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Elbrus Climb

Most climbs in Elbrus area (Prielbrysie) are accessed from main Baksan valley or its side valleys. Baksan mountaineering camp (1800m) lies centrally in the main valley. Terskol in the end of upper Baksan is base for Elbrus. There are several hotels close to Terskol and the approach to Elbrus is aided by ski lifts. There are also huts high on the mountain. Side valleys of Dongusorun, Yusogi, Adyl-Su and Adyr-Su offer approach to most of the climbs. Adyl-Su valley leads to popular Shkhelda and Ushba and there are alpine camps Adyl-Su (1800m), Shkhelda (2000m), Elbrus (2050m) and Jantugan (2120m) in the valley. Ullu-Tau is propably the best known mountain accessed from Adyr-Su valley, in which alpine camps of Jailik (2300m) and Ullu-Tau (2350m) are located.

Elbrus 5642

  • Located at Caucasus, volcanic Elbrus is the highest mountain of Europe.
  • There are two main summits, Elbrus West (5633m) and Elbrus East (5621m), separated by col (5416m).
  • Snow line is around 3400m in August, and weather at base camp can be very warm.
  • First climbed by Akia Sottaev (Reached the summit at the age of 86!) and Douglas Freshfield in 1868.
  • One of the seven summits.

West Peak, Southern route (normal route)

  • Non-technical snow climb via Patuchov rocks and col between West and East summits. Almost crevasse-free. RUS 2A (PD-; 35-40). Starting point Refuge Eleven Hut (also knows as Diesel Hut, 4100m) or Barrels Huts (also known as Botchki, 3900m). Barrels Huts can be reached from Baksan valley by ski lifts. 6-8h from Eleven Hut in ascent, 4-5h in descent.
  • First ascent by D.W. Freshfield, A.W. Moore, C. Tucker, A. Sottajev, D. Datosov & F. Devouassoud in 07/1874.

East Peak, Southern route (normal route)

  • Non-technical snow climb via Patuchov rocks and col between West and East summits. Almost crevasse-free. RUS 2A (PD-). Starting point Refuge Eleven Hut (also knows as Diesel Hut, 4100m) or Barrels Huts (also known as Botchki, 3900m). Barrels Huts can be reached from Baksan valley by ski lifts. 6-8h from Eleven Hut.
  • First ascent by F. Crauford Grove, F. Gardiner, H. Walker, A. Sottajev & P. Knubel in 07/1874.

West Peak, Traverse from Kьkьrtlь Dome

  • From the Alter Rundblick stop on the cableway via southern route to Kьkьrtlь Dome (4912m, 2B) and West Ridge to Elbrus West summit. Camp in a col after the dome (7-10h). RUS 3A.

Ushba 4710

  • Twin pyramids of Ushba is a very difficult and prestigeous mountain. South summit is slightly higher (4710m) than north summit (4696m).
  • There are more than 50 routes up to Ushba, 10 of them are RUS 6A and 13 rated as RUS 5B.
  • Ushba glacier can be reached from Camp Shkhelda (2000m) in Adyl-Su valley over the pass on Shkhelda wall.
  • First ascent of North Peak by J.G.Cockin &Ulrich Almer in 1888 from Gul Glacier via great ice couloir (4A, very serious).
  • First ascent of South Peak by A. Schulze, R. Helbling, F. reichert, O. Schuster & A. Weber in 07/1903 via SW Ridge.

North Peak, NE Ridge (normal route)

  • The easiest route, mainly on snow and ice. RUS 4A (D). 2 days (13-17h) from Camp Shkhelda (2000m) in the Adyl-Su valley via Shkhelda glacier and Ushba pass to bivouac at Ushba Plateau (4000m), from there 6-9h to summit.
  • First Ascent by H. Pfann, L. Distel & G. Leuchs in 08/1903.

North Peak, West Face Direct

  • RUS 5B (SCO V), 1600m.
  • First ascent by M.A. Fowler & A.V. Saunders in 08/1986.

South Peak, SW Ridge "Schulze"

  • From Gul bivouac via Mazeri notch to SW Ridge. RUS 5A.
  • First ascent by A. Schulze, R. Helbling, F. reichert, O. Schuster & A. Weber in 07/1903.

North Peak, NW Face "Kolomitsev's Route"

  • From Ushba glacier on West side (bivouac "Okhotnichi nochiovky"). At first in the couloir leading to col between the summits, then slanting to North Peak. RUS 6A, 1500m.
  • First ascent by V.Kolomitsev in 1982.

South Peak "Kustovskiy's Route"

  • The prestige route of Caucasus on the Pillar of Ushba. From Ushba glacier on West side (bivouac "Okhotnichi nochiovky") to Georgian ledge at the start of the pillar. RUS 6B extra (VI).
  • First ascent by A.Kustovskiy in 1963.
South Peak, Traverse from North Peak
  • RUS 5A. From a bivouac on Ushba glacier.
  • First ascent by H. Pfann, L. Distel & G. leuchs in 08/1903.
Skhelda 4320
  • Shkhelda Wall is a long barrier with several summits: Shkhelda West 1 (4228m), West 2 (4310m), Scientists' Peak, Pik Aristov (4229m), Central Peak (4295m) and East Peak (4320m).
  • Approach to north side climbs is from Camp Shkhelda (200m) in Adyl-Su valley (access from terskol).
Skhelda East Snow Couloir "Garf's Way"
  • From Skheldinskiy glacier via ice/snow couloir to the saddle on East Ridge. From there along the ridge via Rooster Pinnacle to summit. RUS 5A, 1200m.
  • First ascent by B. Garf in 1949.
Skhelda Central Snow Shovel "Martinov's Way"
  • From Skheldinskiy glacier via Col between Central Peak and Pik Aristov (4229m). RUS 5B (VI 5.9/5.10), 1300m.
  • First ascent by V.Martinov in 1955.
Skhelda Central North Face "Subortovich"
  • On the east side of "Snow Showel". RUS 6A (VI 5.11 A2+), 1300m.
  • First ascent by B.Subortovich in 1959.
Traverse from West to East
  • RUS 5B. Normal route to Shkhelda West 2 via West 1 from the north side - traverse over Scientists' Peak, Pik Aristov (4229m), Central Peak (4295m) and East Peak (4320m) and descent on the north side via Rooster Gendarme, Garf's Notch and broad snow couloir down to Shkhelda glacier.
  • First ascent by A.Mazkevitsch, V.Nasarov & P.Sysojev 25.07.-01.08.1940.
Ullu-Tau 4207
  • There are several summits, Ullu-Tau East (4058m), Main (4207m) and West (4203m).
  • Starting point for the routes on northern side is Ullu-Tau Camp (2360m) in Adir-Su valley.
  • 800m high North face between Mestiyskiy Pass in the east and Garvash Pass on the West has several difficult ice and mixed routes that can be climbed year round.
  • First ascent by L. Rolleston in 08/1903 via Garvash Pass.
Main Peak, Zolotarew (normal route)
  • From Mestiyskaya hut on East Ullu-Tau glacier to Mestiyskaya pass and along East Ridge to East Peak. RUS 3A.
  • First ascent by A.Zolotarev in 1938.
Main Peak, N Face "Abalakov"
  • RUS 5B. 800m.
  • First ascent by V.Abalakov in 1951.
West Peak, N Face "Shield"
  • RUS 4B (TD-), 800m. Starting point is Cheget bivouac on Ullu-Tau glacier.
  • First ascend by D. Gudkov, M. Svesdkin, G. Odnobljudov & M. Tschertkov in 08/1946.
West Peak, normal route from north
  • RUS 2B. From the Camp Ullu-tau via Cheget bivouac and Garvash pass to West Ridge. 3-4h from Garvash pass. Avalanche danger.
  • First ascent by T.G. Longstaff & L. Rolleston in 08/1903.

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