The snow-capped mountain peaks, dotted specks of people scattering across the depths below like sprinkles, altitude sickness, twelve long hours spent ascending, terrifying cold, the tiring feet, body, and minds of the climbers are nothing compared to the feeling of summiting. It’s the great Mount Elbrus, after all – the highest reaching mountain in all of Europe.
Adrenaline seekers alike flock to the mountain yearly to catch a glimpse of the outstanding views to behold from the summit. People think of European mountains and automatically picture the French Alps, blanketing ski resorts, and Dutch mountainous villages. But, the largest mountain – Elbrus, sits in Russia in the Caucasus, reaching a staggering 5642m.
This article will explore how you can safely summit Mount Elbrus and the best tips for the process.
The Right Itinerary
Ensuring you have the best itinerary in place before your climb means the climb itself will be more successful and hopefully a little easier and safer for you and your fellow climbers. The Mount Elbrus climb is no mean feat, and you will need to counter in time for acclimatization, rest, and skill reviews periodically.
Be sure to research the best itineraries for you and make sure whoever you book with is a reputable and certified company.
Be physically ready
As you can imagine, climbing any mountain isn’t a walk in the park – literally. It takes months of preparation to ensure your body is ready to physically endure the altitude, the long days, battering winds, snow, ice fields, and whatever else Mount Elbrus may throw your way.
You do not know what conditions you may encounter or how your body will react to each acclimatization stage. Being over-prepared is better than being underprepared. You will be traversing steep trails in dangerous weather – ensuring you are physically fit enough to face the climb is vital.
Climb from the South
If Mount Elbrus is the first in your climbing adventures, then climb from the south side. If you have traversed the terrain of many mountains, are a seasoned pro, and do not doubt your mountaineering abilities, by all means, head to the north side.
However, for any novice mountain climber, the south side of Elbrus offers a safer climb with set roots, better facilities, and even snowcats and snowmobiles if you get stuck.
Get the gear
Having the appropriate clothing and gear will set you in good stead for a more successful summit. Good quality lightweight gear is often the best option, as remember you will have to carry your bag with your gear inside it to the top.
Climbing in the warmer months like July and August will require a more diverse range of gears as you will experience a broad range of weather conditions with warm temperatures during the day before they plummet into the minus’ at night. June and September will involve much colder temperatures all the time – pack appropriately. Good trekking boots are non-negotiable as you will quite literally be on your feet nearly all hours of the day.
When climbing Mount Elbrus, you can’t expect everything to go to plan – the weather being the main issue you will face. You’ll be reaching incredible heights, and the acclimatization process will need time – as the temperature higher up the mountain will be below freezing even in the warmest months – this process could take a few extra days.
The wind can also set you back a few days – climbing a mountain face in winds of up to 60mph is not a sensible idea. Be prepared to need extra days for your climb – who wants to rush such an incredible experience anyway. If you wish to reach the top, then be patient and be safe.
Mentally prepare yourself
Getting your physical health up to scratch before climbing Mount Elbrus is pivotal to your success – however, your mindset is just as important. Make sure you do your research and understand what you are committing to and where you are climbing.
Try sleeping in the tent and sleeping bag you will be using to try and get yourself in the right frame of mind but remember the mountain will be different from your backyard and demands a respect that your frame of mind must understand before climbing.
Water is vital for your health even on ground level, but when you’re climbing Mount Elbrus or any mountain, it’s even more pivotal that you remember to stay as hydrated as possible. You must drink at least four liters a day and should start this process a few days before you leave home and begin the climb to ensure your body is hydrated enough when you start.
Don’t forget your supplements.
Amid climbing, you will need extra nutrients – some that won’t be feasible to get via food while traversing the tallest mountain in Europe. Supplements and multivitamins, for example, glucose sweets and hydration tablets, are essential to keep your energy levels up and ensure you keep on climbing.
To sum it up
Climbing Mount Elbrus is not for the faint-hearted. It takes training, dedication, and physical and mental preparation. Do not underestimate the conditions you will face and the toughness involved in the journey to the summit. Follow our tips, prepare yourself, and do your research to ensure your climb is safe.