The wild side of Elbruz

With its 5641m high, Elbruz is the true 'Roof of Europe'. 

It is a legendary volcano of which the Normal Route, located on the South side, is very frequented but does not present a major interest. However, the North side isn't more difficult technically but is surely the most preserved and wild. It is for us the ideal side to immerse in the traditional Russian mountain spirit and to share the adventure with the Caucasian nomads. 

After a flying into Mineralnye Vody via Moscow, we take the road in direction of Piatigorsk. The next day, we' are driven to Hathansu : the base camp. From there, we start acclimatizing in a very bucolic surrounding (a paradise for flower amateurs). A good rest day allows us to enjoy the Hathansu site, meeting point of Russian highlanders. We then climb to 'Uncle Nik' refuge, which is our advanced base camp. Up there, we finalize our acclimation to be able to leave in a clear night towards the summit.. Once we reach the pass, there's only a small ridge before we reach the top. We have made it, and the view is breath taking and unforgettable ! 

Once back at the refuge, after a good relaxing time, we join the Hathansu camp and then, on beautiful and aerial slopes through lush pastures, we finally get back to the city of Piatigorsk. 

Itinerary

  • Days 1 to 2 Moscou - Piatigorsk

    Moscou - Piatigorsk Departure from Paris to Moscow. We then continue our journey to Mineralnye Vody. From there, we hop on a minibus to get transferred to Piatigorsk in an hour, where we'll spend the night at the hotel.

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Day 3 Piatigorsk - Hathansu (2500 m)

    125km separate Piatigorsk from Hathansu. Thus, we leave early in the morning for a 5h drive. Then count 2h of walking to join the base camp at 2500m high.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 200m | Negative difference in altitude : around 200m | Accommodation : base camp

  • Day 4 Acclimatization day

    Acclimatization day Today is dedicated to acclimatization, photography and contemplation of the immense North side of Elbruz. Walks are possible around the camp, especially near the Pré de Stone Mushroom at 3000m.
    We prepare ourselves for the next day : sorting out our belongings that have to be transferred to he next camp.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 500m | Negative difference in altitude : around 500m | Altitude Max : 3000m | Accommodation : base camp

  • Day 5 Acclimatization

    Acclimatization day where we'll climb up to the 'Uncle Nik' refuge, at 3760m, which is the advanced camp. We drop of our technical equipment that we carried up there.
    In order to have a good night sleep, we get back down to Hathansu.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 1200m | Negative difference in altitude : around 1200m | Altitude Max : 3760m | Accommodation : Base camp

  • Day 6 Hathansu - "Uncle Nik" refuge

    Hathansu - "Uncle Nik" refuge Today is the great start : we join the 'Uncle Nik' refuge at 3760m on a good path. It will be our base from now on, surrounded by ice : confort is basic in the huts, be prepared for that !
    Our bags are loaded because we carry all of our personal belongings for 5 days. The afternoon is dedicated to rest and to acclimatize our body to the altitude.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 1200m | Altitude Max : 3760m | Accommodation : 'Uncle Nik' Refuge

  • Day 7 Acclimatization in altitude

    Today, we'll finalize our acclimatization by doing a hike up to around 4400m : early morning start to have some time to rest in the afternoon.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 600m | Negative difference in altitude : around 600m | Altitude Max : 4400m | Accommodation : 'Uncle Nik' refuge

  • Day 8 Elbruz ascent (5641 m)

    Elbruz ascent (5641 m) We wake up at midnight to leave around 1am in order to get going towards the summits on gentle slopes. First, we join 'Lens Rock' (stone camp). Once we arrive at Sedlov (5400m) in the middle of East and West summits, we meet the mountain climbers arriving from the Normal Route.
    We have to get our strengths together to get up the last 200m separating us from the West peak at 5641m. Finally, here we are, standing open mouthed and agog in front of the amazing view.
    Then starts the long descent back to the refuge. The wind and the cold are our enemies in this ascent, and we have to be ready to put up with it during a few hours. If conditions are too difficult to reach the West summit, the guide can decide to try ascending the East summit.

    Positive difference in altitude : 1900m | Negative difference in altitude : 1900m | Altitude Max : 5641m | Accommodation : 'Uncle Nik' Refuge

  • Day 9 Spare day

    Spare day If weather conditions aren't good, the ascent of Elbrouz can be done on this spare day. It can also be used as a rest day. The knowledge and experience of your guide will optimize our chances to reach the top according to the weather and to the physical conditions of the group.

    Accommodation : Refuge

  • Day 10 "Uncle Nik" refuge - Hathansu

    Today, we descend to Hathansu. This day can also be used as a safety day if weather isn't on point the day before.

    Negative difference in altitude : around 1200m | Altitude Max : 3760m | Accommodation : Tent

  • Day 11 Hathansu - Piatigorsk

    Hathansu - Piatigorsk We hop on a car to get to Malka to then join the city of Piatigorsk, and spend the night at the hotel.

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Day 12 Piatigorsk - Paris

    Around noon, we'll join the airport 30km away and fly back to Moscow before Paris. once we arrive at night, we'll say goodbye to each other after a wonderful adventure together, full of unforgettable memories.

Please note that this itinerary, including walking distances and times, is indicative. Our guides aim to provide the adventure that is best suited to the weather, your interests and the demands of the group. Please be aware that in order to achieve this, changes to the programme may be made.

Dates & prices

International departures:

From To Price per person Guaranteed Booking
€2,995 No Book now!
€2,995 No Book now!
€2,995 No Book now!
€2,995 No Book now!

Trip code: VELBN

Included

A deposit of 30% of the trip’s price will be needed during the booking, the whole price must be paid at least 30 days before departure. 

  • The technical organization of the trip
  • Mountaineering with high-mountain guides
  • International and domestic flights, flight taxes
  • Planned transfers
  • Accommodation in hotels, refuges or tents
  • Meals except in Piatigorsk and Moscow 
  • Licences 
  • Collective equipment
  • Services from a local team

Not included

  • The Russian visa
  • Individual technical equipment
  • Meals in town (Piatigorsk, Moscow)
  • Tips
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Sightseeing and activities non included in the program
  • Luggage supplement (ski cover)
  • Insurance / assistance : research fees and helicopter rescue, hospitalisation and repatriation mandatory
  • Registration fees : 18€/person

Terms and conditions

Subscription

Subscribe to one of our activities or travels means accepting general sales conditions. Each client must fill a subscription form, which will be accepted only after the payment of a deposit accounting for 30% of the travel’s price and according to the availability. If you subscribe less than 30 days before the trip, you must pay the whole price during the subscription. You can pay by bank transfer (SWIFT/IBAN) or with your credit card directly through our website (available soon). A booking confirmation will be sent to you be e-mail very soon. 

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is registered, we will send you an email containing the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before your arrival. If the customer does not settle the payment of the travel price within the period agreed upon, Montagne Expedition has the right to cancel the booking free of charge. 

Cancellation policy

If for any reason, you decide to withdraw from a journey, the amount already paid will be refunded subject to the following exceptions:
  • More than 30 days before departure, you will be charged for the amount of 50€
  • From 30 to 21 days before departure, you will be charged for the amount of the deposit (30% of the trip’s price)
  • From 20 to 14 days before departure,  you will be charged for 50% of the trip’s price
  • From 13 to 7 days before departure,  you will be charged for 75% of the trip’s priceLess than 7 days before departure,  you will be charged for the whole trip’s price 

Particular case :

Whatever the cancellation or contract change date, the following fees will be added to the charges above:
  • Airline fixed costs: plane tickets are bought in advance to avoid too high airline prices, however they are non refundable in case of cancellation or plan changes. In that case, the charges above apply to the price of your trip without the plane ticket’s price
  • Ground fixed costs: you will be charged for the fees that were paid early
  • Insurance fees: Insurance fees will not be refunded if you have subscribed to a multi-risk or cancellation insurance. The specific conditions will be written on your subscription confirmationIf you have no choice but to cancel your trip before departure, you must inform Montagne Expeditions and your insurance provider with a written statement as soon as possible, you will get a receipt. 

The receipt date will be taken as the cancellation date to charge cancellation fees.  

If Montagne Expeditions has no choice but to cancel a group travel due to an insufficient number of participants, the decision will be taken and the clients informed at least 31 days before departure. Altaï Alpes can also cancel a departure due to exceptional events threatening participants safety (social events, strikes, weather conditions). In that case, the trip’s price will be fully refunded but the participants will not get any compensation.

Changes to travel contract


If any change in travel contract is made at the customer’s request, the customer shall pay any fee that might arise from this change. In any case, every request for changes shall be notified in writing. In case of external events that could not be foreseen, Altaï Alpes might change some aspects of the travel contract. We will inform you of any changes as quickly as possible.

Pricing


All group travel prices on our website have been calculated for the indicated number of participants for each trip. The price list is confirmed after the booking. If the number of participants is lower than expected, an additional payment charge might be applied. For each travel and program, we mention the price per person – valid for the minimum number of participants – and we provide you with detailed explanations about the services included or not. Any change in the exchange rates or in the price of travel services in particular regarding the cost of the fuel, might entail price revision.

Contract transfer

In case of contract transfer by the customer to an assignee, modification and cancellation conditions apply. 

Insurance

We recommend you to get your personal insurance before your departure to cover the activities undertaken by Montagne Expedition. If you have not purchased any of our insurances, we ask you to email us your insurance contract information (company, contract name, contract number, phone number) and bring those information with you on your trip. 

Practical info

Staff

The tour is supervised by a mountain guide who has been chosen for his field experience, his specific knowledge of one geographical area and the culture attached, as well as his passion for the region.

Food

Meals
  • Very good quality and tasty local food, meals are prepared by chefs : they are excellent !
  • Take some snacks according to your own tastes (cereals bars, chocolate bars, dry fruits,…).

Drinks
  • We advise you to bring some water purification tablets (Aquatabs or Micropur) in order to drink tap water. 
  • Personal drinks are not included in the trip's price
  • Bring cash for coffees, fruit juices, coke or beers during breaks…

Accommodation

  • We advise you to bring protection against noise (ear plugs).
  • A few electrical plugs are available in refuges, but plan to bring an external battery to charge your camera and switch off your phone during the day. 

Transportation

On Day 3, 6, 7 & 8, for the final ascent we will only carry a light bag with our belongings for the day. On Day 4 : we'll carry the technical equipment to the base camp. On Day 5 : we'll carry our personal belongings including the sleeping equipment. On day 10 (descent) : we will carry all of our belongings including the technical and sleeping equipment. 

Tips

Clients usually pay for the guides’ drinks : you might find it practical to make a group kitty at the beginning of your stay (no obligation). 

Supplied equipment

  • Ropes
  • Technical equipment

Vital equipment

  • 1 pair of alpinism boots 
  • 1 pair of gaiters
  • 1 harness + 2 carabiners
  • 1 ice axe
  • 1 pair of crampons with antibott system
  • 1 pair of telescopic poles
  • 1 sleeping bag (double layers)
  • 1 foam mattress or self inflating
  • 1 safety cover
  • 1 head lamp + long lasting batteries
  • 1 pair of glacier sunglasses category 4 with nose protector + 1 extra pair
  • 1 ski mask for the summit
  • 1 1.5L thermos
  • Hand heaters
  • Sun cream + after sun cream (face and lips)
  • 2 plastic bin bags (100L) to keep your bags waterproof
  • 1 waterproof pouch in which you will put your identity papers, your phone, your money and your insurance/assistance contract with all of your emergency phone number

Material

Upper body : 
  • Windstopper bonnet
  • Hat or cap
  • Neck scarf
  • Sunscreen (high protection) for skin and lips
  • Sunglasses for glacier category 4 + ski goggles 
  • 2 technical breathable long sleeve underwear type "Carline" (no coton which dries too slowly)
  • 1 technical and breathable shirt to put under your jumper
  • 1 thick fleece jacket
  • 1 fuzz jacket
  • 1 wind stopper and waterproof jacket type Goretex
  • 1 pair of wind stopper mittens (fleece or wool) 
  • 1 pair of undergloves

Lower body : 
  • 1 technical and breathable pair of tights type "Carline"
  • 1 pair of comfortable mountain trousers
  • 1 pair of wind stopper and waterproof trousers type Goretex
  • 2 pairs of socks : 1 thin and 1 thick

Other : 
  • 1 bed sheet for refuges
  • 1 small toiletry bag with 1 fast drying towel
  • Cream for sunburns (Biafine)
  • Biodegradable toilet paper
  • 1 or 2 100L plastic bags and an overbag to protect your belongings and your bag
  • 1 waterproof pouch in which you will put your identity paper, your phone, your money and your insurance/assistance contract with all of your emergency numbers

Luggage

Your equipment has to be split into 2 bags : 
  • 1 heavy and compact bag (50/60L backpack) with the minimum necessary for your arrival : leave with your alpinism boots at your feet
  • 1 other backpack (under 20kg)

Medicine

Your guide has a pharmacy of first urgency.
Plan with your doctor your personal pharmacy:
  • Personal medicine
  • Pain reliever (preferably paracetamol)
  • Double skin
  • Elastoplast
  • Local disinfectant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-diarrheal
  • Anti-vomiting
  • Intestinal antiseptic
  • Eyewash
  • Light sleeping pills
  • Earplugs
  • Broad spectrum antibiotic
  • Vitamins C 
Non-exhaustive list.

Passport

Please make sure your passport and travel documents are valid. We advise you to travel with a copy of your travel documents in case of theft or loss.

Sustainable tourism

We do our best to offer trips subscribed to the principles of responsible and sustainable tourism. Our aim is to allow visitors to discover the many facets of the mountains by taking you off the beaten path and getting you in touch with its nature and residents, while ensuring that your visits do not have a negative effect on its natural environment and people.

  • Most of our accommodations are run by locals, thus ensuring that the largest part of the revenue generated through your trip will stay within the region.
  • France is known for its exquisite cuisine. The art of cooking and the joy of eating are part of everyday life. Each region has its particular foods and flavors which we would like you to explore and appreciate.
  • Water is a precious and rare good. Our team and those travelling with us are thus advised to use it with consideration and avoid excessive water use where possible.
  • Please try to recycle your waste whenever possible, even though recycling may not be a well-known concept in all areas.
  • Be cautious and respectful when hiking. Make sure to wear suitable footwear and avoid picking flowers, moving stones or lighting fires.  
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Marjolaine

My local agent
Marjolaine

  • At 12, she dreams of climbing Kilimanjaro.
  • Attracted by volcanoes and snow-capped peaks from all continents
  • She loves hikes and ski weekends
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Region
Great ascent
Activity
Expedition Summer
Duration
12 days
Group
6 to 9 people
Code
VELBN
Price
From €2,995
Level
3/5
Comfort
3/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

  • Discovery of the occidental side of Elbruz and its secret valleys 
  • Ascent by the 'Russian side' and historical of the ascent of the East summit
  • Wild and charming landscapes, far away from the crowds on the normal path

Guide's advice

"This itinerary is a unique experience in the heart of the Russian mountain practice. The places are unique and full of stories and history. "
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