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Mount Elbrus Testimonials

One of the best expeditions I have been on. Both guides did an excellent job – logistics, instructions and safety. Vern was excellent both on and off the mountain. We had a last-minute issue with availability of drinking water on leaprus. Vern organized and bought sufficient water for the trip the morning we were departing for leaprus. Also, he made an excellent call of waiting out a night for the weather to improve to make the summit push. I have been to 4 snow schools and this was by far the best. I have aspirations for climbing Denali and I am convinced I should go with Vern.

Lodging in St. Petersburg, Moscow were good. I particularly liked the lodge and hosts in Terkskol. Goes without saying Leaprus Hut made the time on the mountain very enjoyable.

Excellent program.

2017 Climber

Very very much! A very memorable experience all around. Nice balance of climbing and cultural+travel aspect (St. P + Moscow). Highly recommended climb especially for people who may be looking for little more comfort in an expedition or newbies. Vern and Carol ran a tight ship when needed and fun and games when we could have fun and enjoy ourselves. I’ve enjoyed our time spent together on the mountain so much that I’ve signed up for another trip which they will be guiding in February. I feel that both Carol and Vern have gone above and beyond in sharing their knowledge and experiences with us. They have taken the time to explain things, sometimes from different perspectives or different ways to handling same situation (like tying knots). They have different styles but that provided a very nice balance and learning opportunities for everyone. Strengths: super experienced and friendly (and funny) guides, enjoyed visiting St. P and Moscow, cultural component of the trip, accommodations on the mountain were top notch.

2017 Climber

The expedition has been arranged in every detail making the experience more enjoyable although the short time and tight scheduling especially during the visit of St Petersburg and Moscow. From transportation to hotels, from meals to site visits and of course the high expertise of our guides (Vern and Carole) made this trip unforgettable.

One of the main reasons for me to join this trip is to learn directly from experienced mountaineers such as Vern and Carole. Their ability to guide us and provide support whenever needed met my expectations. I’ve been able to reach the summit making my expedition successful thanks to their suggestions and guidance on how to deal with this tough climbing although I felt physically fit and ready for this trip.

2017 Climber

Very well organized. Vern and Carole were great. Very effective and memorable and both took time to explain and demonstrate skills and knowledge. Vern may have written the book but Carole is a walking encyclopedia, always adding small hints and tips at exactly the right moment. Both respected every one as individuals in the team and that was difficult as we were all very different. Matt in the gear dept is awesome.

2017 Climber

The expedition was great right from the time Vern picked us up at St.petersburg till we left Moscow for home. The sightseeing both in st.petersbug and Moscow was well organized and informative . Meals arranged everywhere were of a high quality and in restaurants with a respectable and pleasant ambience.The climbing part of the expedition which is what we really signed up for was very well managed . We were subject to a comprehensive gear check at the beginning .Our skills were reviewed throughout and relevant advice was conveyed to us as and when we required it. Extra effort was made by the guides with clients who required it.On our first attempt at the summit on 16th july the team could not progress beyond the saddle due to inclement weather and I must commend alpine ascents for giving their full support in going the xtra mile on the 18th july to ensure we made it to the summit in our 2nd attempt on the 18th july. Overall the expedition was successful and all of us gained valuable experience from it

It was wonderful! The most important component in any trip is the personal interactions. Our group was diverse, but cohesive and Willie was fabulous. Another person who contributed greatly was Shasha, our cook at camp. She was a chef extraordinary, working with a small propane cooktop. Her food was delicious (better than the restaurant in town) and her personal touches and concern were so appreciated. I can’t say enough about Willie. He was an effective leader; laid back and kind when it didn’t matter, but strong and directed when necessary. And he always had safety of the group as the number one priority. What I appreciated more than anything was that he never abdicated his responsibilities to the local guides, which I have seen in the past and which creates issues that are difficult to resolve. Willie is a guide’s guide. He was our guide, our cheerleader and our friend. In actuality, the trip couldn’t have been better. Many thanks for all your hard work to make it that way.

Fantastic experience for me.  Success is wonderful.  Lakpa and Vern made a shrewd weather call that allowed us to proceed to the summit.  Outstanding leadership, safety is a big deal in my book

Justin A.

Vern is the ultimate in guides. His reputation proceeded him, but he surpassed even the high expectations I had for him. He is 100% confident in what he does, without any sense of arrogance. Vern quickly earned the trust of each of the team members and he was professional and respectful in everything I saw. That, to me, is the epitome of good leadership.

AA logistics are seamless. And the co-climbers are enjoyable. Similar to Aconcagua last January.

The trip was great! Everything from the city tours, to the acclimatization hikes, to the superb food at base camp, to our fearless leader Vern…it was excellent. I can’t say enough about Vern, as well as Alex and Vladamir. I thought the logistics were well planned and executed. I truly enjoyed it from beginning to end (despite the 10 hours we spent in the white-out/blizzard). It was most certainly an experience I will never forget.


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