Elbrus North Approach

Achievable high-altitude climbing in the beautiful Caucasus mountain range. Elbrus North Approach is a fantastic expedition in it’s own right and a great stepping stone to further high-altitude peaks, and Europes addition to the 7 summits!

11 days
height 5642M
grade grade grade grade grade grade
price SALE - 1995
(+ 1 more date)

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Gateway              Minerlyne Vody

Daily distance       5-20km

Weight to carry    20-25kg

Temperature        -20 to +10°C

Height                      5643m

Nights in camp            8

Days climbing              8

Challenge                     4

The North Approach on Elbrus was a true challenge, I had a great time on an excellent and very well organised expedition, Mark (our guide) was professional, amusing, and highly experienced” – Ben

Elbrus North Approach Expedition Details:

A fantastic Expedition to climb Europe’s Highest peak: Mount Elbrus, by its northern approach. Standing at 5,642m – Elbrus gains the title of one of the famous 7 summits (highest mountains on each continent). Our journey takes us all the way from the bottom of the mountain and the enchantingly named Emmanuel Valley to the summit of Europe, through the wonderfully varied terrain of the Caucasus Mountain range.

The Climb:

We start from the Base Camp (BC) on the North side of Elbrus and make our way up to the High Camp (HC). Starting from the Base Camp in Emmanuel Valley we climb through all mountain environments. From the beautiful valley through the alpine pastures to the moraines and finally to the glaciers and the summit of Europe. Our acclimatisation profile takes us up and down the mountain from BC and up to HC, with a day or two of acclimatising and practicing technical skills on the glacier above HC. Summit day is a long 16-20hr day and requires endurance and the ability to “crack on”!

Fitness Requirements and Experience:

The North Approach of Elbrus requires higher levels of fitness, and particularly endurance than the South Approach. Many fit winter walkers, trekkers and climbers can undertake The North Approach of Elbrus. The North Approach of Elbrus has very few technical sections and is a very straightforward ascent, there’s a small crevassed area on the approach glacier – which is easily passed. The majority of the ascent is over snow and glaciated terrain. Prior to this expedition we offer a training weekend which will give you an idea of a training programme for the ascent. We offer training packages through our partners at Exped Performance.

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

We begin our expedition in the beautiful city of Kislovodsk; we may have an afternoon here to wander around and look at the impressive architecture and grab a coffee at one of the great coffee shops in the square.

From Kislovodsk we will take an exhilarating 4×4 drive to the North Elbrus Base Camp (BC) in the Emmanuel Valley sitting at 2,500m.

From Base Camp we will spend the first couple of days acclimatising on the lower slopes of the mountain. Making our way up to the impressive rock mushrooms (3,200m) and cacheing gear at High Camp (HC) which we will move to after a couple of days at 3,800m,

High Camp sits on the moraines beneath the Elbrus North Glacier, here we stay in comfortable hut accommodation, with great food, warmth and music! The next couple of days are again spent acclimatising on the mountain. One day will be spend making our way across the glacier and over the crevasses – looking at glacial travel, rope work and ice axe/crampon use. The other acclimatisation day will be spend heading to Lenz Rocks (4,800m) to further adjust our bodies to the thin air.

Summit day on the North Approach of Elbrus is long… waking around 12am we will have a quick breakfast and then step out into the night. The sun will rise remarkably quickly as we make our way up to our high point at Lenz Rocks, from here we continue up to the saddle 5,300m of Elbrus and make our way up the summit of the West Peak, and the highest point in Europe – Mount Elbrus, 5,642m! The summit day on the North Approach of Elbrus usually takes between 14-18hrs from High Camp to summit and back. We carry only day sacks with enough food, water and layers for this day.

After the summit we will be back at high camp and have a big meal before quickly falling asleep. The following morning we head back down to BC where good food and even a sauna awaits.

After one more night in Base Camp we will take the 4×4 journey back to Kislovodsk for a celebratory meal and maybe even some vodka!

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.


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.


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.


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.



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

5 out of 5

Everything was very well organised and was a fantastic expedition. Our guide Boris was very experienced and always put our safety and wellbeing first. Due to weather our schedule had to be changed and our summit day brought forward but after a successful summit I can truly say it was one of the most amazing and challenging things I’ve ever done, and from it I’m now looking for new and exciting challenges. A couple little tips for the expedition, I would say is to make sure you bring everything it says on the kit list and to also do a few hard hikes prior to the expedition. summit day is a long and hard climb but is achievable and very memorable. I had a truly fantastic time in Russia and would recommend it to anyone looking to challenge themselves.

Aled Smith



1 2 3 4 5

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 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, IML and MIA.


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 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 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 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 Date End Date Days Price Availability
17th Jul 202127th Jul 202111£1995


3rd Sep 202113th Sep 202111£1995


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What is included:
• Accommodation
• All meals
• Technical group climbing equipment
• Medical safety equipment and supplies
• All in-country transfers, including airport transfers
• Expedition team leader
• Access to our RMS team of doctors
• Pre-expedition training course

What is not included:
• Travel to and from UK airport
• International flights and taxes
• Personal equipment
• Travel insurance
• Drinks, snacks and personal spending
• Russian Visa

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.

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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