What Should you be Packing for your Mount Elbrus Expedition

Once you have signed up to one of our Mount Elbrus trips, we will send you our 30 page trip Dossier. The Dossier includes an itemized kit list, training advice and other relevant information to help you come fully prepared for your Elbrus climb. We want you to have a safe and successful journey, therefore we want to make sure you have all the correct information. Here is our Packing for your Mount Elbrus Expedition, showing you what items Ian will bring on his next Elbrus trek and climb. Here are 10 reasons to pick us for your Elbrus trip.

What you Should Considering Packing for Mount Elbrus

This exhaustive list does not have to be followed word for word. We appreciate that trekkers and climbers have their own preference regarding clothing, but we hope this list will ensure nothing is overlooked. Check out some REVIEWS from our trips. Once you have signed up for our trip, we will send you a complete list, with examples of each item!

Southern side of Mount Elbrus

Mountaineering Equipment

Mountaineering Boots: You will need high quality double boots. We recommend the La Sportiva G2SM boots, but understand there are difference foot shapes and personal challenges getting the right boot for you. Do spend time make sure your mountaineering boots fit correctly and make sure you break them in before arriving on the mountain. LEARN MORE.

Lightweight Ice Axe: Make sure your ice axe has a leash. You should cover the very top with foam and duct tape for extra protection.

Crampons: We recommend the Grivel G12 – New-Matic

Harness:  We recommend the Black Diamond Bod Harness

Helmet (optional):  We recommend the Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

2 Locking Carabiners: Black Diamond Vaporlock Screwgate Carabiner

Slings:  We use clip into fixed lines higher on the mountain. (60 – 120cm) Petzl Slings

High winds on Mount Elbrus

Upper Body Layers

T-Shirts: We recommend Merino wool or synthetic fabrics (NO COTTON) 2/3 short sleeve shirts and 2 long sleeve shirts. Unlike cotton and synthetic materials, merino wool will not build up bacteria and therefore will not become as smelly as quickly! Because of this, with merino wool items, you can bring less with you.

Waterproof Jacket: You need a Gore-tex or similar waterproofing material in an outer wear jacket. This should be light weight and will help protect you from rain/snow as well as help block the wind. Must have a hood. This is essential every day on the trip.

Mid Layers: This is going to be your warm, insulating layer. This can range from Merino Wool 200+ weight, to fleeces, to light down or synthetic jackets. You will need just one or two of these layers because they do not touch your body.

Outer Layer: Heavy down jacket. You will wear this every night and morning when we go higher on the mountain.  This should be high quality goose down expedition jacket. This is an essential piece of your kit to keep you warm in the freezing temperatures. It should be noted that, in particular, more down is the key. The fill number is not as important. Learn more.

Mount Elbrus south side

Lower Body Layers

Shorts: (light weight) good for hiking while at lower elevations. Nylon or synthetic fabrics are best and you will only need one pair.

Trekking Pants: We recommend bringing one or two pairs of trekking pants that are a quick drying, synthetic material. The type that can be zipped off into shorts can be helpful.

Fleece Pant: Every night when you arrive at camp, you will want to change your clothes from your trekking clothes. We recommend a pair of warm fleece pants or a track suit pant. You will only need one pair.

Waterproof Pant: You will need to have one pair of waterproof pants that can be worn over your trekking pant in case of rain/heavy snow. These can be Gore-tex or similar waterproofing materials. This is essential when higher on the mountain.

Close to the summit of Elbrus

Base Layers

Merino Wool Base layers are recommended, however a synthetic material will work as well. You will want one pair of warm bottoms to wear under your trekking pants on summit night. We would also recommend one or two long sleeve Merino/synthetic tops. These will have ‘wicking’ properties to keep you warm when you are cold and cool when you are warm. We like to use Icebreaker or Smartwool Merino layers.

Hands and Feet

Hiking Boots: You will want to purchase these early and break them in (do not go on the trip with a never been worn pair of boots). Your boots need to be warm, waterproof, semi rigid, have good ankle support and be comfortable. This is an essential part of your gear and you should make sure you get the right pair. LEARN MORE.

Lightweight Shoes: You will want to take your boots off when you arrive in the camp each day. We recommend a light trail running shoe or trainer.

Socks: We recommend either Merino Wool or a synthetic material (again not cotton) as they will help to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Usually you will need 3 pairs of trekking socks for the trek. You will need 2 pairs of thicker mountaineering socks for high on the mountain.  We recommend having one pair of liner socks as well as a thicker pair of summit socks for the long, cold summit night.

Gloves: You will need one pair of warm, waterproof outer gloves plus one pair of smaller liner gloves. The warmer gloves need to be a warm glove or expedition mitt. These are essential to keep you warm in the freezing temperatures. You will also want a thin liner glove to the less frigid temperatures or to wear inside your thick outer gloves for extreme temps.

The summit of Mount Elbrus

Head and Neck

Sun Hat: The hat needs to have a brim all the way around it to cover your ears, neck and face from the strong rays of the sun. You will definitely rely on this to keep you from burning and dehydrating, which could potentially ruin your trip. Therefore, you will wear this most days on the trail.

Winter Hat: You will need a warm fleece or wool hat to keep you warm in the cold temperatures. You will wear this every night/morning and throughout the summit night.

Buff/Neck Gaiter: This is an essential piece of gear to keep your neck warm as well as to cover your mouth and keep in the moisture high up.

Facemask: You can also bring a neoprene facemask to cover you nose and mouth. This can be used high on the mountain along with neck buff and ski googles.

Ski Googles: You should bring one pair for summit day. these will protect your face from the harsh winds.

Sunglasses: You need a dark, wraparound pair of sunglasses. Preferably category 3 or 4 to protect against harsh UV rays and ice-glare at higher altitudes. It is recommended to have a spare pair as well.

The roof of Europe

Duffel Bag and Back Pack

Day Pack Backpack: Approximately a 50/60 liter pack. We recommend the Deuter act lite 50+10. Each day you will carry, rain gear, layers, liner gloves, snack, lunch, suncream, camera and medical kit. You will also carry your documents and money. Your backpack MUST have a hip belt for support/weight loading and should have an inner frame for comfort on your back.

Backpack Splash Cover: In the case of heavy rains, this cover can go on your backpack to keep the contents of your pack dry. You will carry all of your important items like camera/passport/money in your backpack, therefore, you will want to keep them dry. A lot of newer packs do come with the splash cover.

Duffel Bag: We recommend a duffel bag around 100/120 liters in size. This will be moved by vehicle from Camp to Camp and stay in the hotel when we go higher on the mountain. It should not exceed 15kg/33lbs. Importantly, this will be a water resistant material.

The roof of Europe

Sleeping

Sleeping Bag: You will be camping for the first 5 nights of the trip, so you must bring your own sleeping bag. We recommend that it is rated to -15°C (0°F). Down is always better than synthetic.

Thermarest: This self-inflating mattress is a very important part of your kit for the camping portion of your Elbrus trip. You will be sleeping in tents for 5 nights and you will need to make it as comfortable as possible. A good nights sleep is extremely important.

Staying Protected

Sunscreen: We recommend having a Factor 50 + to protect you from the extreme rays of the sun at high altitude. Obviously, this should be re-applied throughout the day.

Lip Balm/Zinc Cream: This is essential to protect you against the fierce sun.

Hand Sanitizer: You will want to carry this with you at all times.

Hydration is Important

Water Bottles: We recommend having two Nalgene or similar bottles. These are a thick plastic bottle that you can fill with boiling water at night to act as a hot water bottle and then drink when you wake in the morning. Some people like a thermos flask for high on the mountain. LEARN MORE.

Camelbak: This hands-free hydration system is essential to keep you drinking plenty of water on the trail. We recommend a 2 liter bladder that you can fill each morning before hitting the trail so that you can easily sip water all day without having to stop walking. You will not be able to use this on summit night, as it will freeze. So you will just bring your Nalgene bottles with hot water in them for the summit. Think about adding a cover to keep your Nalgene insulated.

Water Purification Tablets: Purification tablets to purify the water along the trail. You will definitely have to treat any cold water that you drink on the trail.

Vitamins/Powdered Drink: Sometimes the water can get boring to drink, so we recommend bringing some vitamin C or multivitamin tablets/powders to add to your water.

Staying Clean

Towel: A small sports towel that is quick drying is recommended.

Baby Wipes: There is a shower at Base Camp on the northern side of the mountain but not always available. We recommend always bringing a pack of baby wipes to keep yourself clean in the wilderness.

Hand Sanitizer: Focusing on hygiene on the trail is essential, therefore you will want to have this with you at all times! This is essential to keep your hands clean on the trail.

Odds and Ends

Head Torch: Essential for mornings/evenings at camp as well as all night on your summit attempt.

Spare Batteries: This is for your head torch and your camera. The cold weather tends to shorten the life of batteries. Therefore consider a solar charger or battery pack.

Trail Munchies

We provide a lot of food on the trip. You can consider bringing a few of your favorites: chocolates, nuts, sweets, etc. We always recommend to have a special treat like a chocolate bar or gummy energy chews to eat on your summit night attempt. Obviously, you will need all the energy you can get and this can give you the extra push you may need!

Miscellaneous Items

Pocket knife/Multi Tool: Although this is not essential, it can come in handy!

Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles are always ideal. These will be helpful on the long way back down the mountain and every day trekking and acclimatizing.

Gaiters: These are optional, however these can stop scree/mud/water/snow from getting into your boots. Mountaineering boots should have a built in gaiter.

Toilet Paper & Matches: This is for when you are on the trail and have to go to the bathroom. You will either carefully burn the toilet paper or take a small plastic bag to dispose of toilet paper when you arrive at the camp.

Garbage Bag: This is a great way to wrap all your clothes/items inside your backpack to protect it against rain. Likewise, you will need to have a small bag for your trail shoes.

Small Mirror: Not essential, but some people are happy to have. You can also use your phone.

Book/Diary: You may want to have a book or diary or cards to use at camp at night when you have down-time.

Camera: Most people are using their phone these days. You will want to have plenty of memory cards/film and spare batteries.

Cash: It is best to have USD for tips.  We recommend approximately $250 for tips. You will also want to have some spare cash for any extras while you are in Base Camp on the northern side of the mountain. You will also want money for hotel nights, drinks, or souvenirs.  We usually recommend at least $200 spending money. You will need to change USD in to Ruble in Moscow airport before boarding the internal flight to Mineralyne Vody.

Personal Toiletries: Everything you need on a daily basis (contact lenses, glasses, toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine products, etc.).

Small Personal First Aid Kit

This is just a guide of what we recommend you to bring, likewise, you may have other personal items you need to add to your kit.

1). Diamox: – 125mg in the morning and 125mg in the afternoon.

2). Painkillers: Paracetamol, Aspirin, Disprin. Ibuprofen is best.

3). Antibiotics: Two courses as prescribed by your own GP. One for chest and upper respiratory tract infections and one for abdominal, bowel infections.

4). Cough Lozenges.

5). Wound Dressing. One should be sufficient.

6). Triangular Bandage. One should be sufficient.

7). Melolin Dressings. Four 10 cm by 10 cm

8). Band-aid/Plasters. An assortment package of these.

9). Antiseptic Cream. One small tube.

10). Diarrhoea Treatment.

11). Foot Powder. Important for keeping feet in good condition.

12). Anti-inflammatory Tablets. To bring down any inflammation.

13). Antihistamine Tablets.

14). Multi-vitamins. Importantly, to keep your immune system strong and avoid sickness.

What Gear should you bring up the mountain

You have gone through our 6-day acclimatization program in preparation for climbing high on Mount Elbrus. Now you must leave your duffel bag at the hotel and carry all needed items up on the mountain yourself. You will need clothing and equipment that will last 3 or maybe 4 nights.

On the morning of departure

On the morning of departure, you jump into the vehicle with your backpack and all gear needed on the mountain. You will drive 10 minutes up the road to the Gondola. You will be given your Ski Pass for going up and down on the Gondola. Make sure you hold onto this pass so you can get back down again.

Once you arrive at the top station, you will get out and walk the 10 minutes with your backpack to the huts where you will be staying. You can leave items (clothes, sleeping bag, toiletries etc…. in your room while acclimatizing and going for the summit and because you are going up in the Gondola can will be able to bring some additional items that can be left in your room. There are 4 beds per room, bunk bed style and they are tight quarters to be living in.

Here is what we would bring with us higher on Mount Elbrus

First, you need to make sure you have the right backpack. We recommend the Deuter ACT lite 50+10 liter backpack. This backpack has the best back support we have experienced in a backpack. In order to fit all these items in your bag, you do need to have a 50+liter backpack. You need to bring your sleeping bag and a small Thermarest pillow. Some rooms do have pillows but not guaranteed.

Mountaineering Equipment you need to bring

You need proper mountaineering double boots, crampons, ice axe, Harness, 2 slings, 2 screw gate carabiners one for use on the fixed lines, the other for when you are roped together with team members. You can pack a climbing Helmet but this is optional.

Chat With the Experts

This is what you should you be packing for your Mount Elbrus Expedition. We are your best resource for getting the right gear for your Elbrus Expedition and will be available to you 5 days a week to assist you. If you want to have the best experience on Mount Elbrus, then GET IN TOUCH today. Please feel free to contact us anytime to set up a time to discuss your gear and training.

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Summit Night on Mount Elbrus
Training Advice for Your Ascent of Mount Elbrus