Mount Elbrus is located in the Caucasus mountain range, southwest of Russia, and is the highest snow-clad peak in the entire European continent. So, being the highest mountain in Europe, you might be wondering about the Mount Elbrus elevation, this magnificent peak which is also part of the ‘Seven Summit Peaks’, has two peaks; Elbrus East Summit at the altitude of 5,621 meters (18,442 feet) and the highest, Elbrus West Summit at the elevation of 5,642 meters (18,510 feet).
Mount Elbrus elevation is on the 5th rank among the seven summit peaks that determine the highest mountain peak in each of the continents. This stunning peak in the Caucasus is quite popular among mountaineering enthusiasts and the seven summit bidders trying to claim victory on the highest summit point of each continent. However, despite ranking fifth according to elevation points in the seven summit list, Mount Elbrus elevation gain is one of the most challenging and strenuous among all other peaks in the list.
Mount Elbrus Elevation on Each Day of the Expedition
Mount Elbrus elevation which falls in the 5,000-meter class may not seem like a much of deal for the mountaineers who have not actually climbed the mountain. However, the elevation gain in Mount Elbrus is considered one of the most dreadful challenges as there is no high camp on the mountain and the climbers have to push for a significant altitude during the summit day.
Here is a general outline of the day-to-day itinerary for the Mount Elbrus expedition and the elevation gain that you can expect during your climb.
10-day Outline Itinerary for Mount Elbrus Climbing From the South Route
Day 1: Arrival at Nalchik or Mineralnye (2,100 meters)
Depending on your expedition package, you will be either received at Moscow or your expedition will begin after your arrival at Nalchik or Mineralyne airport. As Moscow is just at an elevation of 156 meters, you will gain about 1,944 meters altitude on this day.
Day 2: Acclimatization hike to Terskol Waterfall (2,500 meters)
As you have gained a significant altitude, you will do an acclimatization hike to properly acclimatize the new rising altitude to prevent altitude sickness. Proceeding along the trail, you will hike to the Terskol Gorge and Terksol waterfall at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
Day 3: Hike to cable car station (3,000 meters)
Moving along the expedition trail, you will climb upto the cable car station on this day’s adventure. As this day’s overall expedition depends on the physical condition of the climbers, either you will either push for the Cheget-2 at the elevation of 2,750 meters or if capable all the way to Cheget-3 at 3,000 meters.
Day 4: Acclimatization hike to Terskol Peak Observatory (3,127 meters)
This will be the last day in your expedition package before you leave the valley for Mount Elbrus scaling. Depending upon yesterday’s stop point you will hike across the Devichi Kosy Waterfall (2,800 meters) and do gear checkups or rent if you need any.
Day 5: Old Horizon to Gara-Bashi (3,847 meters) or Mir Station (3,455 meters)
Moving along the expedition trail, you will pass the popular mountain hotel Cheeper Azau (3,000 meters) near the cable car station, Old Horizon. As the altitude gain is significant in this day’s adventure, climbers are advised to stay hydrated and stay on the lookout for the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Proceeding further, you do an acclimatization hike to the highest cable car station in the entire Europe, Gara Bashi (3,847 meters), or to the Mir Station at an altitude of 3,455 meters (11,340 feet), the call is made by the expedition leader assessing the physical abilities of the climbers.
Day 6: Hike to Pastukhov Rocks (4,800 meters)
Proceeding further on your Mount Elbrus expedition, on this day’s adventure, you will hike upto Pastukhov Rocks either from Gara Bashi or from Mir Station, depending on yesterday’s rest point.
Day 7: Rest day
After ascending to a significant altitude, it is necessary for your body to acclimatize properly to the rising altitude, Mount Elbrus elevation is quite significant as there is no high camp on the mountain. So, you will use this day to get enough rest and prepare for the big day tomorrow.
Day 8: Summit day (5,642 meters)
On this big day’s adventure, you will ascend to the highest Mount Elbrus elevation point, the highest in the entire Europe, Elbrus West Summit at 5,642 meters (18,510 feet). During the first part of this day’s adventure, you will take the snowcat vehicle on the southern route that takes climbers upto an altitude of 4,700 meters to 5,000 meters. In case climbers want to do all the climbing part on foot, they will have to prepare in advance 3- 4 hours earlier than the main group.
The usual summit period is between 10:00 A.M to 1:00 P.M depending upon the number of climbers, then after the summit it about 4- 6 hours of descent to reach the hut.
Day 9: Contingency/reserved day
As the altitude in the high altitude region can be unpredictable at times, this is an extra reserve day to postpone the summit ascend in case of bad weather conditions or due to delays in the itinerary plans.
Day 10: Drive to Mineralyne or Nalchik
Concluding your Mount Elbrus expedition, you will drive down to Nalchik or Moneralnye Vody Airport for your flight back to Moscow.
Best Time for Mount Elbrus Climbing
If you are thinking about climbing Mount Elbrus expedition, the best time for this expedition would be from July to September. These months are considered to be the most ideal seasons for Mount Elbrus climbing as they have pretty stable weather conditions and the temperature of the summer climbing season is pretty warm in the valley. The busiest months for Mount Elbrus climbing are July and August which sees a huge flock of climbers from all over the world especially on the southern climbing route.
As bad weather condition is one of the major obstacles for Mount Elbrus climbing, it is essential for the climbers to choose an ideal timeframe for the expedition for a safer and much easier scaling journey. The temperature of the lower valley in the Elbrus region sees the temperature as high as 25°C during the peak climbing season. However, at a higher altitude, the temperature in the early morning, and at night is usually in minus degrees, altitude above 4,000 meters see a temperature drop of -20°C or lower in the peak climbing season.
Like any other high altitude region, Mount Elbrus has houses an unpredictable weather condition, but during the peak window climbing season, July to early September, the weather condition is on the more stable side. But, it doesn’t mean that there is a total exemption in these months as well, the afternoon dark clouds and thunderstorms are pretty common in the region, even during the summer climbing season. So, during your Mount Elbrus climbing make sure that you are prepared for every kind of climatic condition that you might have to face.
Is Mount Elbrus Climbing for Me?
Considering the overall expedition difficulty level which is at ‘difficult to challenging’ this mountain expedition is recommended for only mountaineers with previous climbing experience. Although this stunning mountain peak in the Caucasus region doesn’t have many technical segments, still climbers need to have adequate mountaineering skills to overcome the present technical section.
Besides the technical climbing part, Mount Elbrus elevation gain and the bad weather conditions are some of the major challenging factors of this adventure, the altitude jump is quite significant there are potential risks for altitude sickness Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High-altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High-altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). You will have to take all the precautionary methods to avoid altitude sickness and choose the right frame for the expedition so you can enjoy a comfortable experience in favorable weather conditions. As long as you have a basic level of fitness with good health conditions and have an adequate amount of mountaineering experience alongside the necessary skillset, you will be able to complete this easily. Just give yourself enough time for the preparation which will also increase the overall success rate of your Mount Elbrus expedition.
Furthermore, you can take the easy climbing route to the summit of the mountain so you higher probability of a successful summit. There are generally two climbing routes on the Mount Elbrus, the southern route and the northern climbing route, there is a cable car system on the southern route that takes the climbers easily upto the elevation point of 3,658 meters and it is also known for having less technical climbing segments.
Whereas, the northern climb route is popular as the more technical climbing route where the climbers have to frequently use the fixed rope on the mountain and their mountaineering tools to ascend along the climbing trail. Comparing the success rate, the success rate of the Mount Elbrus expedition on the southern route is at 80%- 90%, however, on the northern climbing route it is just about 50%. So for a better success rate, you could use the easy, fast, and the most convenient southern route during your expedition.
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