summit.

With good weather and snow conditions, our programme offers two different options for reaching the summit: either climbing the entire section from the Barrel huts to the summit by your own efforts, or cutting down on distance by taking the snowcat up to varying heights and climbing from there, which is still a very tough challenge.

For a detailed itinerary, download the PDF trip notes at the top of this page.

Training Course:

While all of our itineraries have an emphasis on skills and personal development, we regard training in the pre-expedition phase as highly important. This is why it is part of our trip package. Helping our clients gain confidence in themselves and their abilities is something we take very seriously. Our training courses are the reason why our groups are strong and close-knit, and have a strong track record of reaching the expedition goals. The pre-expedition training course is designed to provide you with all the skills and information necessary to succeed on your trip and enjoy the experience. The training course will take you out into the mountains of the Lake District or the Cairngorms, where you have the opportunity to test and get to know your equipment.

Equipment:

We aim to make sure that all the kit we use is to the highest standards. We are equipped with satellite telephones and full safety equipment. We have provided a kit list on these pages, but we are here to answer any questions and help you choose the right equipment. Our pre-expedition training course is designed to give you time to get to know your equipment before setting out on your trip.

Safety:

Your expedition will be fully supported by experienced guides who will set safety parameters and have detailed knowledge of high-altitude mountaineering and its risks. This acknowledges that everyone on the team has a role to play in the safe outcome of the expedition, being mindful of risks and reducing them. In the local area there is plenty of means for rescue as well as local mountain rescue on the ground.

Food:

We provide nutritious expedition food for each participant for all the days trekking. It will be enough calories for the trip, but if you feel like having some extra snacks, please feel free to bring them. Our selection of food to choose from is based on long experience where energy, taste and also preparation are key factors. Please let us know if you have special needs or concerns regarding food or nutrition, we will do our best to help.

Operating on the Mountain

Our Expedition is run as a small group, and the plan and aim is to summit together as a team. Upon arrival in base camp, the group will get a detailed introduction to how the expedition will be operated. There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions. The expedition is the opportunity to put all the training into practice. Our guide support gives us flexibility during the climb for team members to move at different speeds and for the team to split, if it is safe to do so. All of our leaders have considerable experience of climbing at high altitude. You can find out more about our guides and their summit track records on our website.

 

Load carrying on the mountain

Our pre-expedition training course will teach you all about equipment and how it is best broken down to be used at different stages. We will make sure that you pack lightly, taking only the essentials for the expeditions.

Altitude and Health

Acclimatisation is a process which allows the body to adapt to an environment with reduced oxygen. The best way to acclimatise is to ascend slowly or to ascend to a higher level for a while, then to descend. An ideal scenario will combine these two techniques. All our trips are designed with a focus on safe and sensible acclimatisation. Nevertheless the speed at which a body adapts varies from individual to individual.

Expect changes to your body and habits to occur, including your muscles feeling tired more quickly, a change in your sleeping habits, increased gasping for breath, loss of appetite and generally requiring more energy to do basic things. Our guides are very experienced in identifying symptoms of altitude sickness and will always have alternative plans to aid further acclimatisation in the event that this may be required.

Rest days, Acclimatisation and Training

A combination of rest days, acclimatisation days and training whilst on the mountain will ensure that you are physically and mentally on best form to operate effectively in high altitude conditions, and finally attempt the summit push. From our base camps along the mountain, we select suitable spots for training, where you familiarise yourself with and revise the techniques that you’ll need to use higher on the mountain. Skills development is an essential part of our programme, starting as early as possible before your expedition. On our training days before and during the expedition, you will practice skills in different areas:

• Use of crampons and axes
• Safety techniques
• Medical equipment and procedures
• Camping techniques and high-altitude cooking

Team leaders are constantly assessing the conditions on the mountain to ensure a safe ascent, and you will have the opportunity to learn about hazards and weather formation yourself.

 

Acclimatisation

Will be achieved by ‘climbing high and sleeping low’, until everyone feels suitably adjusted to make the next move up to a higher camp.

 

ADD A REVIEW

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You will get to know your guides in person on the training course. Mark is the main guide on most expeditions, but he has teamed up with a handful of other guides who form part of the Exped team. All of our guides are capable and dedicated. They have the right attitude – both towards reaching the goal and towards their expedition teams. We strive for safety and mutual support in our teams, as well as having a bit of banter. All of us love adventure, but most of all we want to pass on our knowledge, share amazing experiences, and inspire others to be ambitious.

MARK WALKER

Mark is the director of Exped Adventure and the head guide on many of our expeditions. Mark is a highly experienced Expedition Leader and Mountaineering Instructor with over 20 years of mountaineering experience. Mark grew up in the English Lake District and has been climbing, running, walking in the mountains all over the world since he was a small child. He knows the Lake District, North Wales,Scotland and the Peak District like the back of his hand.

Mark has led a variety of expeditions to the far corners of the globe. He specialises in technical mountaineering and remote trekking expeditions. Mark grew up in the English Lake District and knows the area inside out.

Mark has put up new routes in the Lake District, Scotland, and Kenya. Climbing in all disciplines remains his passion.

Mark’s Expediton experience is broad and vast, including expeditions to Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Peru, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Norway, Svalbard, Russia, and more.

Marks high altitude climbing experience includes; Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Kyajo Ri, Elbrus, Tharpa Chuli, Singu Chuli, Mont Blanc, The Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and much more!

Mark lives in Windermere in the Lake District with his young family.

Mark is a certified ML, WML, and MIA.

MATT STAPLEY

Matt is an experienced outdoor instructor and has been in the industry for 12 years. He has worked with clients all over the UK, Peru, and Europe and has mountaineering experience in America, North Africa and Western and Eastern Europe. Matt’s personal interests include multi-day mountain marathons, ultra marathons and triathlons.

Matt is a certified ML, WML and MIA.

RICH MAYWHORT

Rich has 30 years experience of climbing and mountaineering, with 15 of those years as a professional Mountaineer and Climbing instructor. He has climbed and led clients extensively over the breadth of the UK and in the Alps.

With climbing and mountaineering experience over Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, Canada, Slovenia, Greece, random islands and North Africa.

GARY FLETCHER

Gary has been working as Group Captain and Training Expedition Leader in the Royal Air Force for 25 years before taking on his current freelance work as Outdoor Instructor. He has led numerous White Water Kayaking expeditions to the French Alps and New Zealand, as well as Sea Kayaking expeditions in Scotland. He has been on expeditions to the High Atlas Mountains and Nepal, including Gokyo Ri (5357m).

 

TRACEY WRIGHT

Tracey is a highly experienced International Mountain Leader and also holds the Mountain Instructor Certificate. She has Alpine experience on touring and cross country skis, including summits of Weismeis, Pigne d’Arolla, Grand Paradiso and Mt Leone. She has lead mountaineering expeditions to Mt Kenya, including ascent of Diamond Couloir, Kilimanjaro, Bolivian 6000m peaks and Mont Blanc. She has extensive personal snow and ice mountaineering experience in New Zealand, the Alps and Scotland.
Currently, she is working as a maths teacher at an International school of Aiglon College, Chesieres, Switzerland where she assists with the Outdoor Ed programme throughout the year.

Outdoor national qualifications British Assoc of Snowsport Instructors Alpine Level 2, Cross Country Ski Leader; Mountain Instructors Certificate (winter climbing instructor); International Mountain Leader.

 

Start DateEnd DateDaysPriceAvailability
15th Jun 201922nd Jun 20198£1750

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What is included:
• All meals and accommodation in the Baksan Valley Hotel (excluding drinks and excluding extra nights due to summiting early)
• All meals and accommodation when on the mountain
• Food, fuel and cooking equipment whilst on the mountain
• Permits, charges, importation taxes and levies payable to the Local Authorities in connection with the expedition
• Park fees as appropriate
• Medical safety equipment and supplies
• Road transfer to and from in-country airport
• Expedition team leader and in-country guides
• Access to our RMS team of doctors (please see website information for more details)
• Training course

What is not included:
• Travel to and from UK airport
• International flights and taxes
• Personal equipment
• Travel Insurance
• Drinks and personal spending
• Tips for local staff
• Visas
• Personal use of communication equipment
• Internal flights to Mineralnye Vody •
Use of scnowcat (price is dependent on size of group, length of travel and the possibility of sharing with other teams. Allow £50 to £100 per person)
• Further expenses if we summit early

Booking – What happens next:
• The deposit reserves you a place on the trip. It is non-refundable according to our Booking Conditions. You will receive a confirmation of booking and further details about the trip.
• We will also supply you with more information on the training weekend and a complete equipment list.
• If you require a payment plan, get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can discuss the options.
• We will need you to fill in a Client Booking form for our records, regarding any health issues, your experience, insurance and next of kin details.
• The remaining balance will be due 8 weeks prior to departure (unless you arranged a payment plan). Any cancellations at this point are subject to our Booking Conditions.

Bespoke option:
We can organise this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.

Insurance:
You will need a travel insurance policy that caters for the activities you will undertake on your trip with Exped Adventure. It is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have such a policy. For advice on best policies get in touch.

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