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 SALE - 1650
(+ 5 more dates)

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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.


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

My first expedition and the start of my seven summits bid! Elbrus is a great mountain to start with and Exped Adventure are a fantastic company to help you achieve the Summit! From my initial enquiry, exped adventure were prompt in answering all my questions and were clearly very knowledgable and passionate about the services they offer! From assisting with my visa application to offering quality equipment to hire for very little cost, exped adventure far exceeded my expectations. Sam, my guide, made the whole trip very enjoyable and educated me on the use of crampons, ice axes and acclimatising. The expedition is well organised and accomadation was easily the best on the mountain. I encourage anyone that wants a challenge, to gain climbing skills and reach the highest point in Europe to book with Exped Adventure! From an amatuer climbing that submitted Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe on 20/06/19 thanks to Exped Adventure!

5 out of 5

3rd expedition with ExpedAdventure so they must be doing something right – thoroughly enjoyed this 2nd summit for me – learnt a lot and looking forward to the next one already. I would definitely recommend them for an unforgettable experience!

5 out of 5

what an expedition Elbrus is! made even better by Exped i really felt part of a family no an expedition team, although we had only met at the airport the guides from Exped quickly helped us gel together. the knowledge the guides offered was second to none so not only did we get conquer the mountain we also learnt some valuable mountaineering skills! i would recommend Exped to anyone and personally wouldn’t book with anyone else!

Jamie Miranda
5 out of 5

Second big mountain trip now with Exped and can not recommend highly enough for anyone looking for Adventure. Everything is run expertly from accommodation in the lovely mountain village of cheget, to all the food and meals provided always plenty of and to a high standard. Had a great team and great Guide second big mountain trip with Exped Adventure but definitely will not be my last. Elbrus is a stunning mountain set in priceless mountain range scenery making the hard slog to the summit well worth it.

5 out of 5

Great expedition with Exped Adventure. Very well run trip with a laid-back but safe feel to the whole trip. Would recommended getting involved with Exped Adventure for a great trip and a fun time out in the hill. Thanks Joe

Joe Alexander
5 out of 5

After completing the Toukbal trip with Exped and enjoying every minute of it I wanted to try something abit tougher and thought of these guys straight away Elbrus is in an incredible part of the world in a remote valley in Russia and I couldn’t believe how stunning the range was and how friendly all the locals are Everything from Exped was organised perfectly, from the pre-trip weekend in the lake district to sort out some skills and any gear that was still needed to the constant support leading up to the trip answering every question we had I couldn’t of asked for a better guide and team. We all had a great time with great weather in an amazing part of the world I never would of normally considered Just signed up for the Aconcagua trip with Exped, bring on January!

Alex J
5 out of 5

What a way to finish a year-long honeymoon! Jamie provided excellent leadership and I wouldn’t have made it up and down without him, he also 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 (including but not limited to my husband). Can’t recommend Exped or Elbrus highly enough. Great value for money for a sparkly snow and summit experience.

5 out of 5

Climbed in the summer of 2016 My 6th trip with EXPED as I have had nothing but great times before. This is a big arse of a mountain and is snuck away in southern russia. The trip there really gives you an insight into the vastness of the country After a days acclimitising and getting to know the little local village its off up the ski lifts to the huts. Although basic they did a job and the food was excellent The mountain itself is a tease, you can almost always see the summit but the slope and the altitude demand you keep to a steady pace over the week Summit day is tough but the views as you climb are simply amazing, the best I have. After a few tough slopes and some ‘clippin in’ the summit comes into view A proper mountain that beat a fair few experienced people, well worth it

Ste C
5 out of 5

My second trip with Exped and once again very enjoyable, professionally organised and well supported. Elbrus is an immense mountain and offered exactly the challenge I was looking for. The views throughout the climb of the glaciated Caucasus are simply awesome and give you a perfect excuse to pause for breath at the higher altitudes! Although our summit push was unfortunately halted 200m vertical metres from the summit due to heavy snowfall and strong winds (absolutely the right decision!) this was a fantastic trip from start to finish with Russia proving to be a cultural fascinating and intriguing back drop to some great climbing. Jamie and Sam showed great leadership throughout the week and managed the pace of the group perfectly. I will definitely be coming back in the future to knock off those last 200m and when I do Exped will be my fist point of call.

5 out of 5

This was one of the most memorable expeditions I have been on so far. Although we didn’t make the summit, due to poor weather, we did get to the saddle between the summits at 5400m. The Exped team were great from beginning to end, I would highly recommend this trip as not only does summiting get one of the 7 summits checked, but the experience of going to Russia was really interesting. Hoping return in a few years to try again for the summit.

Mark Mathews



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, 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
12th Jun 202119th Jun 20218£1650


19th Jun 202126th Jun 20218£1650


3rd Jul 202110th Jul 20218£1650


10th Jul 202117th Jul 20218£1650


7th Aug 202114th Aug 20218£1650


14th Aug 202121st Aug 20218£1650


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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.

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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