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Why take this trip

Test your resolve on the picturesque Caucasian mountain range and tackle both Mt. Kazbek (5,033m) and Mt. Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe. These are both by no means easy climbs - strong winds and extreme cold are obstacles along your way to the summit. Don’t worry though, all the skills you need to take on Kazbek and Elbrus can be taught on the expedition. All you need is a good level of fitness and a whole lot of grit.

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Who is this for

Kazbek's climb is suited for those who are comfortable trekking and are eager to broaden their expertise in snowy terrain. This climb will give you a more solid background on the basic technical climbing skills you need, while also teaching you the fundamentals of dealing with crevasses and fixed rope. This learning experience comes alongside the unique backdrop of Georgia. If Kazbek is your first or 10th mountain, you would want to take the challenge up to the next level and tackle Mt. Elbrus! Elbrus is an introduction to snowy climbs and some basic climbing techniques. You don’t need to have any experience in technical climbing or the use of ice axe and crampons, however we recommended that you have been on a mountain before, something like Kilimanjaro or Toubkal, so your focus can be put to learning new skills.

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What’s next

Once you’ve successfully completed these two climbs, you will have gained the necessary experience to climb on Stanley, Island Peak, Gran Paradiso, and Stok Kangri.

Upon your arrival, a representative from Wild Guanabana will be waiting for you outside Tbilisi. Please make sure your flight arrives before 14:00 PM. You’ll be transported to Gudauri, a ski resort located on the southern slopes of The Greater Caucasus Mountain range, 10km away from the town of Stepantsminda, former Kazbegi (1,700m). In about 3-4 hours, you’ll arrive at your guesthouse, Marco Polo.

Today, we’ll take a car up to 2,200m to start our trek to acclimatize. We’ll start the climb from a plateau and walk through alpine fields for 4-5 hours. We’ll return to the hotel in the evening. The maximum altitude we'll reach today is 3000 m.

Today, we’ll hike up to the base camp at 3,675m. Here, you’ll see the old Meteo Station that was turned into a refuge called Bethlemi Hut. There is a glacier on the way to the hut where we’ll practice walking in crampons and using ropes. We will either stay overnight in tents or at Meteo Station.

This is our acclimatization day. You can wake up to witness the sunrise with a breathtaking panorama of the Caucasus. We’ll hike 4-5 to the glacier at 4,400m and return to the refuge. The path goes through moraine with a lot of stones and ice. Near the stonefall, it gets trickier and a helmet is necessary. We’ll then get to a flat glacier where there are crevasses, so it is necessary to be roped up. It’s a walk high/sleep low day. We’ll hike down and sleep at 3,675m.

Depending on weather conditions, we should start our summit push at around 3:00 am. The weather can be tricky which is why there are buffer days factored in. It’s an icy day today and it can be quite windy too. For the first 3 hours from the hut, we’ll start with a gently inclined traverse to the North side of the Ortsveri glacier. We’ll follow the glacier for 4km passing under the South side of the mountain until we reach Maili Plateau at 4500m. You’ll climb 200m on a steep slope afterwards that leads to a small saddle on the West side of the summit at 4,900m. Snow, rocks and ice with an inclination of 35 to 40 degrees pave the way to the top. We should arrive at the summit (5,033m) at midday. Depending on the weather, we might be able to see a magnificent view of the Caucasus range including Mount Elbrus, our next climb! It will take us another 4 to 5 hours to descend down to the base camp.



Buffer summit day in case of bad weather on Kazbek. In case of an early summit, the buffer day will be used for sightseeing in Gudauri and Mtskheta. Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities in Georgia with historical significance and several cultural monuments that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The city was also declared as the “Holy City” by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014.

Today we will checkout from the hotel and prepare to cross the border between Georgia and Russia and head to Terskol to get ready for the next climb! 


After breakfast at our hotel in Terskol, we will have a brief team meeting with our local Russian guides and perform a final gear check and organize rentals for those who need it. Today’s plan is to relax and rest before attempting to climb Elbrus!

After a good breakfast, we take the bus over to Azau Station at 2,356m and take a 40-minute cable car ride up to the white wide-open snowfields of Elbrus. We will pass several refuges standing at different altitudes and, after about 1.5 hours of hiking, we reach the famous refuge of 11 at 4,100 m that was burnt down in 1998. Here we spend a couple of hours on snow training and go back down to the hotel. Overnight on the mountain at the Refuge.

Today’s summit day! We leave base camp at about 3 AM. When ascending, we can take a lift with a Snow Cat to the top of Pastukhov Rocks (4,750 m). From the saddle (5,300 m) between the two summits, a snow slope of 30 – 35 degrees (about 150 m) leads to the summit plateau, from where the stunningly contrasting views to south and north open up. After reaching the summit and taking some awesome pictures, we will head back to the refuge for a quick lunch then start descending back to the hotel. Overnight at hotel or on the mountain if we will use the reserve day.

Today is reserved in case we need to reattempt the summit. If we complete a successful ascent on day 9, the rest of the day will be spent at the hotel with a celebratory party in the evening!

Depending on the time of your flight, you will be transported to MRV airport for your flight back home.

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Terrain

The area around Mount Kazbek includes beech forests, sub-alpine forests and alpine meadows. Many of the plants and animals in the reserve are endemic to the Caucasus region. Once we’re on the mountain it is mostly glacier walking, up till the crux which is about 100m of relatively easy ice climbing in the couloir below the summit. We’ll also be roped in many parts of the climb due to the many crevasses that are spread out like a maze on the mountain. Once you are on Elbrus, you will learn how to walk in crampons and how to use your ice axe to help you along the ridges.

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Weather

The weather on the mountains is unpredictable and can change anytime. But generally speaking, during the summer months, both Kazbek and Elbrus have sunny mornings and pretty cold nights. While on the mountain in the mornings, the sun reflection on the snow keeps you slightly warm but once the sun goes down it gets cold so make sure you have the recommended gear with you to keep you comfortable. The trip is scheduled to take place in July, when the summer sun begins to kick in and the mountain gets a bit warmer.

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Food

We will be having three tasty meals everyday cooked by our Georgian or Russian guiding team to give us the energy enough to go on our quest, such as porridge and eggs for breakfast, soup, veggies and meat for lunch, soup and pasta for dinner. We try to accommodate all dietary requirements if mentioned in advance.

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Accommodation

On Kazbek, our nights will be spent in tents in the campsite. On Elbrus; the barrel huts. These huts are made of metal to keep you warm while inside, each having 8-12 comfortable beds. The first and last days will be spent at a hotel.

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Overall Difficulty

C

Technical Skills

/5

Days

/5

Fitness level

/5

Altitude

Technical Skills

No experiences is needed: Anyone can join this trip.
Minimal experience: You should probably have some hiking experience to join this trip. It is advisable to have gone on a hike for at least 2 days prior to joining this trip.
Moderate experience: You should have some climbing experience to join this trip. It is advisable to have been on at least a 4-day climb before joining this trip.
Technical experience: You should have technical climbing experience before joining this trip. It is recommended that you have experience with crampons, skis, ropes and belays.
Advanced technical experience: You should have technical climbing experience to join this trip. Depending on the climb, you will need a specific set of skills.

fitness level

Occasional workout, no fixed routine.
Workout routine with at least 2-3 workouts a week, overall in good shape. Trekking days on this trip are around 3-4 hours long each day with little elevation.
Workout routine with at least 4-5 workouts a week, overall in great shape. Trekking days on this trip are around 4-5 hours long each day with moderate elevation.
Workout routine with at least 5 workouts a week. Trekking days on this trip are around 5-7 hours long each day with high elevation.
Specified workout routine with at least 5 workouts a week as well as technical training. Trekking days on this trip are 8 hours long each day with extreme elevation.

Altitude

1,500m - 2,999m
3,000m - 4,499m
4,500m - 5,999m
6,000m - 7,499m
7,500m - 8,999m

Climbing Days

0 - 4 Days
5 - 9 Days
10 - 12 Days
13 - 15 Days
16+ Days

PRICE

$3,000

best time to travel:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

PRICE INCLUDES

    • Price based on 6 pax. For smaller groups, the price per person increases accordingly.
    • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (Breakfast = B, Lunch = L, Dinner = D)
    • All transport
    • All accommodation
    • Group climbing and first aid equipment
    • Professional and English speaking Russian Guides 
    • Ski-lift and mountain climbing permits and fees  

PRICE EXCLUDES

    • International flight
    • Visa Fee
    • Excess baggage & Airport Taxes
    • Personal expenses (Phone calls, drinks, gifts and laundry)
    • Personal Health & Travel insurance
    • Vaccinations  (We send a detailed list)
    • Personal gear on our gear list
    • Gear rental available at additional cost (Let us know if you would need any)
    • Snow Cat vehicle fees for the summit attempt 
    • Costs associated with an early descent off either mountain
    • Tips and Gratuity