On the wat to the summit.

Elbrus, the highest summit of Europe


General Information about Caucasus

The Caucasus is a vast mountain area consisting of many ranges. It stretches for 1.500 kilometers from the Black to the Caspian sea. Among the mountain ranges almost going parallel to one another, the principal one is the Glavny Range whose highest peaks reach over 5.000 meters. It is the axis of the whole Caucasus. Dykh-Tau, Koshtan-Tau, Skhara and other giants, which attract many challenged climbers over the world. In front of these peaks - unassailable Besengi Wall. In 30's the first Soviet climbers traversed this remarkable 13 km long wall stretching higher then 4.500 meters. To the north of the Glavny Range at a distance of 10-15 km towers the two-headed volcano Elbrus. Its western cone is 5.642 meters - the summit of the Caucasus. And it was the Elbrus area to become one gigantic center of tourism, mountaineering and skiing, which was called later Elbrusia.


Elbrusia is a conventional name. The borders of the area have been suggested by nature. At a point beyond the village of Elbrus the highway enters a forest where lots of tourist facilities stand amid the trees. Here the first Soviet mountain camps were set up in 1935 and the story of Soviet mountaineering began. The equipment used then was almost completely home-made: iron pitons, heavy geological boots and hammers, tarpaulin rucksacks. Unlike in the west Soviet mountaineering was rather a team sport secured by many stages of training. One who wished to go for mountain ascents had to get a set of courses to prove his ability. None was allowed to go for ascent alone. At the certain level of qualification climbers had to attnd an official course of the national mountain rescue which would take several weeks at Elbrusia. Finally successful climbers were rewarded by a national mountain rescue team badge where the red cross's shown in front of mt.Ushba, the most dangerous summit in Elbrusia.

Mt.ELBRUS: climbs, names, dates.

Famous Tenzing Norgey on the Caucasus   Ascent on the mt.Elbrus usually takes 10-12 hours from the Base Camp at Priyut of 11, the high altitude Refuge. For the better and proper acclimatization climbers go up to the Pastukhov Rocks, which are in 4 hours from the Refuge and return back. As experience shows it helps greatly for the successful ascent. The western summit of Elbrus is about 50 meters higher then the Eastern. However most of climbers prefer to climb the Eastern head, because of the time limit and the superb panoramic view from the top. It's believed that mt.Elbrus is not a difficult one to climb (even a newcomer can do it), but rather a coward one, which requires to be aware on the weather and on the certain strategy of climbing it.
The first Everest's conqueror Tentzing Norgey and famous Soviet climber D.Kokhiani at the Priyut of 11th.
General information
Getting there
Visas and permits
Mt. Elbrus ascent



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