The highest peak of Europe
Athmospheric journey through Russia and the Caucasus
Situated in the distant Caucasus Elbrus is said by the most famous climbers, including Reinhold Messner, the highest peak of Europe. It is 5642 metres high and its 800 metres higher than Mont Blanc. For majority of western Europians there aren’t any mountains higher than the Alps in Europe.
Despite this, many climbers including Leszek Cichy who try to reach the highest peaks in the Earth , choose Elbrus.
The Caucasus is not only higher than the Alps. It’s also wilder and more difficult to access. Characteriscic for the Alps crowds of climbers, cable railways and lifts, in the Caucasus don’t appear very often. The weather here is more stable than in the Alps with more sunny days. Temperature at night and around the peak can be below -20 C. During the day the heat and sun may be annoying. We’ll reach the summit along the classic trail which is easy and safe. On our way we’ll have to cross a few crevasses.
It is a slope covered with snow, sloping at the degree not bigger than 40 degrees, technically easier than the trail on Mont Blanc. However the distances to cover in the Caucasus are bigger than in the Alps. We always need to be strong enough to descend the mountain, we have to remember that physical effort is greater here than in the Alps. Elbrus is an extincted volcano so the sloping of the ground is regular. The lack of technical difficulties and dangers makes the mountain a perfect destination for more ambitious mountain tourists. However the height of 5642 meters is demanding. Additional obstacles are volcanic fumes given off in the area of Pastuchov Rocks, which cause that there is less oxygen in the air. On the top of Elbrus there is half less oxygen than in Polish cities. Everyone suffers general weakness, headaches or vomits.
We try to ensure a relevent acclimatization so as to make these sympoms less significant. All the participants are required to have an appropriately prepared condition. It’s good to have an experience in climbing in any high mountains e.g. the Alps. We suggest that you prepare for the expedition by walking in the mountains intensively. We are supposed to climb the peak twice, the second ascent is for those, who didn’t menage to reach the peak at the firs trial.
Caution! It’s impossible to take part in the expedition if great heights are harmful to your health. The trail we’re going to follow has been tested by the organisers.
The price includes: the organisation of the expedition, accomodation in hostels and private houses and in mountain tents (we provide the tents) climbing insurace, food (two meals a day, in the mountains we cook ourselves on burners and take additional provisions as the third meal) permission to ascend the summit, permission to enter the boarder zone, registration in OWIR, train transport Poland-Moscow, flight Moscow-Mineral’Nye Vody, land transport Mineral’Nye Vody-Elbrus, cable railway, club’s fee
The price doesn’t include: Russian visa and an invitation to Russia.
The price doesn’t include possible excess luggage, alcohol, bribes, possible accomodation in shelters in places where we provide the tents.
1. If you are willing to participate in the expedition, please, apply not later than 2 months before the planned date of departure.
2. To confirm your reservation, please, pay 1700 pln for the ticket to the bank account „ Stowarzyszenie „ Annapurna Klub „ Santander Bank 34 1090 1652 0000 0000 6404 1166 .Please, confirm your payment via e-ail or post.
3. Please, send us your name surname, date and place of birth, address, via e mail or post
From Warsaw we travel by train to Moscow which takes us the whole night. We’re in Moscow in the morning. We check in a hotel and have a whole day for sightseeing- Red Square, Arbat,the orthodox church of Christ the Saviuour, Space Flights Centre. When we get tired we can rest in a climatic cafe or in a park. After a night spent in a hotel we go to the Domodievo Airport, from where we fly to Mineral’Nye Vody. Next, we take a bus to Elbrus or Terskol village situated in the Baksan Valley, over which we can admire the most beautiful peaks of the Caucasus. We spend a night in a holiday home or in private houses.
Next day is intended for acclimatisation, while one of the leaders takes care of doing the formalities, the rest takes a cable car and then tries to reach the peak of Czegiet.From this mountain we can admire the most beautiful view on Elbrus- our main destination. Next day we start climbing. Part of our luggage is transported by a cable car whereas we go on foot which is better for acclimatisation, to so called “bochki” – 3780 m. We spend a night there and the next day we climb to the Prijut Shelter (4200m).
Next day is again an acclimatisation day. We climb the Pastuchov Rocks, or even higher (4800, 5000)and go back for the night to Prijut. Next day we try to ascend the peak. We set off at about 2 o’clock in the night and head towards the lower top.
The dawn meets us around Pastuchov Rocks. At the height of 5100m “trapinka” starts, which is a long, a bit exposed traverse directed towards the pass between the peaks of Elbrus. After 2-3 hours we are on the pass. Its “attractions” are volcanic fumes given off in this area, so called fumaroles, which make breathing more difficult. From the pass we set off to the top. We climb a bit steep slope which is sloping more and more gently as we get closer to the peak. Very slowly we reach the summit. The ascend from Prijut shouldn’t take more than 8-10 hours.
From the top we can see the Caucasus, glaciers, the sea of mountains, glacier Wells of Donguz-Orun, Ushba- more difficult and not less beautiful than Matterhorn and many other peaks. If the visibility is good we can even see the Black Sea.
From the top we go back to the base camp. We are aware of the fact that this way of acclimatization may be too short for some people. That’s why after a short rest we plan a second ascend for those who didn’t manage to reach the summit at the first attempt. The way of ascending is the same. Those who were at the top at the first attempt can reach the second summit of elbrus which isn’t much shorter than the first one. The possible free time after descending can be spent on visiting beautiful valleys – Iryk (rocky ravines, mineral waters), Adyl-su (the views on beautiful and very difficult peaks), we can get on Czegiet by a cable car once again (it’s famous for its views on Elbrus). We return to Poland the same way as we got here, however we don’t stay in Moscow.
Day by day itinerary
– Travel to Moscow by a through train
– Sightseeing In Moscow, a night
– Flight to Mineral’Nye Vody, travel to Terskol
– Acclimatisation on Czegiet 3000 m., getting neccesesery permissions
– Climbing Bochki 3700 m. , part of our luggage gets there by a cable car.
– Ascending prijut 4100m podejście do Prijuta (4100m)
– Acclimatisation ascent to 5000m
– Ascending the summit
– 4 days of reserve
– Travel to Mineral’Nye Vody, flight to Moscow, train to Poland
– Return to Warsaw
– mountaineering boots or modern thermal shoes (e.g. millet), or warm thick shoes with warm lining, one size too big (they should be loose enough not to pinch the fingers even with the thick sock and tight enough to make the heel stable )
– 2 pairs of woolen socks or other warm thermal socks, other anti-sweat socks
– polar fleece trousers – polar 100-150
– trousers with a membrane
– trekking gaiters
– breathable t-shirt
– 2 polar fleece jackets – polar 200, 1 polar fleece jacket – polar 100, or polar fleece jackets polar 200 and 300 or polar 200 and a light down filled jacket
– a jacket with a membrane
– goretex oper-mitts, 2 pairs of thick polar gloves, they can’t pinch the fingers, especially their tips) possibly instead of one pair of polar gloves and one pair of over-mitts, you can take very warm climbing or skiing gloves, we reccommend down filled ones
– sleeping bag min -15 C (synthetic filling –min 1,5kg or down –filled- min 600g)
– rucksack 70l,
– rucksack 40l
– glacier glasses
– sun protection cream , factor 30-60, Vichy
– mask against the wind
– chemical warming agents
– mess tin, cutlery
– 2 rolls of toilet paper
– vacuum flask 0,7l
– articles of toilet
– trainers or sandals or treks
– ice axe, crampons, harness or 6,5 metres of tubular rope (2,5 mm)
– locking biner
– loop – rope 50-70 cm
– telescopic sticks
– foam pad or self blowing mattress
– NRC foil, headlamp
– burner, 0,75kg of gas for your own burner
– Bic lighter (flint)