Elbrus traverse from South to North with ski or snowboard descent


Elbrus Ski&Snowboard Traverse from South to North (10 days)

A ski or snowboard descent on the North side is for sure one of the most memorable adventures that you can do on Elbrus. It gives you a good impression of the beauty and wilderness of the Caucasus and you can feel the majesty of Elbrus as its highest peak.

On the South-North traverse we will ascend via the normal route from the South, which offers accomodation in comfortable hotels and basic mountaineering camps. It is possible to use lifts up to the camp and a snow cat to get to Pastukhov Rocks (4600 m) on summit day. On the North side, there is almost no touristic infrastructure, even in May most of the camps, except at base camp, are still closed and the road back to the next town can be difficult to pass. This is why you should have a little more time for this climb than for the classical skitour from the South.

Best time: May - June, depending on snow conditions.

Dates 2020:



from EUR 1200

See our equipment list for this program.

1Travel to Mineralnye Vody and AzauAfter your arrival in Mineralnye Vody, we will meet you at the airport and transfer you to Azau. The ride takes approximately 3-4 hours. You will stay overnight in our hotel in the valley at 2400 m.
2Acclimatization tour to 3600 mToday we will make our first acclimatization ski tour on the slopes of Mt. Elbrus. Depending on snow conditions, we may start from the hotel (2400 m), or from one of the gondola stations (3000 m or 3500 m), which we reach by lifts. We will tour up on skis or snow-shoes with our snowboards on our backpack to an altitude of approximately 3600 m. In good weather, the summit looks unbelievably close, but from where we stop it is still more than 2000 vertical meters up to the top! For the ride or hike down we have several options, either the piste, which leads us right back to our hotel, or the wide and gentle snow fields of Garabashi glacier, leading us down via a popular freeride route. You will stay overnight in the hotel (2400 m) again.
3Acclimatization tour to 4200 mAfter breakfast, we leave our hotel for a few days and take a lift ride up to 3600 m. Here is our small, comfortable mountaineering camp. After having had some lunch, we will skin up to Prijut-11 hut (Diesel hut) at 4100 m and come back skiing. Overnight in the camp.
4Acclimatization tour to Pastukhov Rocks 4600 mAfter breakfast, we will skin up to Pastukhov Rocks (4600 m). Even in summer we will probably find some nice powder for our ride back to the camp. Overnight at the camp at 3700 m again.
5Rest dayToday we will provide you some technical training: use of crampons, ice-axe, self-arrest, rope techniques. In the afternoon you will have time to relax, which will give you power for an extra push on summit day, or do a freeride descent on the wide glaciers near our camp. We will have an early dinner, as we will have to get up early for the summit. Overnight at the camp at 3700 m.
6Summit day and descent to the North sideOn a normal summit day, we will have breakfast at 1 a.m. and leave at 2 a.m. It is possible to take the snowcat up to Pastukhov Rocks which makes the ascent 3-4 hours shorter (1000 vertical meters). This is an extra service, which can be booked in advance or on spot. Time from the camp to the West summit of Mt. Elbrus (5642 m) is normally 10-12 hours (1959 vertical meters from the camp, 1150 vertical meters from Pastukhov Rocks). Time to the West summit of Mt. Elbrus (5642 m) is normally 8-10 hours. The descent to the high camp on the North side on skis or snowboard takes another 1-2 hours. Overnight at the camp at 3700 m.
7Reserve day or descent to DhzylysuThis day may serve us as a reserve day, in case we could not climb the summit due to bad weather yesterday. If we follow the normal schedule, we will descend to the mineral springs at Dzhylysu, where we can take a bath and drink some of the natural sparkling volcanic water. Overnight in tents or simple huts in camp at 2600 m.
8Drive to PyatigorskAround noon, our driver will pick us up at the end of the road near the mineral water springs and bring us to our hotel in Pyatigorsk, where we will stay overnight in our hotel.
9Sightseeing in PyatigorskAfter breakfast, we have the whole day for exploring this charming small spa town. In the historical center, near our hotel, you find lots of little old houses from zar times. There is a big Lenin statue right near the hotel as well. And a visit to an old monastery near Mt. Beshtau gives you great insides into orthodox philosophy. All in all, here you can see Russia cross the centuries, and you feel like walking in a museum. There a lots of nice little cafes and restaurants where you can chill-out in the evening.
10Departure to Mineralnye VodyIn the morning, our driver will bring you to the airport in Mineralnye Vody for your flight back home.
11 December 2019