CET Neva agency offers to take part in mountain ski travels in Elbrus Region of the Central Caucasus. 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. In the course of the tours the participants are accommodated in comfortable 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 ski 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). Accommodation in a hotel for two nights.
Day 2 Skiing on Mt. Kogutay (3850 m), climbing by ski is desirable for training. Shopping in the local "Woolens market". Night in the hotel.
Day 3 10-min bus transfer up to the Azau glade (2380 m) and then lifting up to Gara-bashi station (3720 m) at upper end of the Elbrus aerial cable-way (two spans – cabin lift, 3rd, upper span – chair lift). Accommodation 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 4200-4300m.
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 Reserve day for bad weather.
Day 7 Descent to Azau by the cable lift and further, down to Terskol. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 8 Bus transfer to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport, flight home.
Program of the 11-day ski tour
Day 1 Arrival to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport. 4.5-hr bus transfer to mountain camp Ullu-tau (2380 m above the sea) in the Adyr-su valley. Accomodation in the camp.
Day 2 Ski climbing to Chot-chat pass (4-5 hrs), 1-hour ascent of Peak Chot-chat (3737 m), downhill to the Ullu-tau camp.
Day 3 Ski climbing to Chegetsky bivouac before Garvash pass (3710 m, 4-5 hrs totally) or ascent on Mt. Treugol’nik (3830 m), downhill to the Ullu-tau camp (2 hrs).
Day 4 6-hour ski climbing to Granovski pass (3950 m) and skiing down to the Ullu-tau camp (2.5 hrs).
Day 5 Ascent to and passage through Gumachy col (3540 m) by ski (5-6 hrs) and skiing down into Adyl-su valley (2-2.5 hrs). Bus transfer to Terskol village (about 2100 m above the sea). Accommodation and overnight in hotel.
Day 6 Bus transfer to Azau, lower station of the Elbrus aerial cable-way. Lifting up to Gara-bashi station (3720m) at upper end of the cable-way. Accommodation in "Barrels" hotel at the station. A ski touring up to altitudes of 4200-4300 m.
Day 7 Climbing by ski up to Pastukhov rocks (4650 m, about 3 hrs) 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 hrs).
Day 9 Reserve day for bad weather.
Day 10 Descent to Azau by the cable lift and further, down to Terskol. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 11 Bus transfer to Mineralnye Vody (Mineral Waters) airport, flight home.
Best period—April 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:
- lodging in hotels according to the programs;
- lodging in "Barrels" refuge or in mountain huts according to the programs;
- full board during stay in the Elbrus region;
- all transfers in the Elbrus region according to the programs;
- 1 CET Neva guide-organizer;
- cook in Ullu-tau camp, cook in "Barrels" or in mountain hut;
- Elbrus cable lifts;
- necessary permits and registration;
- administrative fees in Kabardino-Balkaria
The price does not include:
- internal regular flights to Min. Vody airport and back;
- luggage air transportation;
- unexpected premature evacuation;
- cost of Russian visa;
- use of "snow-cats";
- rent of mountaineering equipment;
- drinks and personal expenses;
- extra pay due to change of the appointed departure time.