Many people have that one bucket list destination they’ve always wanted to visit. For many, it’s reaching the summit of Mount Elbrus. Mount Elbrus is the tallest mountain in Europe, standing at 5,642 meters above sea level in the Russian Caucasus Mountains.
This peak is also one of the seven summits – one of the highest points on every continent. As a result, conquering this mountain is a must if you’ve always wanted to take on this monumental challenge.
This article outlines the top six things you should know before climbing Mount Elbrus. You will find these things helpful as you ascend to the top of this peak. They’ll provide you with the reason ascending this mountain enriches your life. You can use the hints and tips before you set out on Mount Elbrus expedition. Let’s get started.
Climbing Mount Elbrus Requires Acclimatization
It is best to spend some days acclimatizing before climbing Mount Elbrus. Doing so helps prepare your body to take on the challenge. As you acclimatize, go on a hike or two before boarding the cable car to Mir Station.
An acclimatization hike is usually on the Terskol/Observatory peak at 3127m and Cheget Mountain. They are relatively simple walks with well-marked paths. Just be careful not to overdo it.
The barrels are 4680m away from the Pastokav Rocks, where you can hike to and back from there. It will mean an additional day of climbing, but it is worthwhile.
Where to Stay Before Climbing Mount Elbrus
There are three villages close to Elbrus: Terskol, Azau, and Cheget. A cable car service is available from Azau, the nearest to Elbrus.
In Terskol, the largest village, it takes 5 minutes to drive to Azau, and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk to Cheget.
At Terskol village, there are several tourist class hotels where you can spend the first two nights. It is here that you can arrange your equipment and complete your acclimatization.
At 4000m, many climbers stay in refuges in small huts.
Cable cars and chairlifts provide access to this area. Optionally, you can trek from Garabashi for a day.
Technical Skills are Vital
It would be best if you had some technical skills before embarking on your first climb. You will have a tough time climbing the summit unless your body can handle the physical challenge.
You will probably need to learn about snow and ice skills if you hire a professional guide during your itinerary.
This might require months of preparation beforehand.
Customizing your training to the mountain will be helpful.
Climbing Kits Are Necessary
What should you have before climbing Mount Elbrus? Even if you plan to visit it in the stable months of July and August, you’ll soon realize that treating the Elbrus expedition as a winter climb would be helpful.
The change in weather is one of the most significant hazards of conquering this mountain. Once you reach the top, prepare for fluctuating temperatures and extreme wind chills.
You can get climbing gear for Mount Elbrus in two different ways. You can either buy or rent the cold weather gear with the climbing gear.
However, it would help if you also considered other types of climbing you may do in the future.
Various Climbing Routes
There are four climbing routes to the mountain, two main ones, and the South and North routes.
The easiest way is from the south, from Azau village. It’s the easiest and most popular one where you’ll find all the barrels and cable cars.
It’s the best option if you lack experience and can’t afford a guide. You’ll need basic knowledge of using crampons and ice axes to get ready. You’ll also need three to five days to climb using this route.
The North route is challenging, as the elevation gain is more significant with steeper snow slopes.
This challenge requires some experience with using ice axes and crampons. You’ll need to carry all your gear up the mountain since there are no snowcats, cable cars, or chairlifts on the Northside.
The other two routes from the west and east appear off the road with no infrastructure and few people.
The West route begins from Polyana Dzhily-Su at 2670m, and the East route starts from Elbrus village. You’ll have to be in fine shape and experienced to climb these routes.
It’s vital to have travel insurance when climbing a mountain like Mount Elbrus. If you wish to use the services of a guided organization, they are more likely to ask for climbing insurance before getting along on their tour.
Mountaineering insurance can provide you with coverage, whatever your skill level. It can cover injuries incurred from climbing Elbrus.
Various travel insurance providers might deny covering you for Mount Elbrus because they consider the high altitude and mountaineering with fixed ropes high-risk activities. You’ll need specialist insurance that can protect you from high-altitude mountaineering.
A mountain climb like Mount Elbrus can be challenging, especially for those with little experience of mountaineering. Reaching the summit will be easier if you prepare well. Before conquering Europe’s tallest mountain, it would help if you knew the above top six things.