Climbing Elbrus.  Personal experience

Climbing Elbrus. Personal experience

For some, vacation is the sea and the beach, someone cannot imagine their vacation without attractions, but there is a certain category of people who believe that only mountains can be better than mountains. Overcoming obstacles, danger, physical activity – this is how some “madmen” see their vacation. And in our editorial office there is one such. Today our colleague will share his experience and impressions of climbing Elbrus.

The guys travel a lot in the Urals for a long time. The surrounding rocks, Konzhak, Taganay, Dyatlov Pass, Putorana Plateau are a long passed stage. This year we decided to try our hand and climb Elbrus.

I would like to note that the ascent to the highest peak in Russia and Europe, despite its relative simplicity, is a rather dangerous event. According to some reports, during the ascent to Elbrus, from 15 to 20 people die annually, which is about 80% of all accidents in the Elbrus region.

Climbing Elbrus from the South.  Acclimatization hike

Until now, the guys have never used the services of professionals in organizing recreation, but climbing Elbrus required a special approach. Therefore, it was decided to contact one of the companies that organize extreme tours. Chosen from the cost of the tour and based on the dates. Climbing for one person costs from 18 to 30 thousand, depending on the organizing company and the season. The price includes transfer from Minvod to Terskol and back, accommodation, three meals a day, instructor’s services.

Gara-Bashi station in the Elbrus region

Preparations began several months before the ascent. We watched videos, listened to lectures given by professional category climbers, bought additional equipment.

In general, there are two versions of how to prepare for the ascent. Some argue that it is necessary to start leading a healthy lifestyle in six months, visit the gym 3-4 times a week, sign endurance training.

Cable car to Cheget in the Elbrus region

Others argue that it is enough to be just a healthy person to make the ascent. Actually, that was proved by the team from Yekaterinburg. Our colleague could not reach the summit of several hundred meters, despite the fact that she attended the gym and seriously prepared, but her friends, who neglected the advice on preparation, were able to climb to the summit of Elbrus. Surprisingly, even the instructors say that there are times when athletes come, pitching, but they do not have enough strength to climb to the top. In general, in order to rise, you need motivation in your head, then everything will work out.

View of the Caucasian ridge

In addition to being in good physical shape, the guys had to pay special attention to equipment. The fact is that Elbrus is three seasons at the same time. It was already hot at the foot in May, in the middle of the way – early spring, and not at the top of the real winter and extremely cold weather.

I had to buy everything underwear. Trekking socks for warm weather and frost, thermal underwear, fleece gloves and windproof down mittens, because the wind at the top is very strong. The previous group even had frostbite. That is, they bought things that they knew for sure that they would be useful in other trips. It is clear that they rented expensive equipment, for example, climbing plastic double-layer boots, which cost from 30 thousand rubles, and crampons. Something was collected from friends – ski masks, trekking poles.

Climbing boots and crampons

Also acclimatization can be attributed to preparation. Correct acclimatization is the saw principle. That is, there is a certain zero point from which you start. For the guys, it was Terskol, which is located at an altitude of 2144 m above sea level. Then it was necessary to climb 3 thousand meters, walk there for 1-3 hours, then descend to the same height from which he climbed. Thus, the body tries what a lack of oxygen is. The next day, you need to climb a little higher, say, 3500 meters, take a walk there, go back down. Then you need to move to base camp at 3800, which now becomes the lower bar. Then there is an ascent to 4100 meters, then a descent. Then at 4600, another descent. Then a day of rest and at night the assault on the top of 5642 m begins.


The longer you acclimate, the better. Nevertheless, there are tourists who may not even reach the height of 3800. Not because there is no strength, but precisely because of the lack of oxygen.

The assault on the summit of Elbrus usually begins at night, because by three o’clock in the afternoon everyone should descend. This is due to the fact that the weather on this mountain peak is very unpredictable and can change dramatically in just 10 minutes.

Tourists line up one after another, the ascent begins. On especially steep ascents, they traverse. The wind speed reaches 35 km per hour, breakdowns from the path are possible, then self-retention skills on ice will be needed.

Snow and ice activity

Hallucinations, headache, fainting are possible. Breathing through the nose, as taught in physical education, is no longer possible here due to a lack of oxygen, you switch to breathing through your mouth.

22 people left the base camp, 11 people were able to climb to the top. The ascent took 8 hours.

Our colleague, returning home, said that she no longer wanted to go to the mountains, but two weeks later the planning of the ascent to the Pamirs began.


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