Ski Touring and Elbrus

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Caucasus Ski Touring and Elbrus

Programme Information

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Dates ex UK
For prices see Trip Summary | Dossier
Grade: Black run + touring experience 
EWP have for several years designed trips specifically for High Magazine readers. This trip combines some excellent ski-touring with the possibility of an ascent of the highest summit in Europe - Elbrus. In winter the valleys, passes and mountains of the Caucasus offer exceptionally fine ski-touring in virtually undeveloped surroundings. The snow conditions are generally superb in spring and the mountains beautiful and unspoilt.We will fly from London, via Moscow, to Mineralny Vody in the northern Caucasus. A four hour drive takes us to the New Jailyk Hotel located at 2350m in the remote upper sections of the Adyrsu Valley, an outstanding location, for seven days of skiing in the area. We will start touring almost from the hotel door generally following glaciers to passes and summits ranging from 3572m to 4230m. The last touring day will involve crossing the Gumachi Pass (3582m) and descending into the Adylsu Valley where transport will be waiting to transfer us to the Baksan Valley for two nights in a comfortable hotel. The energetic could fit it another tour with the help of the Cheget ski lift system, otherwise this can be a rest day.

Approaching Mestia Tau 

The next day we use the Elbrus cable car and chairlift system to transfer to the Garabashi huts at 3850m. on the south slopes of the mountain. This will be our base for three nights from which we will attempt the west summit of Elbrus (5642m) - the highest summit in Russia and Europe. We will use a snow cat for part of the ascent then ski up as far as possible. Crampons and ice axes may be required on the upper slopes which are easy angled but often icy.

Outline itinerary
The following itinerary is intended as a working guide only and it is subject to variation as a result of local conditions, weather and governmental restrictions. We reserve the right to alter (lengthen or shorten) the trip at any time if necessary. Airline schedules are subject to change, both international and domestic, and it may be necessary to vary our itinerary to adapt to these changes.

Day 1 Early morning flight from Moscow to Mineralny Vody. Private bus transfer to our base hotel in Baksan Valley. The overnight flight from London connects with the Mineralny Vody flight, others may consider staying overnight in Moscow with an optional city tour.
Day 2-7 Ski-touring based at the hotel.
Day 8 Ski-tour to the Gumachi Pass (3582m), 5-6 hours. Descent via Jankuat Glacier to the Adylsu valley. Drive by bus to Terskol (Baksan valley). Hotel in Terskol (2000m). Luggage will be delivered by car from New Jailik hotel to the hotel in Terskol.
Day 9 Rest day. The more energetic may wish to ascent Cheget Karabashi 3400m or ski using the Cheget chairlift system.
Day 10 Use the Elbrus lift system to reach Garabashi Huts (3800m).
Day 11 / 12 are two days available for the ascent of Elbrus or for skiing using the chairlift and cable car system.
A snowcat will assist for the first 500m of the ascent.
Day 13 Drive to Mineralnye Vody. Fly to Moscow and transfer to airport.

Grade, qualifications and staff
The skiing is demanding and familiarity with ski-touring essential. For the ascent of Elbrus crampons will be required and experience in their use would be very useful. The chief guide will be a leading member of the local rescue services, an expert skier and accomplished mountaineer who speaks fluent English. He will be assisted by a second Russian ski-guide and an EWP guide from the UK.

Good clothing and mountain equipment are essential for a safe and enjoyable trip, a full list is available on request.

While Skiing
Your leader will hold a briefing prior to departure to go through the itinerary and to check any other relevant matter such as equipment. If necessary ropes will be available and guides will ask you to put them on when crossing dangerous terrain, should you feel a need for the security of a rope at other times you must ask the guide to provide it. The weather on Mount Elbrus can deteriorate rapidly and storms can be very violent. If the guide recommends turning back please accept his judgement. Skiing accidents in remote regions have very serious implications. Emergencies in the hills are usually dealt with efficiently, but medical facilities are not up to Western European standards. In the interests of the safety and well-being of the group the leader's decisions will be final. If for some unforeseen problem you have to curtail your trip you will be accompanied back to the base hotel or nearest and most appropriate airport. No refund can be made on a trip cut short in this way. In this case and if you leave the group on your own volition you will have to meet the extra costs incurred.

Included: all flights, airport transfers, guides, food, accommodation, local fees, Moscow city tour.
Not included: Visa costs, insurance.
Flights: Scheduled BA flights from Heathrow; flights are also are available from Manchester with a surcharge of £40. Flight time: 3 hours 15 mins. (GMT+2)

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