Elbrus climbing programm.
Elbrus peak (5642 m) (map).
Almost 1,000 meters taller than the other surrounding mountains, Mt. Elbrus dominates the countryside of the Central Caucasus like a two-headed icy giant. In fact it has two peaks that correspond to two different volcano vents: the western peak (Zapadnaya) is the tallest and probably the oldest one, while the eastern peak (Vostochnaya), 5,621 meters high, still has a gigantic crater 250 meters in diameter with traces of relatively recent volcanic activity. The entire mountain is covered by an immense sheet of ice that takes up 145 square kilometres and in some zones is 400 meters thick. From the col that divides the two peaks the white slopes of the mountain descend gently, splitting up into tongues of ice and crevasses lying in the many striking valleys that radiate from the mountain. On the western slope is a tower, Kiukiurtliu, which has vertical monolithic faces on its southern and western sides with 5-and 6-rated routes. The altitude, rarefied air, variable weather, frequent violent storms and low temperature have for centuries discouraged man from attempting to reach the summit of this mountain.
Normal route to climb Elbrus.
The ascent of Mt. Elbrus by the normal route, which is the most popular in the Caucasus, is a splendid, long, high-altitude climb over a moderate incline that requires good acclimatisation but has no technical difficulties. However, despite the apparent simplicity of this route, it can be dangerous. The history of Mt. Elbrus is marked by the tragic death of many teams that either got lost during the descent or were caught in bad weather at a high altitude.
The weather, in fact, can change without any warning, and it is easy to lose track of the route, which is at a safe distance from the many deep crevasses.
The route starts off from the Azau plateau, where two telpherages and one chair lift take you to the Kara-Bashi refuge at 3,900 meters above sea level.
The route winds through the rocks of Pastukhov (4,800 m) , which can easily be seen from the refuge, and goes up towards the Col (5,200 m), which is reached after a long course that is laborious because of the high
altitude. Here, where there are the ruins of a building, the trails branch off to the two peaks. The slope is steeper here and the snow is icy, and those who have bothered to take along crampons and an ice axe up to this point will be well rewarded by feeling much safer during the last 200 meters of this climb. The average time is from eight to ten hours for the ascent and about four hours for the descent. Crampons
and ski poles arc necessary for this climb. In autumn, winter and spring the face between the Pastukhov rocks and the col is covered with ice.
It's rather easy to come up on Elbrus in the end of spring and begining of summer, making a direction of ski-tour with some angle to endless snow slope not in a harry before dawn . Better to take the first rest to stay and breath near to Pastukhov rocks (4800 m), watching on the further route like on the palm. Further is the saddle , it takes 3-4 hours more to get to. Slanting travers before it from under Elbrus East Dome is the most strained place , when it seems to you that with each your step toward it, it makes step back and keep the distance fixed and it won't get finished any more. Oh, here is the saddle (5200 m) where there is a ruins of hut in upper part. 100 meters up the rout turns to the left coming along rock crest to the Western Elbrus and to the righr to Easten peak . The altitude is the only problem you could have, but then you have a breathtaking ski decsent even down to "Refuge 11", which looks like space aiecraft is cooped up in 30 minutes walk from the end of telepherages.
In the sun rising rays you see amasing your soul panorama of Great Caucasus from the east with five thousand giants of Bezengi region, to the west, which direction Elbrus shadow falls districtly shaped in space, forming a "Cone of the Darkness" which covered two most popular region of Western Caucasus.
Elbrus is a well known massif all over the world, but even now it hides the unique places, keeps it in secret and surprise to reward you for brave and amazing you with not traditional for Elbrus rock tower grandeur. Mt. Kiukiurtliu (4639 m) is a part of Elbrus group to the west presents you with kilometre vertical rock wall of South face, shining in gold during sunset. It is a summit that I make descent on by ski from the West peak of Elbrus, looking for a good place for base-jump from one of its top cornices - it's my crazy dream. It is a pity that strong wind blows front of my and rock faces and prevents my idea comes true, as I didn't want to be smashed over stones.
First expeditions with climbing to Elbrus from the North side.