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Pro Guiding Service
Domestic & International Trips & Courses with Certified Mountain Guides
Trip

Mount Elbrus Ski Summit

Overview

What better way to experience the highest peak in Europe than on skis? After exploring Moscow you will travel to the the Caucasus' Baksan valley for 3 days of acclimatization ski tours to spectacular mountain passes. You will then travel to Elbrus for another day of ski touring on the mountain before making your summit bid.

On this 11 day trip we take care of all of the logistics, hotels, and local transportation so you can enjoy the scenery, the skiing, the climb, the culture, and the adventure! Your guides will be Pro Guiding Service founder, owner, and IFMGA guide Martin Volken along with an english speaking Russian guide.

$4,900 Per Person
11 Days
Difficulty
Ratio:
2:1

Trip Information

$4,900
Price based on 4-5 skiers. Please contact us directly for pricing for private trips and pricing for less than 4 climbers. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com

Upon landing in Moscow you will be greeted at the airport and driven to your hotel by the English-speaking Russian guide who will be with you for the duration of your time in Moscow.  When you arrive at your hotel you will also meet your Pro Guiding Service guide who will be with you for the entirety of your trip. On day 2 you will travel around Moscow to see many famous, historical and impressive sights. The morning of the third day you will travel to the Baksan valley in the Caucasus for 3 days of ski touring to spectacular mountain passes before moving to a lodge in the village at the base of Mount Elbrus.  Day 7 you will take a chairlift to basecamp, and day 8 is your final acclimatization ski tour.  Now summit day has finally arrived!  You will ride on a snow cat to Pastukhov rocks then ascend on your skis the final 842m/2,800ft to the highest point in Europe!

If you are considering joining us on this adventure, please let us know by mid-January. While we have created a streamlined and easy process for you to apply for a Russian visa, it may take up to 45 days for the Russian embassy to process the paperwork.

Duration: 11
Ratio: 2:1
Difficulty Level:
Click here to learn more about difficulty ratings.
  • Overall Difficulty Level: Moderate Mountaineering
  • Skills Required: Moderate Mountaineering; Low Ski Touring
  • Fitness Level: Extremely Strenuous Mountaineering; Strenuous ski touring

Private Trips Available

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest.
Learn MoreView Dates & Availability

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Moscow

Welcome to Russia! You will be greeted at the airport by an English speaking Russian guide who will transfer you to your hotel, giving you a mini-tour as you drive into Moscow. This guide will be with your for the duration of your time in Moscow. The goal today is to get you to your hotel as quickly as possible so you can get a good nights sleep & prepare to see majestic Moscow tomorrow! Today you will also meet with your Pro Guiding Service guide guide who will be with you for the entirity of your 11-day trip.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Moscow

Today you’ll experience the must-sees for anyone traveling to Russia: Red Square, the Kremlin, and of course the famous St. Basil’s cathedral and its onion domes. Standing in the middle of Red Square, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the weight of both history and modernity surrounding you: the Kremlin walls, Lenin’s Tomb, Gum Mall. You will have a guided tour inside the world-renowned Kremlin, seeing the Armory and its fascinating collection of national treasures. After lunch, your guide will take you through Moscow’s world-famous metro system, which is a like museum in and of itself. Finally your tour will take you to the New Maiden Convent and a view of the city from Sparrow Hills.

Day 3: Arrival to the North Caucasus

After flying into the Mineralnye Vody airport (MRV) you can settle in for the scenic, 3-hr. drive through the Baksan valley, home of Mt. Elbrus. Along the way your guide will brief you on the history of the Balkar people among whom you will be spending the next week. Your final destination today is the Adir-su gorge. To enter the gorge you’ll need to take a vehicle elevator (not many can say they’ve done that before!). Don’t blink, because you will rise 7,000 feet above sea level during this 3-hour drive without even noticing! In this awe-inspiring Check into your lodgings and enjoy some free time to explore the area and take in the views around you. Today you say farewell to your Moscow tour guide and meet with your English-speaking Russian ski guide who will go over the plan for the next 8 days and for a successful Elbrus ascent!

Day 4: Acclimatization Ski Tour

After breakfast you’ll start with some very important mountain and avalanche safety training including the use of your avalanche rescue equipment. Following training will be your first acclimatization ski tour to the Mestia Pass (3,500m/11,480ft). Before turning in tonight, your guide will check your equipment to determine what (if anything) needs to be rented to complete your Elbrus summit.

Day 5: Acclimatization Ski Tour

Today you’ll explore a new route on skis to Koiavganaush Pass (3,500m/11,480'). If you can pronounce the name of this pass by the time you return to the lodge it’ll be a great accomplishment! You’ll be back to the lodge around lunch time in order to avoid being on the mountain when the risk of avalanches is the highest.

Day 6: Acclimatization Ski Tour / Transfer to Elbrus

This morning you’ll ascend to one more pass on your final day in the Adir-su gorge - Gumachi Pass (3,575m/11,730'). After lunch, you’ll be driven to Mount Elbrus at the head of the Baksan valley and check into your hotel where you’ll stay for one night.

Day 7: Move to Base Camp

After breakfast, you’ll check some of your personal items into storage before you ascend to basecamp at 3,800m/12,470ft where you will stay for the next 4 nights. We will take the famous cable car system up three levels to the climbers’ base camp. As riveting as you’ll find Elbrus itself, the surrounding Caucasus range is maybe even more so, stretching into Georgia and all the way to the Black and Caspian Seas. Your body will continue to adjust today, as the elevation has doubled, not to mention the significantly colder weather (there is snow here at base camp year-round). Your mountain guide will daily be walking you through practical precautions for summiting Elbrus safely and successfully. Your private cook on Elbrus will make sure you are getting the nourishment your body needs.

Day 8: Acclimatization Ski Tour

During your second day on the mountain you will get a good feel for the ascent route as you do a 4-5 hour acclimatization ski tour up to the Pastukhov Rocks, around 4,800m/16,500'. After dinner you’ll have a final debriefing before the summit push in the morning. Your guide will also introduce any additional guides that will accompany you to the summit (summit day guide to climber ratio is 3:1).

Day 9: Summit Day

It’s Summit Day! You have an 8-12 hour ascent ahead of you, so you will start your climb in the dark between 2 and 3 AM. Teamwork is a beautiful thing as you work together with your group up the mountain. The early morning hours of your climb is quite the sight with a long line of climbers ascending Elbrus, lit up by a highway of head lamps. You may never have experienced quite the sunrise as you do on your ascent, as you leave the rest of the Caucasus range behind on the way to Elbrus’s gentle summit. Your climb won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination, with altitude sickness, extremely cold temperatures, and unpredictable weather all real possibilities, but it will all be worth it when you reach the top. Once you have a quick celebration of your success, you will begin your thrilling ski descent of almost 2km/6,000ft vertical descent back to basecamp. Dinner never tasted better than it does on this night.

Day 10: Weather Contingency Day or Rest Day

Rest day! You’ve earned it. Sleep in as long as you want. Today you will want to peruse the charming local souvenir markets full of tempting local goods, including Caucasus Papakha hats, beautiful hand-knit slippers, shawls, and tasty local jams. Or, if you’re up for it, go on a local horseback excursion, see a beautiful waterfall, or explore a Soviet-era abandoned titanium mine. Enjoy reliving and retelling your Elbrus ascent with your fellow climbers and guides at your celebration dinner on this night. In case there was inclement weather on Day 9 (yesterday’s planned ascent), today will be your summit day up Elbrus.

Day 11: Departure

Pack your bags and say goodbye for now to the North Caucasus, a place we hope you will come back to for another adventure very soon. Fly out of the local Mineralnye Vody airport (MRV), through Moscow, and back to wherever you call home.

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
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Pricing

$4,900
per person
Price based on 4-5 skiers. Please contact us directly for pricing for private trips and pricing for less than 4 climbers. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com
View Dates & Availability
What's Included In the Trip Price
  • All ground transportation including pick-up from SVO airport in Moscow on day 1 and drop-off at MRV airport in Mineral Waters on day 11.
  • One-way flight from Moscow to Mineralnye Vody on day 3.
  • Full board - All meals are included, excluding lunches and dinners while in Moscow
  • Unlimited coffee and tea days after arriving in Mineralnye Vody.
  • Unlimited bottled water after arriving in Mineralnye Vody. Please budget $3-5 per day for bottled water while in Moscow.
  • All accommodations including hotels in Moscow, Mineralnye Vody, and at the base of Elbrus, and barrel huts at base camp. Double occupancy in all hotels. 4-star accommodations in Moscow, 3-star accommodations in the Caucasus.
  • Tickets for chair lifts
  • Rental of group climbing equipment
  • Professional, English-speaking Mountain Guide for the duration of the trip
  • 1 summit attempt
  • Additional Mountain Guide on summit day (1 guide per 3 climbers max)
  • Snow cat on summit day
  • Safety precautions - registration with Russian emergency services, walkie-talkie system, group first aid kit
  • Entrance fees to National Park
  • All Excursions and Museum Entrance Fees in Moscow
  • Extensive pre-trip planning, customization, and customer service
What's Not Included
  • International airfare
  • Flight from Mineral Waters back to Moscow
  • Any accommodation or transportation after the trip ends on the 11th day (please see FAQs for more info)
  • Russian tourist visa ($325)
  • Rental of personal climbing gear
  • Booking of higher level accommodations
  • Additional services requested at hotel (spa, etc)
  • Any change to the program that requires extra expense
  • Additional beverages at meals (alcohol and non-alcoholic)
  • Trip Insurance: we strongly encourage you to purchase trip insurance! We cannot provide refunds or credits outside of our payment and cancellation policy.
Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 30 days away or an international trip that is over 60 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 30 or more days before domestic trips or 60 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 30 days of the start of domestic trips or 60 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Clothing
Base Layer

• 1 long underwear bottom - midweight or lightweight
• Soft Shell pants - fully synthetic climbing, hiking or ski pant (ex: Outdoor Research cirque)
• Gore-tex Waterproof Pants - Full side-zip is ideal, 3/4 side-zip minimum (so you can get them on/off without taking off
your boots or crampons)
• Non-Cotton Underwear

Mid Layer

• 2 light to midweight baselayer tops - synthetic or wool - (ex: 1 sun hoody with 1 wool baselayer; 1 synthetic T-shirt with 1 long-sleeve base layer, etc)
• 1 lightweight insulating layer (ex: OR Deviator Hoody or a light fleece)
• 1 midweight insulating layer (ex: OR Ascendant Jacket or OR Refuge Jacket)
• 1 Windshirt or Soft Shell jacket (ex: Outdoor Research Ferrosi)
• Gore-tex Waterproof Jacket
• Hooded Down Parka - suitable for weather well below freeing

Outerwear

• Heavy weight or expedition weight socks
• Warm Hat - should cover ears
• Balacalava
• Buff
• Sun Hat - baseball type or visor
• Lightweight Gloves - wind block or fleece/wool (ex: ORStormtracker)
• Midweight Gloves (ex: OR Alti Gloves)
• Expedition Mittens or very heavy-weight gloves (ex: OR Alti Mitts)
• Gaiters - full size - make sure they fit over your ski boots

Personal Gear
  • Backpack for summit day and day ski tours - 25-30 liters
  • Sleeping Bag - for below-freezing temperatures down to -10C / +15F
  • Compression sack for sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended w/ extra batteries
  • Water Bottles - 3 liters total capacity, wide mouth (narrow mouth bottles and water bladders will freeze)
  • Water Bottle Insulators (ex: OR Water Bottle Parka #1) or insulated water bottles (Hydroflask)
  • Small Pocket Knife
  • Glacier Glasses or full-wrap poloraized sunglasses
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+
  • Lighter or Matches
  • Ski Goggles
  • Shoes for hiking
  • Personal Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper when on the mountain, hand sanitizer and ear plugs for sound sleep
  • Small Personal 1st Aid Kit - keep it simple (guide carries large group 1st aid kit): blister repair materials, OTC pain killers (i.e. ibuprofen), prescription medications
Technical Gear
  • Skis with touring bindings - tech bindings highly recommended, frame bindings discouraged
  • Ski Boots - touring boots required. Even if you have frame bindings, you cannot use alpine ski boots.
  • Ski Crampons - ensure they are compatible with your ski bindings and your ski width
  • Climbing skins for your skis - ensure they fit properly and are in good condition
  • 1-2 ski straps (ex: voile)
  • Boot Crampons - ensure they are compatible with your ski boots
  • Adjustable Ski Poles
  • Ice Axe - 45-70 cm length - lightweight
  • Helmet - Ski mountaineering helmet recommended, climbing helmet acceptable. Standard ski helmets are not acceptable (heavy and too warm to climb in).
  • Climbing Harness - mountaineering style recommended (e.g. B.D. Alpine Bod)
  • 3 Locking Carabiners
  • 1 Single Length Dyneema or Nylon Runner (60cm/24in)
  • 1 Double Length Dyneema or Nylon Runner (120cm/48in)
Optional Items
  • Casual clothes for sightseeing and meals in retaurants
  • Appropriate luggage for transporting everything and for storing items in town while on the mountain
  • Talk to your doctor about obtaining medications to treat possible altitude problems:
    • Antibiotics
    • Acetazolamide 125mg tablets
    • Dexamethasone 4mg tablets
  • Russia does not require immunizations, however we recommend Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Tetanus/Diphtheria

PGS Supplied

• Casual clothes for sightseeing and meals in retaurants
• Appropriate luggage for transporting everything and for storing items in town while on the mountain
• Talk to your doctor about obtaining medications to treat possible altitude problems:
Antibiotics
Acetazolamide 125mg tablets
Dexamethasone 4mg tablets
• Russia does not require immunizations, however we recommend Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Tetanus/Diphtheria

Equipment Sales & Rental

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FAQs

What airport should I fly into?

There are three major international airports within 50 miles of each other around Moscow. You should purchase a ticket that takes you to Sheremetyevo (SVO). This is the most common airport for flights from the US. If you land at SVO, your transportation to your hotel from the airport is included in your trip. If you arrive at one of the other nearby airports you will need to arrange your own transportation to the hotel.

When should I fly in/out of Moscow?

When shopping for a plane ticket to Moscow, be sure to select a flight that ARRIVES at SVO on the first day of the trip. Departure days/times from the US may vary widely due to transfers and layovers. If you buy a round-trip ticket to Moscow, you will also need to purchase a flight from Mineralnye Vody back to Moscow. Your one-way flight from Moscow to Mineralnye Vody on the 3rd day of your trip is included in the trip price.

You will be driven to the Mineral Waters airport on the last day of your tour (Day 11). It is about 3.5 hours from the base of Elbrus to the airport, and you can expect to arrive at the airport around 10:30 or 11am. Therefore the earliest you could fly out of MRV will be 12:30pm. However, with flight schedules as they are, most people usually don't fly out until the evening. Most international flights out of Moscow to the US (direct or through Europe) depart before lunch or early evening, so most people will need to spend the night in Moscow. We do not include the return flight to Moscow from Mineral Waters because people often have their own post-trip travel plans. If you would like us to arrange your return flight to Moscow, overnight accommodations in Moscow, and/or transportation to/from the airport from your hotel in Moscow post-trip, please let us know. We are happy to help arrange these logistics and add them to the price of your trip.

Should I tip my guides?

Please note that while tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend 10-15% of your course or trip cost, or a flat amount that you feel comfortable with.

Why Book With Us? 

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All of our guides have the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate.
Safe, Well-Planned Tour Design
Every tour has a carefully thought-out guide-to-customer ratio. You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us.
Pioneers In The Industry
You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on skills and routes in the industry. 
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