Climbing Elbrus is an excellent option for having the first encounter with mountains. This climb is pretty easy and supported with comfortable conditions, and the lack of climbing experience will be compensated with the skills of a professional guide.
You can climb Elbrus from four different sides. However, the Southern route is regarded the easiest among the existing. And for a reason: you don’t have to carry a backpack with food and fuel to the summit camp – you can transfer it via the cableway. You can use also the option of a snowcat ride on the summiting day rather than climbing 2000 m up.
And those who want to diversify and intensify their Elbrus climbing experience can opt for the Elbrus Cross – a South to North traverse with summiting both peaks and two sides of the mountain.
The only thing all these itineraries differ from each other is the summiting day that requires different logistics for every route.
Climbing Elbrus from the North is not the best option for a first climbing experience. According to climbing rules, the summit camp should be set on Lents’ rocks – something that not every newbie climber is really ready for. Whereas seasoned climber can handle this North to South traverse especially if their Elbrus ascent is a training before more difficult climbs like Lenin Peak, Khan-Tengri, Muztag-Ata, Mount Blanc and others.
Elbrus climb from the East is even more challenging: climbers need to carry a several-day camp provision themselves as well as handle the numerous crevasses. This route implies an absolute autonomy for about 10 days – with no refuges and additional mechanical or infrastructural assistance. This assent rarely can be combined with descent by another route due to the difficulty of transferring the camp over and down the summit. The Elbrus Eastern route climb is more like mountain tourism than rock climbing.
Elbrus ascent from the West is only for athletes with experience of 5000+ m climbs who master at least basic skills of rock climbing. This route offers a wide range of mountaineering challenges and is a good training spot for Denali, Matterhorn and Kenya ascents.
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