Trekking under Elbrus

You can hardly meet a person, who doesn’t want to touch something majestic and inimitable, the only one of its kind. Elbrus is the highest point of Russia and Europe, and one of the most beautiful stratovolcanoes on the planet. As a part of "Seven Summits" program, it is very popular among the best climbers in the world. But the program is not designed to conquer Elbrus, it is made to know the mountain better. You may watch the beautiful sceneries of Elbrus, replacing each other, go your own way on the barely visible, almost untouched trail, drink clean water from the springs, observe beautiful birds and animals, immerse yourself into the atmosphere of Europe's most gigantic peak and just follow your heart.  

Days  Program  Accomadation  Meals 
 Day 1  MineralnyeVody arrival, transfer to Pyatigorsk    
 Day 2  Transfer (18 km) toVerhniyBaksan village    
 Day 3      
 Day 4      
 Day 5      
 Day 6      
 Day 7      
 Day 8      
 Day 9      
 Day 10      
 Day 11      


Duration: 11 days

Location: Russia, Stavropol Territory, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkess Republic

Time: June - September.

Category: Trekking

Day 1:MineralnyeVody arrival, transfer to Pyatigorsk, "Intourist" hotel. Dinner at the hotel and briefing on the program.

Day 2.Transfer (18 km) toVerhniyBaksan village, where we will startthe trekking. The route runs along Kyrtyk River and eponymous gorge. The word  "Kyrtyk" is translated from the Balkar language as "full of grass." The gorge is amazingly green with plenty of broadpastures, receding into the distance, small stone "koshas" (shepherd's houses) with roofs covered by grass carpet, and the animals: sheep, horses and young bulls. We will see them all day long on amazingly beautiful rugged rocky gorge with a broad trail. We will go up smoothly, which is good for the first day. One more turn, and we will see Elbrus from its eastern side. So big and snowy, it seems to be hanging over the whole canyon. We will set the campground on the bank of the river. The place is famous for its wonderful Elbrus view.

Day 3. This day we recommend that you wake up before dawn - to enjoy Elbrus. Due to its height, Elbrus is the first to meet the sun, and its slopes change color from scarlet red to pale gold. Our cook will prepare delicious breakfast for you, while you, warming up with morning coffee, will admire the sunrise.

The aim of the day is passing Kyrtykaush Pass (3250 m). You can often see white-tailed eagles in n the valley, huge birds with a wingspan of 2 meters. Eagles often soar low enough, looking for food. You can easily see them with the naked eye and make some photos. The Kyrtykaush pass offers magnificent view ofIslamchat river valley and pass. The landscape changes with every step. Each valley we pass differs from the previous one. We descent through the Islamchatvalley  to the camp, located near Shawkom river.

Distance: 14 km.

Day 4: This day’s route will take place on the soft green slopes of the mountains. We move to the north. The vegetation becomes more scarce, and you can see silver moss and lichens onthe stones more often. They look wonderfuland change color so amazingly in fall.

This day we will meetGil-Su village on our way." "Su" means "the source", "jill" means "hot". It is easy to understand, that Gil-Su village is famous for its hot springs. People come to the source with their tents to swim and relax in summer. Just in an hour's walk there isHathansu (2 550 m), the place of our overnight stay. Hathansu means "Silver source". Indeed, there is delicious source with light, slightly sparkling, almost "silver" taste not far from the camp. Elbrus differs from each side, not only with its sceneries, but also with the taste of water in springs! Accommodation in camp (tents).

Distance: 12 km.

Day 5.This day we will go in the direction of the Balkbashi pass through, seeming endless, northern "field" ofIrahiktyuz plateau. We will transit from one republic to another! From Kabardino-Balkaria to Karachay-Cherkessia

Going up to the pass, we can admire one of the most beautiful views of Elbrus Mount. From this side it looks more  close and menacing: breaks of snow fields ofUlluchiran glacier, cracks, hanging bluesiraks, rocks outputs with a stream of silvery white avalanche.

Balkabashi pass is also interesting, as it stands on the meridional dividing ridge into the eastern slopes of Elbrus nourishTerek River and the Caspian Sea, and the western slopes  Kuban and the Black Sea.

This day we will go through the Balkbashipass to the Karachai Gil-Su. Accommodation in Western huts or in tents (2650 m).

Distance: 18 km.

Day 6.Spare  day of  trekking. Recreation. This day, you can swim in the "hot" bathsof Karachay Gil-Soo, the temperature of which is kept at around 18 degrees all year round, or a walk in the direction ofBalkbashi ridge slopes. (Option: Hike to Mashroom meadow 3200m or even to Altitude North Elbrus Camp 3760m. Descent to Hathansu Camp.Night in the tent camp.Distance 11 km, drop +-700m.)

Day 7.Transition through the Ring Pass to the Kukurtlu valley.

Before reaching the pass, we will see  2 blue lakes with cold clear water on a wide plateau. With the arrival of the first frost, both lakes are often covered with ice. The place offers magnificent views of Mount Elbrus from its western side: 2 black snow-covered pyramids. You can also see a view of the Kukurtlu Western Wall - one of the most difficult routes on Mount Elbrus. Then we will descent to the Kukurtlu valley the trail that runs along the slopes with talus. We continue down to a parking lot on the moraine sheltered rhododendrons. The camp is set in a pine forest of juniper soft. In August this valley a lot of raspberry, barberry and buckthorn is found!

Accommodation is in tents (2500 m). Distance: 14 km.

Day 8. This day we are in for transition through the northern Kukurtlu mountain pass to Ulla-Kam valley and descent to the camp (2 300m). This day we will have one of the longest transitions. We will go up to theKukurtlu wall, and then to the Northern Kukurtlu Pass. Our previous Ring Pass is clearly visible from the place. Ulla-Kam Valley seems to be untouched by civilization. It's easy to see herdsof mountain goats, many bilberries, lingonberries, rhododendrons.

Distance: 16 km.

Day 9. Spare dayof  trekking. Recreation.You can go up  the valley, or just stay in the camp, exploring the "Voroshilov" Cauchy, which, unlikely the traditional Balkar Cauchy, are built of pine. You can also buy fresh lavash (a soft, thin unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor) milk or buttermilk.Option: Hike to Kukurtlu valley

Day 10.From the "Voroshilov" Cauchy.our path lies through many thickets of juniper and small green meadows to the origins of the Kuban River. We will pass through the pastures of yaks. Then we will go through the Hotu-Tau Pass (3550 m) and descent to Azau glacier, to "StaryKrugozor" ski station. The way to the glacier is simple, but long. We will be able to experience the beauty of the slopes of Elbrus!

Accommodation at the hotel.Rest and farewell dinner. Distance: 16 km.

Day 11.Transfer to MineralnyeVody  airport for the flight.