Caucasus

Full-blown roof of Europe with its 5642m peak, Elbrouz is the Caucasian massif's king, and reigns as a master over the numerous summits of this mountain chain separating Northern and Southern Europe. Towards the East, located in the Khok chain, Mount Kazbek (dormant volcano) is the forth highest summit of Caucasus and the second of highest of Georgia which it marks the frontier with Russia. 

Covered with glaciers, thus the nickname "Mountain of ice", its name comes from the village of Kazbegui located in Georgia. After a flight to Moscow, we land in Mineralny Vody, thermal city located in the Caucasus massif. From there, we continue our journey towards Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia. Then, after a transfer to Tmenikau, we join on foot the base camp of Mount Kazbek in the valley of Karmadon. After 4 days of acclimatization and climbs in the altitude camps, we will attempt the summit and join the valley afterwards. 
We go in direction of Hathansu, meeting point for Russian highlanders, before climbing up to the Uncle Nick refuge from our base camp. There, we finalize our acclimatization to throw ourselves towards the summit. Once arrived in Seldov, we only have a small ridge left before we reach the top. We made it, and it's fabulous ! 
Once we're back at the refuge, we'll have a good rest and join the Hathansu camp. Then, we get to the city of Piatigorsk by walking on fantasy pistes in the middle of lush pastures.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Flight Paris - Mineralny Vody - Vladikavkaz

    Departure from Paris to Mineralny Vody. Welcoming at the airport followed by a transfer to Vladikavkaz : 215km and around 3h drive.
    Diner is planned on route.

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Day 2 Tmenikau - Base camp

    We start our day with a 35km transfer from Vladikavkaz to Tmenikau, small village at 1750m high. After passeport and permits control, we'll have a traditional Ossetian meal prepared by our guides. From there starts our 12km trek leading us to the base camp in the valley of Karmadon, at 2450m.
    Near our camp are two hot springs allowing us to have a nice bath !

    Positive difference in altitude : around 700m | Accommodation : Camp

  • Day 3 Ascent to Camp 1

    Ascent to Camp 1 We start today walking in direction of the Maili glacier and its West ridge. There are a few passages where a fixed rope will help us with our ascent. We'll arrive at the Camp 1 at 3400m high.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 1000m | Accommodation : Camp 1

  • Day 4 Camp 2 at 4150m and Polyakov

    Through rocks, stones and snow, the ascent towards Camp 2 at 4150m is difficult. We will take advantage of our afternoon to ascend Polyakov at 4270m to train and acclimatize.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 900m | Negative difference in altitude : around 200m | Accommodation : Camp 2

  • Day 5 Maili Glacier

    Acclimatization day which we'll take advantage of to do a few technical revisitions on the Maili glacier (without ascending to the top to avoid spending all of our energy unnecessarily) before returning to Camp 2 to spend the night.
    Those who prefer can stay at the camp and rest before the next day's ascent.

    Accommodation : Camp

  • Day 6 Mount Kazbek 5033m

    Mount Kazbek 5033m Today is the ascent day of Kazbek at 5033m ! After a fairly gentle beginning through the glacier, slopes are getting steeper right up to the top. We'll admire the amazing view on the Caucasus landscapes surrounding us. On the other side is Georgia and West stands Elbrouz. We did it, and we'll celebrat once we are back at the Camp 2.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 900m | Negative difference in altitude : around 900m | Accommodation : Camp 2

  • Day 7 Spare day

    This day can be used in case of base weather on the previous day for the ascent. If the ascent is on this day, we can also cut the very long descent in 2 steps.

    Accommodation : camp

  • Day 8 Return to Vladikavkaz

    Return to Vladikavkaz Descent to Tmenikau and transfer to the hotel in Vladikavkaz to spend a well deserved night.

    Negative difference in altitude : around 2400m | Accommodation : hotel

  • Day 9 Hathansu : base camp of Elbruz

    Hathansu : base camp of Elbruz From Vladikavkaz, around 400km (around 6h30 drive) are separating us from Hathansu where is located the base camp of Elbruz. We settle our tents in the middle of the pasture at 2500m high and enjoy the breath taking landscape.

    Accommodation : Tent

  • Day 10 Uncle Nick refuge

    Uncle Nick refuge Here is the great start : we get to the "Uncle Nick" refuge at 3760m using a good pathway. It will now be our base, surrounded with ice.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 1200m | Accommodation : Uncle Nick refuge

  • Day 11 Acclimatization

    On a long walk on a flat terrain, we join an immense glacial plateau names Djikaughenkez and bordered by prominences at the Southeast from where we will have an incredible point of view on the Baksan valley and the central part of the mountain chain which, South, forms the frontier with Georgia.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 700m | Negative difference in altitude : around 700m | Accommodation : Uncle Nick refuge

  • Day 12 Elbruz 5641m

    Elbruz 5641m Very early wake up to trek towards the summit on fairly steep slopes. Arrival to Sedloy (5400m) between East and West peaks. We meet with other mountaineers arriving from the Normal Route. We have to put in all of our energy to finish those 200m separating us from the top and finally reach the summit plateau. Here we are, at the top of Europe !
    We descend on the same itinerary to the refuge.

    Positive difference in altitude : around 1900m | Negative difference in altitude : around 1900m | Accommodation : Refuge

  • Day 13 Spare day

    Spare day In case of bad weather on the previous day, we still have the opportunity to attempt reaching the summit on this spare day to guarantee a success !

    Accommodation : Refuge

  • Day 14 Piatigorsk

    Descent to Hathansu and transfer to Piatigorsk by the valley of Malka.

    Negative difference in altitude : 1200m | Accommodation : Hotel

  • Day 15 Spare day in Piatigorsk

    Spare day in Piatigorsk Sightseeing day in Piatigorsk or, if necessary, this day can be used as a spare day for Elbruz according to conditions.
    Departure for France in the night from the airport of Myneralny Vodi 30km away from Piatigorsk.

  • Day 16 France

    Flight from Myneralny Vodi to Moscow and then to Paris. We land late in the morning (depending on the chosen flights). We say goodbye to each other after a wonderful adventure with our heads full of memories.

ITINERARY CHANGE
The program can be modified by your guide due to weather conditions or participants physical conditions. For safety reasons and to ensure a uniform level corresponding to the one announced, the supervision and organisation boards have the right to interrupt your participation if your technical or physical level are lower than the one required. The interruption will not give you any right of refund or payment of compensation.

Dates & prices

International departures:

No departure for now

Trip code: VKZELB

Included

  • A french high mountain guide's supervision
  • International and domestic flights + aerial taxes
  • Ground transfers mentioned in the itinerary
  • Every accommodation (hotels, lodges, refuge or camp)
  • Meals except in Piatigorsk
  • Parc taxes
  • Permits 
  • Collective equipment
  • A professional cook

Not included

  • The Russian visa (around 190€)
  • Meals in town (Piatigorsk)
  • Tips
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Visits or activities non included in the program
  • Insurance and assistance 
  • 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

Your trip will be supervised by a high-mountain guide who will teach you technical elements needed for the good progress of your stay. He may need to modify the program in order to ensure safety regarding weather conditions and participants physical conditions.

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

Camp, refuges and hotels.

Transportation

We will have to carry all of our belongings except on days where we'll go back and forth.

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

  • First aid kit
  • 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 is a trained first-aider and will carry a first aid kit at all times during your trip for use in emergencies. We recommend that you bring your own first aid kit containing : 
  • 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.

Visa

Mandatory !
It is a simple entry tourism visa. Its obtention is under your responsibility (count 7-21 days of examination delay + route delay). You will have to provide an identity photo (facing the camera, in colors and that lasted from less then 6 months), the visa application form (that you will have to complete on the website  https://visa.kdmid.ru/), a photocopy in colors of your passport and insurance form. 

- The visa application form has to be done online and then give the complete folder (passport, photo, invitation letter, visa application form, insurance certificat) to the Russian visa Center VFS.GLOBAL which prepares the visa applications. 


If you haven't got time to take care of your visa, we recommend calling our partner Visa-connect. Visa-connect can accompany you in the preparation of your visa application folder and take care of every formalities for you. This service is invoiced 45 euros (September 2019). 

The mentioned information are only indicative for french citizens. They can be modified. It is thus highly recommended to check with the consulate of your country a few months before your departure. 

Mandatory vaccines

Even if there are no mandatory vaccins, make sure to have the vaccins usually recommended in the occidental countries up to date (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid). Also, hepatitis A and B are recommended. 

Weather

The weather can change a lot in a short amount of time. There can be wind and be very cold. The temperature of the air decreases of about 0,8°C every 100m of altitude. In high mountain, thermic variations are very rapid (shadow/sun and day/night). The wind and the humidity of the clothes aggravate considerably the thermic loss. The drop of the atmospheric layer makes the sun even more dangerous due to the rise of the ultraviolet radiation. An adequate equipment will protect you from the violent wind. 

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.  
Request a quote
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
Request a quote
Region
Great ascent
Activity
Expedition Summer
Duration
16 days
Group
6 to 9 people
Code
VKZELB
Price
From €3,895
Level
3/5
Comfort
3/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

  • Discovery of Caucasus thanks to 2 complementary summits
  • The Elbruz summit by its wild side to avoid the crowded normal pathway

Guide's advice

"For those wanting to discover the Russian summits, Caucasus is a playground still kept a secret, which keeps nice surprises to alpinists. A taste of high altitude expeditions while being at a 5000m altitude, which allows us to acclimatize rapidly. "

Required level

The crossed natural environments are very different, pathways are sometimes thinly marked and the weather conditions demanding. But don't forget the length of the trip, its latitude and the important remoteness. Participants will have to know the risks of altitude. 

You have to be used to walking on difficult terrain. The ascents do not require great technical knowledges but demands an intense and long effort in sometimes very difficult conditions. You have to be able to walk with crampons at your feet during hours. 

There are 30° to 35° slopes with passages at 40° (the Mont Blanc ascent or equivalent is mandatory to validate your registration to this trip). 3 to 12 hours steps. 

For our "Trek Peak" trips with ascents and exposure to altitude, we demand to every participant to do a medical check and to have an aptitude certificate to the practice of alpinism. 
Request a quote