Climb Elbrus With Alpine Ascents
With nearly 30 years of experience on Elbrus and just shy of a 100% summit success rate, Alpine Ascents’ expertise in logistics and guides makes for an unsurpassed program. This has been an Alpine Ascents classic trip since the early 90’s. While travel to Russia can be cumbersome with many logistical hurdles, we take great care to preplan the small details, personal choices giving you and our expert guides (Ben Jones or Vern Tejas & Carole Tejas who are scheduled to lead our 2020 climbs) an excellent chance to reach the summit of Europe’s highest peaks.
Providing extra summit days, all-inclusive, multiple reservations at the High Camp lodge an excellent staff of Russian guides, and a keen sense of how to care for our climbers helps us bridge the gap from daunting task to well-executed journey.
Please see our Why Climb page for other key elements of our Elbrus climb and success.
A great mix of luxury housing/hotels/hikes and culture made this trip a unique experience. Top-notch guides. I’d climb with either/both again without any hesitation. Both guides worked with every climber to coach them, direct, and encourage each one. We ALL made the summit together…a very gratifying experience.
Trip logistics were flawless, guides were exceptional, and the team was a great mix of people.
Our 2019 season was simply stellar with 100% success and fantastic post trip evaluations. Truly one of Alpine Ascents signature programs. Where others have scaled back, we strive to keep the integrity of the program such as using the Heart of Elbrus Lodge as opposed to the huts and barrels. The Lodge provides far superior lodging and bedding than nearby accommodations, for all mountain days. Carole Tejas has been paramount in this effort to personalize many aspects of this trip, the efforts of minute logistical adjustments have show just rewards.
Unlike other outfitters who may rush you in and out of Russia, we take the time to properly acclimatize and to visit the grand cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Dynamic in both region and terrain, Mt. Elbrus stands as a watchtower between the great masses of Europe and Asia. Elbrus is a large, double-coned volcano whose twin summits vary by about 65 ft.
Our Elbrus program is open to any climber who has successfully completed a Mt. Rainier climb, or a similar program (prior climb on glaciers). This journey begins with acclimatization along well-traveled trails, which wind endlessly through the foothills of the Caucasus. En route, we interact with the local people as we wander through the villages and markets that pepper the mountain’s lower region. Once we have established High Camp, we prepare for an early morning departure to the West Summit (the higher of the twin peaks). The route ascends 1,000 m of moderate snow climbing to the saddle. From there, we turn west and head up 300 m of steeper terrain, finally reaching the summit plateau. See Day-to-Day Itinerary Elbrus is the near-perfect ascent for aspiring climbers who wish to test their skills at increasing altitude. Although only basic mountaineering skills are required, high altitude and unpredictable weather make this a challenging and enticing ascent.
Take a look at our Cybercast to view past years and some of the delights of this trip.
- 2019: Led by Ben Jones and Carole Tejas, we saw 100% success between the two teams.
- 2018: Led by Vern and Carole Tejas, we saw 95% success between the two teams.
- 2017: Led by Vern and Carole Tejas, we saw 97% success between the two teams.
- 2016: Led by Vern and Carole Tejas, we saw 96% success between the two teams.
- 2015: Nearly 90% success with Vern and Carole Tejas leading our teams.
- 2014: Both of our teams summited with a success rate of 100%, led by Willie Benegas.
- 2013: Both our teams summited, with a success rate of over 90% in a year in which a number of teams did not reach the summit. We attribute this to our expert guide and our extended itinerary, which allowed us a second summit attempt when weather turned bad on the first summit attempt. Our flexibility and ability to reserve multiple days at High Camp, rebook the Sno-Cats, etc., were vital in giving Team 2 a chance to summit.
- 2012: Proved to be a spectacular year, with our three full teams reaching the summit under the leadership of Vern Tejas, assisted by Carole Tejas. We returned to the south side and the mountain proved to be in great condition for all climbs. We had three outstanding groups and, as always, we are happy to put you in touch with previous year’s team members for their stories.
Region and City Tour
Elbrus’ surroundings provide a look into the cultures of the Turkish, Georgian, Azerbaydzhani, and Russian people. Our expedition begins in Moscow, the focal point of commerce and politics in Russia. Markets and state shops dominate Moscow’s street life. Depending on schedules, we may take time to visit the Kremlin, stroll at Red Square and along the Moscow River, visit the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Reedemer and tour the famous Novodevichy Cemetery. Following our climb, we return via St. Petersburg, a traditional vanguard of European culture. It is one of the few cities in the world that has retained its charm amidst change. Downtown sprawls with exquisite architecture that canopies streets of shops, small restaurants, and an active nightlife scene.
The Caucasus Range
This mighty mountain range links the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea and creates the natural boundary between the steppes of Russia and the southern states of Azerbaydzhani, Georgia, and Armenia. Mt. Elbrus, the pinnacle of this 700-mile stretch, has long been a distinguished climbing center for the European and Russian climbing communities. Elbrus can easily be seen from most of the high passes in the area and is a traditional climb for those looking to ascend above 18,500 ft. The Caucasus (or Kavkaz meaning “more than mountains”), offers excellent climbing and skiing terrain to the outdoor enthusiast.
This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.
Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek, and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents.
Environmental stewardship remains one of our core values, and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs, we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices.
Elbrus, with its high, double-headed crown, is one of Europe’s most popular peaks. Hosting aspiring climbers from all around the world has had profound impacts on the mountain and the nearby villages. We dedicate great efforts to reduce and mitigate the negative effects of our passing through this beautiful range. Along with all of our usual procedures, (trash removal and not relying on bottled water) we go out of our way to visit the now-defunct Priut Hut. This old relic of the USSR days is a great place for our mini-seminar on environmental awareness. A discussion on prevailing attitudes of the bygone era dramatically reveals its legacy and lessons for mountaineers. The site opens our eyes to the way our actions may affect climbers for generations to come. It’s an an enlightening moment in the growth of responsible mountaineers.
Our commitment to environmental stewardship can be seen on our programs around the world. Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information, most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment.
Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.
As I have mentioned, the biggest strength of the Alpine ascents programs are the skills, enthusiasm and dedication of the guides. Vern is an exceptional guide because he is interesting and interested, yet always commands respect with a wicked sense of humor and a laugh.