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Climbing Mt Elbrus from the West side

Ivan, an IFMGA-certified mountain guide, takes you on a 12-day climbing trip to Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus, from the West Side, in complete autonomy.

Mountain RangeCaucasus
Duration12 days
Offer periodMay, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Skill LevelIntermediate
Fitness LevelFit
Type of tripPrivate


Join me for this 12-day adventure in Mount Elbrus (5,642 m). The route from the West side will require us to climb by our own means, and that is without lift, snow cat, hotel and shelter.

We are going to be alone in the mountain! Nevertheless, I can assure you’ll see an entire different side of Elbrus. Rock walls, including the famous rock walls of Kyukyurtlyu,. and stunning ice formations will be part of the reward..

After the descent, we will have the chance to visit Djily-Suu, a small resort which has mineral water springs. We will enjoy warm baths and natural mineral water to drink.

The climbing route goes mainly through the glacier and moraine. We will climb a snow-ice slope to a rock ground on 4,400 m. If the weather is good, you’ll enjoy this place. From there, an inclined slope leads to the summit.

The two-headed ice giant crowns the panorama of the Central Caucasus. It is by at least 1,000 m higher than all its neighbors. A volcano crater, filled now with ice and snow, forms the summit plateaux with a diameter of 150-200 m. All the massif is covered by a gigantic ice cap.

Climbing Mount Elbrus through the West Side route is technically challenging. In fact, it is more difficult than going through the North and South parts of the mountain. Because of this, it’s important that you have a technical preparation.

This means:

  • Being able to walk with crampons in steep slopes,
  • Traversing the glacier using crevasses,
  • Spending nights in tents in altitude.
  • Clients must also have previous experience in altitude ascent and be able to carry heavy weight.

In case we cannot do the traverse from the West to South part (due to bad weather or any another reason), we’ll descend by the ascent route.

For further details, you can find a day-by-day itinerary below this description.

If you want to be a part of this wonderful adventure, please get in touch with me. It will be a pleasure to let you discover my region and bring you on top of this giant mountain!

I work together with a group of guides, so if I’m not available, one of my colleagues will guide you.

I also have some winter programs around Mount Elbrus, like heliski and ski touring.



- DBL accommodation in «Intourist» hotel in Pyatigorsk (2 nights with breakfast); - 1 night in the hotel in Terskol DBL accommodation with breakfast & dinner; - 1 night in the Barrells Refuge full board; - Camp in tents.

Meeting point

Mineralnye Airport



Day 1: Airport - Pyatigorsk

Arrival to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport. 1-hour transfer to Pyatigorsk city.

Accommodation in a hotel. Briefing and check of the equipment.

Day 2: Djilisu base camp (2,500 m)

5-6 hours transfer to Pyatigorsk – Cherkessk – Karachaevsk – Uchkulan – Churzuk.

Setting tents in Djilisu base camp (2,500 m) in the Ullu-Churzuk Valley. Overnight in tents.

Day 3: Acclimatization day - Base camp

Acclimatization ascent to Camp 1 (3,600 m) on the moraine of Bityuk- Tyube glacier. Return to BC, 4 h up, 2 h down.

Day 4: Base camp - Camp 1

Ascent to Camp 1. Setting tents. Overnight there.

Day 5: Acclimatization day - Camp 1

Acclimatization day. Training in fix-rope. Return to Camp 1.

Day 6: Camp 1 - Camp 2

Ascent to Camp 2 (4,200 m). Going 400 m on moraine and then snow-ice slope (3 ropes). Night in the Camp 2.

Day 7: Camp 2- Camp 3

Ascent to Camp 3 (4,600 m). Up on snow-ice slope, 8 ropes, (2 ropes about 70 º), then traverse to the Western plateau. Night in Camp 3.

Day 8: Summit day!

Ascent of Elbrus West (5,642 m) 5-6 h. Descent to the Barrels Refuge (3780 m) 3-4 h. Night in the Barrels Refuge.

Day 9: Extra day

Reserved day in case of bad weather.

Day 10: Terskol village

Descent in cable-lift to Terskol village. Night in the hotel.

Day 11: Pyatigorsk city

Return to Pyatigorsk city. Stay in the hotel.

Day 12: End of the trip

Transfer to the Mineralnye Vody airport. Flight home.

About the guide

guide profile img

I'm an IFMGA-certified guide and have been guiding for the past 15 years.

I got the chance to do beautiful ascents like the Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Mont Cook, McKinley, 7000m Peaks in ex-USSR, technical climbing In the Caucasus, new climbing routes in the USA, ski-touring in Alps, Russia etc.

I'm an expert in the Elbrus region. I know every corner of it and will be happy to guide you to the summit, at 5.642m high, skiing or walking.
Please get in touch with me and let's leave together for a wonderful adventure in the incredible Caucasus mountain range!

I work together with a group of guides, so if I'm not available, one of my colleagues will guide you!

My favorite saying: "We will either find a way, or make one".

What people are saying about Ivan Moshnikov