Planning Elbrus


2 minute read

Mount Elbrus 🏔

is the highest mountain in Europe at 5,642m (18,510ft) above sea level. It is also a dormant volcano, the highest stratovolcano (a tall, conical volcano) in Eurasia, and the tenth-most prominent peak in the world.

Seven Summits dream

Elbrus is one of the coveted Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of Earth’s continents. It’s a mountaineer’s challenge - a dream - to conquer them all, and one of my most solid lifetime ambitions.

It’ll be my second of the Seven Summits, after 2020’s Kilimanjaro trip. I have an aggressive planning, training, and savings schedule to conquer them all before I turn 40 years old.



As I mentioned in a previous article - Happy Kiliversary - my standard trip plan consists of:

  • When to go
    • Time away from work
  • Who to go with
  • Route & itinerary
  • Kit list
  • Costs, financing, savings plan

Why change it if it works?


When to go

The Elbrus climbing season is from April through to mid-September.

I originally aimed to go to Russia and climb Elbrus in Sept 2020. Then there was a pandemic.

Now I’m planning to go to Russia and climb Elbrus in Sept 2021. Fingers crossed there isn’t still a pandemic.

Time away from work

I’ll be going for a total of 11 days with a sightseeing stop in Moscow before, and St. Petersburg after the trek. The way that the weekends lie means I’ll be using up only 7 of my precious holidays from work.


Who to go with

After admittedly less searching than usual, I settled on 7 Summits Club. The main reason was that they’re based in Russia so know Elbrus well, and have a great record for safety and successful summits. I didn’t just choose them for their namehonest.

I’ve had great contact with them so far, especially as my trip’s been postponed and rescheduled. If I enjoy the service and get on with the company on the trek, perhaps I’ll do some more with them around the world.

They do all Seven SummitsI’d expect nothing less from that name.


Which route & itinerary

I’m booked on the “Elbrus climb by Classic route” with 7 Summits Club.

The itinerary:

  1. Arrival to Mineralnye Vody (MRV).
  2. Acclimatization climb to 2700m, then return to the mountain base.
  3. Arrival to Azau cable car station (2356m) by bus, then ascend (4000m) to Base Camp.
  4. Acclimatization climb to 4600-4800m. Night in the Base Camp mountain hut.
  5. Rest day and preparation.
  6. Elbrus summit day, start between 02:00-04:00!
  7. Reserve day if summit attempt was aborted, descend to the mountain base.
  8. Check out and transfer to MRV.

Kit list

I have some research to do here. I’ve never owned a pair of mountaineering boots graded over B0, or crampons. I don’t have my own ice axe. I don’t have a warm enough sleeping bag or down jacket. Yet.

It’ll be a fun shopping trip! 😃

Read my full Elbrus kit list in a separate document.


Costs, financing and budgeting

I’m budgeting £3000 for the trip:

  • Visa: £100
  • Flights: £175
  • Transfers: £50
  • Trek + tips: £1200
  • Cash for snowcat/reserve day: £350
  • Extra accommodation: £200
  • Spending money: £200

Which leaves around £725 for extra kit and training that I want to undertake before I go.

I need to be qualified in winter mountaineering skills, a course I’m tentatively booking in for March this year. Fingers crossed that goes ahead.

I have an extensive spreadsheet to work out all of the costs for all of my future trips. I might share it some time.🏔

I sure hope I can replace this photograph with one of my own in September 🤞

Mount Elbrus, from the North

Mount Elbrus, from the North 📸 by JukoFF - Own work, Public Domain

Thanks for reading! 👋
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