Ski one of the Seven Summits

Elbrus Ski

For your next backcountry skiing trip, why not discover Europe's highest mountain? So much more than an ascent on skis, this expedition will take you deep into Russia's Caucasus mountains for a ski touring trip like no other.

Ideal for those with strong backcountry skiing experience who are looking to take on a new and different challenge.

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Difficulty Level Medium ?
Fitness Level High ?
Duration 11 days
Elevation 5,642M / 18,510FT
Large view

Enjoy ski touring from the cosy alpine-style Ullatau Lodge - Alpindustria

Large view

Making the most of the last of the afternoon sun - Alpindustria

Large view

Skinning up to aid acclimatisation and enjoyment! - Alpindustria

Large view

Celebrating great runs - Alpindustria

Large view

Taking a break under blue skies - Alpindustria

From May 12 to May 22, 2019
Departs from Mineralnye Vody, Russia
€4,350 EUR
  • Overview

    • Ski one of the Seven Summits!
    • Explore the valleys and peaks around Mount Elbrus
    • Visit the fascinating and enigmatic Caucasus region of Russia


    Starting and ending in the attractive regional town of Mineralnye Vody, this expedition will depart into the scenic Adyrsu Valley, where we will begin our acclimatisation by exploring the local terrain. After a couple of days of great skiing, we will drive into the shadow of Elbrus in the upper Baksan Valley. All the while enjoying hearty Russian fare, we will ski progressively higher until we move onto the upper slopes of Mount Elbrus itself, ready for our summit attempt and ski descent. Once the mission is completed, we’ll return to the valley floor for celebrations before transferring back to Mineralnye Vody for our home-bound flights.

  • Why AC?

    Adventure Consultants is renowned for our quality of service and the strategy applied to our expeditions. Our reputation is attributed to meticulous planning and experienced logistics coordination. We have a philosophy of investing in every expedition to offer our climbers the best possible chance of success.

    We employ strong and specialised Expedition Leaders and support staff, who are some of the most pre-eminent in the industry. We pride ourselves on operating with small teams, the best back-up and support available. This includes nutritious and ample quantities of food, comfortable facilities, reliable communications systems and the necessary medical back up.

    Many of our expedition members come to us because they have seen us in action on a previous trip and decide to opt for our level of service and proven experience. Others return because they know we do our very best to make expeditions safe and successful.

  • Payment Conditions

    Inclusions

    The price of your trip includes the following:

    • Adventure Consultants mountain guides
    • All expedition organisational requirements
    • 1 night hotel in Pyatigorsk
    • Breakfast in Pyatigorsk
    • All hotel, lodging and food while on the expedition, including breakfast before return to Mineralnye Vody for departure flights on Day 11, according to the itinerary
    • Group climbing equipment
    • Transfers from the airport upon arrival into Mineralnye Vody to Pyatigorsk and Elbrus region and back to Mineralnye Vody airport for return flight, as per the itinerary
    • Snowcat lift up and chairlift transport fees


    Exclusions

    The expedition does not include:

    • Airfares to and from Mineralnye Vody, Russia
    • Entry visa for Russia
    • Lunch and dinner while in Pyatigorsk, Day 1
    • Meals after breakfast on departure day
    • Personal clothing and equipment
    • Ski touring equipment and avalanche gear
    • Skiing/climbing/travel/trip cancellation insurance or rescue costs
    • Spending on personal items such as gifts, alcohol/bottled drinks, laundry etc.
    • Snowcat or skidoo lift down fees (if you choose not to ski down)
    • Hotel costs and meals if you descend early from the mountain
    • passes if you summit early and ski on the resort on remaining days
    • Gratuities for guides

    Account Information

    All payments should be made by bank transfer to the following bank and account:

    Bank of New Zealand
    Offshore Branch 
    1 Willis Street 
    Wellington, New Zealand

    For the account of Adventure Consultants Limited

    Swift Address: BKNZNZ22
    Beneficiary’s Account Number: 1000-594771-0002
    Beneficiary’s Account Name: Adventure Consultants Limited
    Account Type: EURO

    Note: All bank transfer charges are for the remitter's account.

    We can also accept your deposit and balance payment by credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Amex) plus a 3% card fee.

    Deposit

    A non-refundable deposit of EUR500 is payable to secure a place on the expedition.

    Balance

    The balance of funds is payable 90 days prior to trip start date.

    Cancellation & Refund Policy

    Once you have paid your deposit your trip is confirmed, subject to payment of the balance of fees owing 90 days prior to your trip commencement date. An expedition member may then cancel his/her participation on the following basis:

    • Cancellations outside of 90 days will result in the loss of the trip deposit.
    • For cancellations made within 89 - 60 days of the trip commencement date, we reserve the right to retain 50% of the balance payment fee.
    • For cancellations within 59 days of the departure date, a cancellation fee of 100% of the full fee applies.


    Trip Cancellation Insurance

    Team members should take out private insurance if they wish to be covered against cancellation due to medical or personal reasons. This is called trip cancellation insurance and can be obtained through your normal travel agent.

  • Itinerary

    Day  
    1 Arrive into Mineralnye Vody airport, transfer to Pyatigorsk. Gear checks and welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel.
    2 Take a shuttle to Ullutau Lodge in Adyrsu Valley. Short tour for equipment shakedown and to warm up the legs.
    3 Acclimatisation tour to Mestia Pass (3,757m/12,326ft). Overnight in Ullutau Lodge.
    4 Acclimatisation tour to Garvash Pass (3,665m/12,024ft). Transfer to hotel in Terskol.
    5

    Acclimatisation ascent (using ski lifts) of Cheget Mountain (3,600m/11,800ft). Overnight in hotel.

    6 Ride ski lifts. Acclimatisation tour. Overnight stay in Heart of Elbrus Hut (3,900m/12,800ft) on the slopes of Elbrus.
    7 Acclimatisation tour to the Pastukhov Rocks (4,600m/ 15,100ft), return to the hut.
    8 Summit day. Leave the hut about 3am for the ski ascent of Elbrus’ west summit (5,642m/ 18,510ft). Overnight in the hut.
    9 Contingency day or ski in the Elbrus ski area. Overnight in the hut.
    10 Contingency day or ski in the Elbrus ski area. Descend to Terskol and return to the hotel.
    11 Drive back to Mineralnye Vody, return home.
  • Trip Notes

    Elbrus Ski 2019The Expedition Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Elbrus Ski Expeditions.

    You can view the trip notes online by clicking the images or download a pdf by clicking the following links:

    Elbrus Ski Expedition Trip Notes

    Team Membership

    The team will have a minimum size of 4 members and 2 guides and a maximum size of 12 members and 3 guides

    Our Guides

    The Expedition Leader will be scheduled approximately six months out from the trip start. All of our Expedition Leaders have extensive experience at high altitude and a proven record of safety, success and compatibility.

    Head Office Support Team

    Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.

    Kelly MclarenKelly McLaren, Client Liaison

    Kelly brings a vast knowledge of AC expeditioning to her role as 'Rest of the World' Client Liaison. Having worked for AC since 2004 Kelly oversees those trips outside of New Zealand, Europe or the Himalaya.

    AC Team 2016 Landscape

     

    Your Health

    Expedition members will be provided with pre-trip medical advice and a medical questionnaire and asked to visit their family physician and receive a full medical examination. This information will be sighted only by the expedition leader and our medical adviser and treated with full confidentiality. Please also enquire about our Fitness Training Programs.

    Difficulty Rating

    Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.

    Food

    Food will be of the highest standard possible, given the remoteness of the location. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us at the time of registration. For special diets such as vegan and gluten/dairy free we will call you to discuss your needs and how this will work on the expedition in Russia.

    Clothing & Equipment

    Adventure Consultants will supply all group gear (e.g. ropes, etc.) whilst expedition members are to provide their own personal clothing and equipment. A comprehensive equipment list will be provided to expedition members upon confirmation of your participation.

    Please note that you will need to bring ski touring and avalanche equipment with you from home as these items are not readily available for hire.

  • Add Ons

    St PetersburgIf you are planning on having extra time to explore Russia, we are happy to assist with arranging additional city tours in Moscow and St Petersburg, tickets to the Russian ballet, a river cruise and for the more adventurous, train tickets between the major cities.

    We offer Privately Guided Expeditions where you have the services of a top AC Western guide as well as the support of Russian guides and cooks who work together on the expedition to ensure your needs are best met. AC have been fortunate enough to work with many private Elbrus groups over the years with exceptional results.

  • Travel & Rescue Insurance

    Adventure Consultants recommends the following travel insurance and rescue insurance options, although this is only just a start! Once you book on a trip with AC, your Client Liaison will help you by sending through advice on your options;

    • Travel insurance
    • Trip interruption
    • Trip cancellation
    • Medical Evacuation and Rescue Insurance

    RIPCORD RESCUE TRAVEL INSURANCE

    Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance Logo webRipCord is the leading medical evacuation program offering elite evacuation and rescue services. With their new partnership with TravelEx, they can also now provide the benefits of a traditional travel insurance product with their just released, RipCord Rescue Travel Insurance™. This is specifically designed for the adventure enthusiast with unique trip cancellation/interruption, medical expense, sporting equipment and other coverage benefits to protect your financial investment.

    RipCord is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, an elite team of special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliate physicians, paramedics, nurses, former intelligence officers and other medical/security experts comprising the most experienced team in the industry. They will rescue you from the field wherever your emergency occurs and evacuate you to your home country hospital of choice.

    RipCord rescues you from the field if you have an emergent medical condition that will result in significant permanent injury and/or death, but does not require hospitalisation.

    RipCord are proud to partner with Adventure Consultants to provide RipCord’s industry leading rescue, evacuation and travel insurance coverage to its clients.

    Adventure Consultants can also assist with purchasing polar cover for Antarctic expeditions and if interested in this, please contact RipCord directly for a specialised quote.

    GLOBAL RESCUE MEMBERSHIP SERVICES

    Global Rescue SnipAdventure Consultants also recommends the rescue evacuation and security membership/services provided by Global Rescue, which provides transport from the point of illness/injury back to your home countries hospital of your choice. TotalCare provides real-time access to medical information and coming soon, this includes urgent card and speciality consultations from some of the world’s health physicians at the Elite Medical Group and John Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

    Recently Global Rescue has released a new travel insurance product, the Signature Travel Insurance option. This has no height limitation and gives comprehensive cover for trip cancellation/interruption, medical and dental expenses, delays, lost luggage as well as optional add-ons to ‘cancel or interrupt for any reason. This is currently only available to US Residents.

    Click here to find out more about this insurance cover which covers climbing and is thus suitable for many of our expeditions.

  • FAQs

    • Expedition Documentation

      Please note you will be emailed out a set of Team Reference Notes upon registration. This extensive booklet includes detailed information to assist in the planning of your trip, from travel and medical advice to equipment lists and photography tips. The following is to serve as a helpful guideline but please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions as our team is here to help!

      info@adventure.co.nz
      US: +1 866 757 8722 (Freephone from North America)
      NZ: +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm PST + 19 hours)

    • Choosing a Provider

      How long has Adventure Consultants been in operation?
      Adventure Consultants started in 1990 and we have been guiding internationally ever since. You can read more on the history of Adventure Consultants here.

      A few outfitters claim to have the same level of experience and prestige as Adventure Consultants. In this league, what makes you the first choice for your skiers?
      Adventure Consultants have spent a lot of time researching this destination, and your IFMGA guides that lead this trip can offer you a safe and enjoyable experience. These guides are the experts in their field and have an extensive knowledge of snow safety which is imperative for these departures.

    • Food, Accommodation & Facilities

      What is the accommodation like in the Elbrus region?
      Pyatigorsk is a spa town with modern and comfortable facilities and hotels in Adyrsu Valley and Terskol are also well-appointed and convenient. On the mountain, we stay in the newly renovated Heart of Elbrus hut (also known as Islam Hut after the name of its owner). The hut provides basic bunk-style accommodation and the ground floor communal area is spacious and comfortable with a diner/booth layout and bar. The hut itself is accessed by ski lift.

      Will I be sharing a room with other skiers? Is there a single room option on this trip?
      Yes, the bunk rooms in the hut on the mountain are shared facilities. In the hotels, typically you will share with one other team member. There is a single room option available for the hotel nights, so please contact our office for prices.

      What kind of food do you have on the mountain?
      The Heart of Elbrus hut is fully catered and provides three hearty meals during set hours each day. We also provide plenty of snacks, fruit and of course, fresh coffee! If you have any specific dietary requirements, please do let our office know in advance so that we can arrange suitable alternatives.

    • Travel

      Where do I meet and will I be picked up?
      You should arrange to fly into Mineralnye Vody Airport (MRV), from where we will assist in arranging airport transfers. Your guide will usually meet you on your arrival at the hotel. A few weeks before the trip, you will receive a final details letter outlining the hotel and agent contact details, the team member list, airport transfer information as well as other last minute tips.

      What if I arrive early or depart late?
      Due to the excessive amount of bureaucracy in Russia (and the pedantic nature of their officials), the planning of this expedition is very time consuming as every detail must be confirmed well in advance to meet our obligations with visa and travel documentation. Changes from the plan can become very expensive and flexibility is not an option like it is in the West. For this reason, we request that expedition members ensure their travel arrangements in and out of the country are as close to our itinerary as possible. You cannot arrive earlier into Russia than the date stamped on your Russian visa. If you do have plans for extra days in Russia on either side of the itinerary, please do let your client liaison know so that they can assist with this as per the visa requirements.

      I hear getting to the mountain involves a long travel day, is this true?
      If you have ever seen the Steve Martin movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” that is sort of what it feels like. Elbrus is located is in a remote part of the country and so even after your domestic flight to Mineralnye Vody, the valley is still a bus ride away. While it sounds simple, travel inside of Russia can be somewhat slow, so expect to plug into your music, move some duffel bags around between the flight and bus, and enjoy the countryside.

      Are there any entry or visa requirements?
      Yes, one of the biggest issues with travel in Russia is the visa! Almost all foreign travellers to Russia require a visa. At the balance payment date for your expedition, once the trip has been confirmed and we have your flight details, we will provide the invitation letter and support documentation necessary to procure your Russian visa. The visa process normally takes up to 4 weeks, although may take longer (sometimes up to 10 weeks!). You can begin the visa process up to three months in advance so we advise you to submit your visa application as soon as you have received the relevant documentation from our office. You will need to send your passport into your nearest Russian embassy along with the necessary paperwork. Your travel agent or a visa processing service should be able to assist you with this process.

    • Clothing & Equipment

      How heavy will my pack be?
      Due to the use of the chairlifts up to the hut, you will never have to carry a pack heavier than 15-20lbs/6-10kg. You will, however, have to move your heavier duffel onto and off of cable cars and chairlifts up to the hut.

      Do you have a recommended list of clothing we should bring?
      Yes, you will be sent a personal clothing and equipment list once our office has received your trip registration form and deposit. We do also have a dedicated equipment coordinator who is happy to provide advice and answers to any questions you may have. Please note that you will need to bring ski touring and avalanche equipment with you from home as these items are not readily available for hire.

      Do I really need all the equipment on the equipment list?
      Yes, these lists have been carefully prepared and you must bring everything on the list. Please do not hesitate to contact our equipment coordinator if you have any questions about purchasing gear or check out our Gear Store. We can also arrange the rental of certain items, so if interested please check with our office.

      How warm do we need our sleeping bags to be?
      You will require a sleeping bag rated to about 0˚C. As you will be sleeping inside the hut, there is no need for any waterproof coatings. We recommend buying a sleeping bag big enough to allow you to wear extra clothes if it is especially cold.

    • Guides & Team Members

      How many skiers will be on this expedition?
      Typically 6 to 12 members will be on the trip with you.

      Can I contact other climbers or guides for this expedition?
      Sure! If you contact us before the trip, we will send out your request to other members and then it is up to them to contact you. We will never send you other members contact information due to our privacy policies. We do find that most team members are very keen to be in touch with each other prior to the expedition start date.

      How much should I tip my guide staff?
      We recommend approximately RB100-500 (€1.70-€8.50) per person for the bus driver and RB2,000 (€34) per person for the local mountain guide. If you wish to acknowledge a particular staff member who has helped you a lot, then this can be done as a separate tip.

      Whilst we all want to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the Russian staff, it is also worth recognising the efforts of your Western guide who will be very thankful for your appreciation. Feel free to discuss this topic with your guide.

    • Health & Fitness

      What are the skills/prior experience required for this climb?
      You will need to be a strong skier with experience in backcountry ski touring. You must be capable of skiing in any conditions that may range from powder through to ice. You will need to be familiar with your own touring gear and be proficient at changing from skinning to ski mode at interchanges.

      What is the conditioning level needed for this climb?
      As the altitude is over 5,000m/16,500ft, it is good to be in excellent cardiovascular shape, and be able to carry a moderate weight pack (6-10kg/15-20lbs). Please also see our Fitness Training Programs page.

      How long is a typical day on the mountain?
      Days where we are acclimatising can be long. Summit day can be up to 15 hours, with the average summit day being 7-8 hours. The benefit of a long summit day is that we start and finish at the huts, rather than having to camp higher to shorten the summit day.

      How do I know this is the right trip for me?
      We offer trips to suit all levels of ability and ambition, from your first mountain experience to extreme ascents and everything in between. To help you navigate the choices available, our trips are graded by both the level of physical exertion and the level of skill required, allowing you to find your perfect expedition match. These ratings are displayed in the icons at the top of each expedition page, with a further explanation available by clicking on the accompanying question mark. A full run-down of the categories can be found on our Difficulty Ratings page and our team is more than happy to discuss your experience to find the right trip for you.

    • Communication & Electronic Devices

      What type of communication is available on the climb?
      Believe it or not, your mobile phone from home will work all the way to the hut and there is also 3G available. Please check to make sure you understand the roaming rates as it can be quite expensive to call from Russia. Your guide will also carry a satellite phone as a backup and for emergencies.

    • Insurance

      What insurance do we need to get?
      On all of our international expeditions, there is a requirement for each expedition member to have insurance to cover any personal or medical mishaps that may occur before or during the trip. This should cover you for any costs incurred in the event of any illness, medical emergency or evacuation as well as trip cancellation, baggage loss, damage or theft, or any other such mishap that may occur.

      Do I need evacuation insurance?
      Yes, it is very important. Many of our expeditions are in remote places with no roads and developing medical services. In the unlikely event you get sick, you want to get to good medical care ASAP.

      Who do you recommend for insurance?
      Coverage varies based on your nationality and the trip that you are taking with us. When you have booked on for a trip with us, we will send you comprehensive information on various insurance options which will serve as a good starting point for obtaining the best coverage available for yourself. Please also visit our Expedition Insurance page.

      What is trip cancellation insurance?
      Trip cancellation insurance is an option that may allow you to cancel your trip without losing the total cost of the trip. Adventure Consultants highly recommends cancellation insurance for all of our trips. If circumstances cause us to cancel a trip (minimum numbers are not reached or travel to a country becomes too dangerous), then we refund your fees paid but trip cancellation insurance covers your airfare and any other costs you may have incurred.

    • Fees & Payments

      How much should I budget for this expedition? How much cash should I plan to bring?
      As Russia is an expensive country, it is difficult to plan and budget how much cash to bring. Fortunately, cash machines are available in the region. We recommend approximately EUR400 to cover tips for the local staff, potential snowcat rides and other incidentals, with perhaps a little more for gifts and additional tips.

    • Photography

      I love the photographs in your brochure and on your website, are they for sale?
      Yes, our images are available for licensing or purchase. Please contact us for more information.

    • Employment

      I want to become a mountain guide, where do I start?
      Those with limited experience generally start by taking an alpine climbing course and then go out and climb for a few years. You generally should have at least 5 years of climbing and/or teaching/guiding experience. You need avalanche and medical training and then you can apply to do a NZ Mountain Guides Course or the equivalent in your country, aligned with the IFMGA. Check the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association web pages for a complete description.

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