Ski tours on Central Caucasus and ski ascent of Elbrus

Winter high in the Caucasus

CET Neva agency offers to take part in mountain ski travels in Elbrus Region of the Central Caucasus (click on the map to enlarge). The region spreads over the Baksan river valley and valleys of its tributaries. At the upper reaches of the river, double-headed extinct volcano Mt. Elbrus, the Europe tallest mountain (5642 and 5621 m), towers in the North and two standing in the Main Caucasian Ridge 4-thousanders, Donguz-Orun (4454 m) and Nakra-Tau (4225 m), rises in the South. Downstream, 13 km from the upper end of the valley, Baksan accepts Adyl-su, right tributary, flowing down from the Main Ridge and still farther, at 12 km from that confluence – another right tributary, Adyr-su. All these compose area of our ski tour routes.

Two tour programs are presented below. The 8-day one offers ascent of Elbrus after a high altitude adaptation on Mt. Cheget, local ski center, and on Elbrus slopes. Elbrus summiting by ski and following 25 km descending with 2500 m level difference are main attraction of the program. The 11-day program includes besides travels in the lateral valleys Adyl-su and Adyr-su. The diary by Aitor González Pérez, one of our client in 2004, is an account (bilingual – Spanish/English) of the latter.

In the course of the tours the participants are accommodated in comfotable hotels in Terskol village at the upper reaches of the Baksan valley and in mountain huts. Participation in ski tours implies an experience in use of special equipment for ski touring, randonneé equipment. It includes light skis of special profile, bindings with possibility to fix/unfix the heel, boots allowing the ankle-joint to be flexible. Randonneé skis allow for your heel to be free for climbing and fixed for downhill. They are the best type skis for those who normally ski alpine style. Also skins are necessary to allow for traction while climbing.

Program of the 8-day tour

Day 1
Arrival to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport. 4-hour bus transfer to Terskol village in the Baksan valley (about 2100 m above the sea). Accomodation in a hotel for two nights.
Day 2
Skiing on Mt. Cheget slopes (upper station at 2910 m), climbing by ski is desirable for training but chair ski lifts are available as well. Shopping in the local "Woollens market". Night in the hotel.
Day 3
10-min bus transfer up to the Azau glade (2300 m) and then lifting up to Gara-bashi station (3720 m) at upper end of the Elbrus aerial cableway (two spans – cabin lift, 3rd, upper span – chair lift). Accomodation in "Barrels" hotel at the station or in other mountain huts in the vicinity of former Priyut of the 11 ("Shelter of the Eleven", 4020 m) destroyed by fire in 1998. A ski touring up to altitudes of 4200-4300 m.
Day 4
Climbing by ski up to Pastukhov rocks (4650 m, about 3 hours) and possibly higher, up to 5000 m, and then downhill back.
Day 5
Ski ascent of West (5642 m) or East (5621 m) summits of Elbrus, return back, down to the night lodging (totally about 10-12 hours).
Day 6
Descent to Azau by the cable lift and further, down to Terskol. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 7
Reserve day. A ski touring into the Adyl-su valley can be organized by members' request.
Day 8
Bus transfer to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport, flight home.

Price per person for guided groups

number of participants
4
5-6
7-8
9-10
price per person, €
635
575
535
495

Program of the 11-day tour

Day 1
Arrival to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport. 4.5-hour bus transfer to mountain camp Ullu-tau (2360 m above the sea) in the Adyr-su valley. Accomodation in the camp.
Day 2
Ski climbing to Chot-chat pass (4-5 h.), 1-hour ascent of Peak Chot-chat (3780 m), downhill to the Ullu-tau camp.
Day 3
Ski climbing to Garvash pass (3710 m) and ascent of Peak Latsga (3995 m) (4-5 h. totally), downhill to the Ullu-tau camp (2 h.).
Day 4
6-hour ski climbing to Mestia pass (3860m) and ascent of Peak Mestia-Tau (4230m). Skiing down to the Ullu-tau camp (2.5 hours).
Day 5
Ski climbing to Koiavgan pass (3500 m) (4-5 h.) and downhill (1.5-2 h.) to the Ullu-tau camp.
Day 6
Ascent to and passage through Gumachy col (3540 m) by ski (5-6 h.) and skiing down into Adyl-su valley (2-2.5 h.). Bus transfer to Terskol village (about 2100 m above the sea). Accommodation and overnight in hotel.
Day 7
Bus transfer to Azau, lower station of the Elbrus aerial cableway. Lifting up to Gara-bashi station (3720 m) at upper end of the cableway. Accomodation in "Barrels" hotel at the station. Climbing by ski up to Pastukhov rocks (4650 m, about 3 hours) and possibly higher, up to 5000 m, and then downhill back.
Day 8
Ski ascent of West (5642 m) or East (5621 m) summits of Elbrus, return back, down to the night lodging (totally about 10-12 hours).
Day 9
Descent to Azau by the cable lift and further, down to Terskol. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 10
Reserve day.
Day 11
Bus transfer to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport, flight home.

Price per person for guided groups

number of participants
4
5-6
7-8
9-10
price per person, €
735
655
595
555

Period – December to May.

The programs can be varied depending on the weather and slope condition.

Reaching tops of the peaks is dependent on slope condition and not always can be realized.

The price includes:
invitation;
lodging in hotels according to the programs;
lodging in "Barrels" hotel or in mountain huts according to the programs;
full board during stay in the Elbrus region;
all transfers in the Elbus region according to the programs;
CET Neva guide-organizer;
Elbrus and Cheget cable lifts;
necessary permits and registration;
administrative fees in Kabardino-Balkaria.

The price does not include:
insurance;
internal regular flights to Min. Vody airport and back (€150 to €210);
luggage air transportation;
unexpected premature evacuation;
cost of Russian visa;
porters;
use of "snowcats";
rent of mountaineering equipment;
drinks and personal expenses;
extra pay due to change of the appointed departure time.

Necessary personal equipment:
ski tour equipment (skies, self-adhesive skins, ski crampons, bipper, double plastic boots, ski poles);
sleeping bag;
headlamp;
warm clothing for high altitude climbing;
crampons;
ice axe;
harness;
karabiners (2-3 per person);
jumar (ascender);
shovel (2-3 per group).

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