Ian Taylor Trekking have run over 100 trips to Climb Mount Elbrus over the last 15 years. After personally climbing Mount Everest to the top, Kilimanjaro 35+ times and Mount Elbrus 5+ times and here are our measured and Top Tips for Climbing Elbrus. We have 85% success rate to date and weather permitting we have 100% on most of our 12 day trips. There is one main reason for that. Acclimatization!
1). Having the Right Itinerary Will Make all the Difference
We have developed the best 12 day itinerary possible for you to be safe and success, along with getting the most out of your adventure into the Caucasus mountain region. More acclimatization gives you a safer and more enjoyable experience going to high altitude. We can run 8 and 9 day itineraries for small groups.
2). The Right Physical Training and Preparation
Climbing Mount Elbrus is harder than climbing Kilimanjaro, so it Is essential you come physically prepared. You will be moving up and down steep, trails, snow and ice fields at very high altitude. Each summit attempt can be very different, so if you are thinking of climbing Mount Elbrus you should aim to be over prepared in case the conditions deteriorate you need to be able to get yourself out of trouble and not be struggling in potentially very dangerous situations. There will be no porters to carry your back pack. LEARN MORE.
3). Make Sure you Have the Right Clothing and Gear
I am a big fan of quality lightweight gear. If you climb in the warmer months of July and August you will need a wide range of clothing as if you can experience temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius in the trekking phase and down to as low as -20 Celsius in the mountaineering phase of the trip. You need proper trekking boots, waterproof gear and range of merino wool layers. If you are climbing Elbrus in June or September you experience even lower temperatures and will absolutely need to make sure you have quality layer, correct down jacket. The correct mountaineering boots are essential to keep your feet warm and you need excellent gloves, layers and safety equipment.
4). Make Sure you Climb from the South Side
Don’t buy into the nonsense that you need to climb on the North side of Mount Elbrus. If you are part of a mountaineering club, you have been on numerous high-altitude trekking and mountaineering adventures. Then maybe the north side of Elbrus is for you and we can help you. If you are not used to load carrying of serious weighted backpack and able for climbing on steep terrain from 3,900m/ 12,795 feet up to 5,642m/ 18,510 feet. Then you should not be climbing on the North side of Mount Elbrus.
We love the north side of Mount Elbrus, but if you want to be safe and successful and you are not that experienced, but fit and strong then the South side has better safety in place for you. There are lots of inexperienced people falling into crevasses on the north side, teams moving without ropes. The Southern route up Elbrus has snow cats, snow mobiles, easier route along with better facilities, huts and services. Check out our itinerary we have the best of both. We spend 3 nights acclimatizing on the northern side of the mountain, then 3 days on the beautiful eastern slopes of Mount Elbrus, before moving around to the southern side of the mountain for more acclimatization and potentially 3 attempts at the summit. Check out our TOP 10 TIPS
5). Patience as you Await the Right Weather Conditions
The weather can be harsh. For those of you who follow us on Instagram you will see our raw footage from the mountain and know that winds can gust over 60 miles an hour. Temperatures can be below -20 Celsius even in the warmest months high on the mountain so having more days for acclimatization is so important. Also having more days for your summit attempt is important. We have 3 potential nights/ days that we can give the summit the best possible shot in a safe and managed way. You need to pick and ITINERARY with more days. Why travel halfway around the world to be unsuccessful because you do not have enough days available to reach the summit. Do not make this mistake.
6). Be Mentally Prepared for Your Mount Elbrus Climb
Do some mental preparation and get to understand the trek and climb from our video’s and pictures. You would gain a lot of mental strength from prior altitude experience and your extensive training regime. Mount Elbrus and any mountain region demands respect. Try getting out and doing some wilderness trekking, walking and get used to your gear and being comfortable going to the toilet outdoors. Sleep in a tents and use the air mattress, sleeping bag and mountaineering equipment you will be using on the Mount Elbrus.
7). Have 1 Guide for Every 4 Clients on the Mount Elbrus
Have the right amount of support staff. We have 3 guides and staff or each team of 12 team members when we go high on the mountain. You also want to be in a smaller team. All our trekking team have a maximum of 12 people per team. We also have a western guide on all our Mount Elbrus trips. Having more staff on the mountain in support of your Elbrus climb, increases safety high on Mount Elbrus. This is important so you get that personal care and attention throughout the whole trip. Make sure you pick a team who have their own highly qualified full time staff on the ground.
8). Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
Pre-hydrate before you start your travels. You should be used to drinking 4 liters per day in the lead up to the trip. You will need to be drinking 4/5 liters of water per day on this trip. When you training you should be drinking a liter of water for every hour of exercise. Coming prepared and ready puts you in much better position to be successful.
9). Bring Multi Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements
Nutritious food is important for any expedition but it can very difficult to eat at altitude and get the right foods. Having nutritional supplements are really important to maintaining a strong immune system and be healthy throughout the whole trip. You will using a high level of exertion daily on this trip and food does not always seem appealing so making sure you have vitamins and protein bars for recovery and well being is important.
For your summit night you should consider glucose sweets, Clif shot blocks and hyper hydration from Skratch Labs. You should also consider having some familiar food favorites on the mountain. This can also be a mental aid on harder days. There is always plenty of food to choose from on our Elbrus trips, but when your tummy is having a hard time with the altitude, those familiar snacks may be all you can get down. So remember, within reason (you definitely do not want to be carrying too much un-necessary weight up the mountain), bring yourself a little treat when for you may need it the most!
10). Avoid Sunburn at all Costs
Stay out of the sun whenever possible. The higher you go up in altitude, the lower the levels of UV Protection you are getting. While trekking around Mount Elbrus the sun can be punishing. When you start climbing on the glacier the sun can be brutal, giving you solar radiation from its powerful rays. You do not want to get fried. Staying out of the sun is not only good for minimizing those pesky wrinkles and avoiding skin cancer, but it can also improve your chance of summiting.
When you get sunburned you become dehydrated. Being dehydrated can cause all sorts of problems on the mountain and eventually limiting your chance of success. The first way to protect yourself if by applying a factor 50 sunblock throughout the day. The second way of protecting yourself is to always wear your goofy looking, yet extremely important, sun hat. Get yourself a light weight, brimmed sunhat to wear on days when the sun is shining and you will save yourself from some of the dreaded headaches you so adamantly want to avoid.
If you would like further information about our Elbrus itinerary and trips just CONTACT US and we can help you get all the information you need to be successful. We can help you develop a training plan that will work for you.