Mount Elbrus Trip Report (#22440)
- Signed By: Sven Bugarski
- Date submitted: October 16, 2013
- Date(s) climbed: 31.07.2012
- Number of People Encountered:50+ people
- Recommend to a Friend: Highly
To facilitate visa and permit issues concerning the Caucasus area in southern Russia, I have climbed Elbrus with an organized tour group. The provider of that tour was a professional agency in Germany that organized all bureaucratic papers, transports, accommodation and mountain guides.
I combined that expedition with an individual journey through other parts of Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. This enabled me to have an additional acclimatization tour before the organized trip: the climbs of Aragats southern summit (3879m) and northern summit (4090m). Soon after those climbs I joined the tour group and together we first climbed Cheget (3461m) and then spend a few days in Elbrus base camp (3720m) before heading to the summit.
Our summit day was great: blue sky, sunshine and most of the way moderate to little wind. The lowest temperature we encountered was not less than -15°C and the highest around 10°C. Sometimes in the base camp, when sitting in the sunshine with absolutely no wind, it was even possible to just wear trousers and T-Shirt.
High altitude sickness is an issue at Elbrus and it is highly advisable to be properly acclimatized. Just staying for 2-3 nights at 3700m is not enough. It helps to go up to at least 4700m or even sleep at around 4500m - 4700m before trying to ascend to the summit. Unfortunately, Elbrus had in 2012 only one shelter to sleep and that was at 3720m of altitude. Sleeping in tents higher above was not common or even not allowed.
Technically, Elbrus offers no hard challenges, but the mountain is infamous for its crevasses, can have serious weather conditions even in summer and has a steep section on the last slope to the summit plateau.