Mt. Elbrus, Russia

Skiing Mt. Elbrus July 2010

If skiing 18,540 foot Mount Elbrus is one of your dreams, then join Ice Axe on this ski and snowboard expedition. Climbing Mt. Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe and one of the Seven Summits, is an admirable feat. A volcanic massif located north of the Caucasus main ridge, 18,540 foot Mt. Elbrus rises almost 3,000 feet higher than surrounding peaks. The summit offers breathtaking views of the Caucasus Mountains and the impressive tributary valley systems.

 Ice Axe guides will cover avalanche safety and glacier travel on the terrain of the Baksan Valley. If you are short of time,  Ice AXE can use  the assistance of Sno-Cats to about 15,000 feet. From there, we will climb Mount Elbrus and enjoy a descent of more than 6,000 vertical feet.

For skiing and snowboarding , the Baksan Valley offers diverse terrain with steep bowls, vast open snowfields and fine tree runs amongst the pine forests. We will acclimatize with multiple hikes and descents in the various tributary valleys of the Baksan valley system. Then the group will ride lifts up the lower slopes of Elbrus to slightly over 12,000 feet. We will enjoy the excellent food and hospitality of the Barrel Camp while continueing to acclimatize and polishing up our skills for the big descent.

Although climbing Mt. Elbrus does not demand technical skills, good physical fitness and proper acclimatization are required to reach the summit. Several pitches of 40 degrees will be found, but generally slopes average a modest 15-30 degrees. Natural hazards exist, including rocks, crevasses and variable snow conditions; from corn, powder, sastrugi, ice to breakable crust. Due to these hazards, combined with the strenuous nature of skiing at 18,000′, we require that the participants in the Elbrus descent be advanced skiers or boarders; preferably with some off- piste experience. We can skin or crampon to the summit, whichever technique you are familiar with. Our experienced and knowledgeable American and Russian guides are committed to helping each client reach the 18,540 foot summit.

On summit day you will be required to climb nearly 4,000′ vertical feet  from approximately the 15,000 foot level. In addition to a regular summit pack with all the mountaineering essentials, you will be carrying skis or a snowboard, making this an extremely strenuous expedition beyond the demands of a typical ascent of the mountain.

During the descent you will encounter mixed conditions where the utmost of control will be required to maintain a safe descent.

To prevent serious injury high on the mountain it is critical that the participants be competent riders or skiers in strong physical shape, with more than enough ability to be able to handle the moderately technical challenges and highly variable conditions.

 Cost: US$ 5000

 Included in cost:

  • Scheduled hotel nights, based on double or triple occupancy.
  •  Food while on the mountain
  • Scheduled group restaurant meals
  • Group climbing and cooking gear
  •  Airport transfer to hotel Domestic flight from Moscow to Mineral Vody
  • Ice Axe guides and staff.

 Not included in cost:

  • Airfare to Moscow
  • Personal equipment
  • Staff/guide gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature: phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.
  • Airport transfer for the flight home
  • Airport taxes
  • Medical/evacuation and trip insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Excess baggage Fees

 We Strongly encourage all clients to purchase both Medical Evacation and Trip Cancellation insurance. Cancellation insurance provides coverage for: trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delay, medical expenses and emergency assistance.

The weather is extremely variable so be prepared for a wide range of temperatures; from freezing nights, to adverse snow and wind conditions, to bright sunshine intensified by the high altitude.